Thursday, July 18, 2013


Yeah, there are Depressions enough to go around.

The hopeful words I used to end the previous post are mocking me now. I’m late, as usual... caught up in something we could call "life"... filing a substitute piece once again.

Yet, since last I wrote, the family and I have added to our list of woes a horrid case of shingles that each night leaves daughter Kris frustrated and
crying; a mean collision of car and iron pipe (no one hurt, though Driver Ed may need a brush-up course), the only damage to my self-esteem (unaccountable) and my oft-cursed car ($2700 and counting); and a sudden and scary partial collapse of the links between my right eyeball and its natural fluid protection, so the eye now sees gunk and dangling ganglia and tiny black spots--"I Witness" indeed.

Rather than a simple rough patch, I’d say we’re going through hell’s half-acreage... except that, of course, there are millions of persons on this earth who have it considerably worse. So, since the Depressions go on, within families, in whole
communities, and world-wide, I offer these reminders:

The Great Depression was actually the beginning of the rising to America’s peak years (now lost) of greatness; read and see what I mean by that, here.

President Roosevelt believed that America's people needed the Arts as well as Sciences to thrive, and the “three letter” government agencies he called forth helped secure just such a state: from Copland’s sky-bootin’ cowboys and President-
setting un-common sense (I guess it takes a Lincoln to keep us thinkin'), to parched-farm mid-Americana dances, choreographed by Graham and deMille; from off-Broadway agit-prop theater Blitzed by Weill and Welles, to off-the-grid Agee-less scripts and black-and-white photo plays, Rothstein to Evans to Lange; from hard-time Dust Bowl documentaries, to cheap electricity for all.
I invite you to review some of the best W.P.A. photos--stark but strangely comforting too--posted as part of my tribute to Lange and the others (find them here). Then come back to this paragraph for... well, just take my word for it. You are in for a treat.

* * * * *

We don’t associate color photography with the federal government’s Depression era policies and planning, projects to create or improve the inadequate
infrastructure of the U.S. (it all comes ‘round again, doesn’t it?), as well as the publicized efforts to catalog America--the regions, the astonishing sub-cultures, and “the People, yes” (as Carl Sandburg put it), our many mini-nations of immigrants.

This time there is something, not new but not known, or perhaps forgotten, under the sun.

Think two Depressions: Then and Now. Imagine some surprises from back Then that we Now still might find enlightening and colorful.

Step through the portal.