Currently, I am UTTERLY OBSESSED with Ken Burns’ The Dust Bowl.
Sure I’m a PBS and NPR geek, but that whole baseball thing and long-winded jazz business left me clammy and unsatisfied. The national parks were somewhat warm and mildly sunny, and made me love my aunt and uncle who worked in the national parks service when it was highly unfashionable in the 60’s more than ever; but ultimately the film was yawnable, tiresome. And my cuddly hubby keeps threatening me with the Civil War, which I am admittedly willing to endure…
But the Dust Bowl. The Motherfucking Dust Bowl!
Come on in ya’ll; heart of Fucking America.
Word: let’s plow up all that shit, plant One Crop like fucking Jehovah the One God, and kill our crops, our cattle, our children, and our elders. Let’s build a freakin’ economic bubble and fuck all ya’ll so we can have three to five years of prosperity. I mean this is America, right? We want to rich and shiny, don’t we? Could anything like the sanctity of life and the sanctity of the soil be more important than our temporary gain? No.
Don’t get caught up in the One-Eyed-Floyd drinking game and forget to think with your remaining brain cells about why the dust bowl occurred. Advertising slimed hopeful investors into buying untenable land and even residing on it; a few years of abnormal rainfall held the scam up like a paper Mache crutch; and good ole ‘merican perseverance kept families in this barren desert hell long enough to kill children, wildlife, and livestock.
The interviews with adult children who lived through this man-made environmental abomination are devastating. If you have read Silence of the Lambs, you remember Clarice wanted to save the lambs when they screamed; all the Dust Bowl children remember rabbits screaming and calves moaning, and newborns suffocating after a few hours of life, interred in neighboring towns because the dust was piled so high you couldn’t see gravestones where you lived.
And this occurred because wheat was a marketable commodity, because farmers believed they could run the land like a factory.
The land said no. The land will always say NO. I often wonder why we fail to understand such a simple, concise, unambiguous message. What part of no don’t we understand?