I meant to post this diary for Horace Boothroyd III about a month ago, but I drafted it just before the bombing in Boston, so I let it go for a while. Horace had a great diary about Steinbeck, and just last night regibaby67 wrote a great diary about the pain of working class Americans. I miss writers like Steinbeck, who told a truth that I don't see anywhere on television or the tweet/twitter world.
I have shown the movie "Grapes of Wrath" in an upper division college course on Food and Agriculture. I show the movie to help explain why we ended up with the our bizarre Farm Bill and system of subsidies. The movie also has special resonance for students on the West Coast, whose grandparents still tell stories of the great exodus to California during the Dust Bowl.
The movie is supposed to be less radical than the book, and it is more upbeat, but it is still an astonishing movie. It was released in 1940, and Henry Fonda was nominated for an Academy award for his portrayal of Tom Joad. Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca won the Academy Award in 1941, and Jimmy Stewart got Best Actor for Philadelphia Story. Grapes of Wrath won the New York Film Critic's award for Best Picture (not the first time a more radical film won the Film Critic's award).
And yes, each time I have shown this movie to my class, I started to tear up at the moment that Tom Joad gives his pivotal goodbye:
"And then what, Tom..."Steinbeck told the stories of the refugees of the Dust Bowl, who poured into California desperate for work and desperate for a sense of dignity.
"I'll be all around in the dark. I'll be everywhere. Wherever you can look, wherever there's a fight, so hungry people can eat, I'll be there. Wherever there's a cop beatin' up a guy, I'll be there. I'll be in the way guys yell when they're mad. I'll be in the way kids laugh when they're hungry and they know supper's ready, and when the people are eatin' the stuff they raise and livin' in the houses they build, I'll be there, too."
Who tells our stories? Where is the novel of the dispossessed? the jobless? the homeless? the endless stream of citizens who have been overlooked and made invisible? Where is our novel? Who will speak those words for us?
Or are we all here on Daily Kos, in the words and in the blogs?