06 August 2011

lessons we missed in '46


...So is your child's education.
- That's not the point. - It certainly is.
- Not. 
Bicker, bicker, bicker.
You drink your milk.

Joan, every time Father and I have a lively discussion, we aren't necessarily bickering.
What is it, Betsy? Another English composition?
Ms. Stellwagon has assigned us to take a classified ad...
...and write a human-interest theme on it.
I found one typical of the disintegration of our present society.

I wasn't aware of the fact our society was disintegrating.
I didn't expect you to be, Father.
Ms. Stellwagon says middle-class people like us are prone to overlook...
Muriel, this is asking a lot, but just one morning...
...I would like to sit and have breakfast without social significance.
You must take more interest in your children's education.
Can't squeeze blood from a turnip.
All right. I listen.
- Shoot. - It's just 16 words.
I'm going to call it A Minor Tragedy of Our Times.

"Forced to sell. Farm dwelling.
Original beams. Barn.
Apple orchard. Trout stream.
Seclusion. Superb view.
Will sacrifice."
- Go on. - That's all.
- That's all? - You don't see it, do you, Father?
A fellow wants to sell his house, he puts an ad in the paper.
What'd you expect him to do, take it to the United Nations?
There's more to it than that, isn't there, dear?


Certainly, Mother. What some people don't see is the whole sordid picture.
A poor, honest farmer pushed to the wall by hardship.
Until finally, in desperation, he's forced to sell...
...and stoops to the crass commercialism of newspaper advertising.
Oh, indeed. Newspaper advertising? Crass commercialism?
Ms. Stellwagon says advertising is a basically parasitic profession.
You don't say.
Ms. Stellwagon says advertising makes people who can't afford it...
...buy things they don't want with money they haven't got.
Oh, she does, does she? Well, perhaps your Ms. Stellwagon is right. 

 Perhaps I'll quit this basically parasitic profession,
Which at the moment is paying for your fancy tuition.
 And those extra French lessons.
 And that progressive summer camp.
To say nothing of the very braces on your back teeth.
You shouldn't discuss money in front of the kids.
Why not? They spend enough of it.
Bicker, bicker, bicker.
Girls, get your things and run along. You'll be late for school.
Bye, Daddy.
Give my regards to Ms. Stellwagon.

(breakfast scene from the 1948 movie script Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream House, the book by the same name was written by Eric Hodgins in 1946)
 images of Depression poverty, 1930's- 1940's by Dorothea Lange


  1. Great post as usual! The photos of the depression era set against the script are very thought provoking!
    Have a wonderful weekend!
    Jamie Hetzlinger

  2. Poignant Gaye.A movie I loved so much, however the significance of the times was always there even though in the background for some.


    Art by Karena

  3. This sort of social commentary suffuses the book. His Yale and City credentials cut no ice with the country people, and when he see the workman cut out intersecting sheet metal, he ponders the forces which led the skilled worker to become a plumber instead of a surgeon. The movie underscores this with the maid coming up with the winning advertising slogan.
    --Road to Parnassus

  4. Just so compelling. You've done it, again! The lively tenor of the conversation with Lange's depression-era imagery - a bold statement. REALLY good. ox

  5. As always you have such a brilliant way of observing and connecting.

  6. Your EYE, your MIND and now your HEART...all put forth with good intention and hopes that others can SEE, THINK and CARE for those that are drowning in the Sorrow of Political machinations that have brought this great Lady - AMERICA to her knees before the nations of the world who have long awaited the downfall...like a broke has been ICON once atop the pedestal of fame, beauty and fortune now kicked by the gossip media into the gutter.

    How can anyone believe that they should live here in America and cutoff the less fortunate of ALL hope, and then say they believe in a Higher Power, a God...all the while hating all who are not of the same color or economic equal.

    We should teach that AMERICA is a religion, the true ONE...for She is Earth, Hope and Freedom of Oppresion...no boundry necessary for the IDEA is the gift to all Mankind. Perhaps then, the World will know Peace unto ALL.

  7. The reason I LOVE your blog... originality, elegance and clarity.. just wonderful



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