Sunday, September 28, 2008

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #269: Video 1

Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?

In the early 1980s, I came across a shocking and extraordinary book called American Pictures by Jacob Holdt. I thought I knew what being poor was. The photographs in that book -- taken in the 1970s! -- opened my eyes to even lower levels of Hell on earth.

Poor whites in Mississippi
Poor whites I always found the hardest to photograph -- at least in the USA where they have deeply internalized the prevailing American philosophy -- that you are yourself to be blamed for your own misery. Thus they are also robbed of the dignity and pride characterizing the poor in other countries.

There's an online version of the book.

Chapter nine:
What soon came to interest me most was not the dead bodies, but the live ones -– people in whom everything was extinct.

These exhausted wretches, who earlier had managed to survive by working hard seven days a week like the other slave workers, had slowly succumbed and were now just lying and waiting to die.

For some people, it's still the Great Depression.

No comments: