ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Dorothea Lange, The Depression and the Beginnings of the Academia/MSM/Democrat Alliance

Saturday I went to a presentation in Monterey of the work of photographer Dorothea Lange. For those who do not know, Lange was best known for her documentation of the plight of the poor of The Depression, famously the Migrant Mother. Most of this work was done on behalf of and paid for by the Roosevelt administration in support of recovery efforts. Her work was absolutely fantastic, beautiful. The presentation was given by Dan, her son. I immediately liked Dan. He presented his mother's work from a son's point of view, as he said, "unsullied by scholarship." It was touching and eloquent.

Lange spent most of her life in the San Francisco Bay area, living in the Berkeley hills. Her second husband was a professor of labor economics at UC-Berkeley. She was a friend of Ansel Adams.

So what does all this have to do with the alliance of Academia, the mainstream media and the Democrats?

I got curious about Lange and started doing some Googling when I got home.

Lange said of the famous image "Migrant Mother" that she found this poor lady sitting next to a highway. Lange said that the woman told her that the family had been eating frozen peas out of a field the night before. She also allegedly said that they had been selling parts off their broken down car for money for food.

It was a sad story of a poor migrant family. The only problem was that hardly a word of it was true. Further digging turned up an article written by the migrant mother's son.

He well recalled the day this picture was taken. It was true that they were migrants. It was not true that they were eating frozen peas out of a field. It was not true they were selling parts off their car for food. In fact, they had put a hole in their radiator when fixing a timingbelt, and the father had gone into a nearby town to get it fixed so that they could be on their way. Lange had pulled up in a "shiny new car," got in the mother's face, shot a few pictures and then sped away. No conversation as related by Lange took place. The family went on to survive The Depression just fine and thrived for the remainder of their lives.

Never mind the facts. There was a message to be gotten out by the Left. And the government, the press and academia all co-operated in doing just that.

The word "propaganda" comes to mind. The Depression was bad enough, but this sort of Big Lie is frightening. It is hard to see the difference in technique and purpose between this and the "Horst Wessel Leid," a tearjerking tune about a mythical fallen SS soldier. (I hate to even raise a Nazi comparison, but in this case it is too close to ignore.) That it was promoted by the government, academia and "respectable" media is deplorable.

Lange was not alone in this effort, far from it, but she was a stunning example.

President Clinton had this image placed on a postage stamp, all this well after the facts behind it were known. The mythology of the Migrant Mother lives on to this day despite the fact that it is patently false.

Now why do you suppose that is?

In The Depression years this alliance was forged. It lives on to this day. Its techniques have changed rather little.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

Comments (2)
Brian said...

It was a sad story of a poor migrant family. The only problem was that hardly a word of it was true.

This is called "fake but accurate" in current media circles. In other words, surely there were OTHER migrant families that experienced eating frozen peas in the field the night before, and the picture is just a representation of that.

Besides, I'm sure Halliburton would have gotten to the family at some point.

Monterey John said...

You know, it woulod have been OK to tell a story. People were having a hard time to say the least. What is wrong the the LIE. These folks will lie when the truth would do just as well. It seems they can't help themselves.