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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

The Beginning


Sierra dust storm. Taken from Owens Lake, looking west: photo by Jody Miller, 31 March 2014

Every morning bright and early
Came the man with the channels
Then one day he did not come
That was the day the dust storms began
Don't blame it on the cable guy


Vertical cloud over the eastern Sierra: photo by Jody Miller, 31 March 2014

RCA Victor. "We got to move these color TVs..." Keeler, California: photo by Jody Miller, 31 March 2014


ACravan said...

The separate but kneaded-together colors here and horizontal and vertical reminders of linear tv past reminded me of my whole life when I saw them at the highly suggestible end of a long day. I've never viewed landscapes, weather or porches like these and I don't wish to sound cute or pseudo-clever, but "The Beginning" makes me wonder where and when the beginning began and the past ended. I find it very powerful, concentrated and moving. It also makes me think about the fact that my 16-year old daughter is way past the cable guy. She never watches "regular" tv, only shows on the computer. Curtis

Mose23 said...

I guess no amount of sublimation will keep what's coming to us at bay.

That first photo is breathtaking.

Nora said...

I've got nothing clever to say, but I do like to watch tv.

TC said...

Here one is invited to see the Great California Desert as a sort
of design template for life in the dystopian future.

Re. large appliances on porches, as lately as the middle of the last century (and surely beyond that time, in certain regions), the large appliances of a house in the warmer rural regions of this continent often featured front porch appliances, for practical reasons.

Passing through the Ozarks for the first time as a kid, I was struck by that.

Of course that was a case of working appliances, not junked ones. The junked ones were usually to be found in an overgrown weed patch somewhere nearby.

Will the New Jerusalem resemble one gigantic diorama Ozarks, with the electricity gone, all the appliances dead, and the cable guy off in a cave somewhere in the dust-caked hills, retraining in survivalist tactics?

The previous post (Understanding Landscape) did indeed put me in mind of what's happening and has happened in many places on this continent, what's coming in many of those places, and what things might look like after that, in other places as well.

In truth, for us, cable is a form of technology much like land line phones for most Chinese people now -- that period went by so fast, we never had it.

Currently we lag behind that standard only in not having whatever the present or next technology might be.

Barry Taylor said...

First things, last things. Startlingly beautiful photos, Tom - if I was that way inclined, I'd take the first as documentary evidence of Creation, Day 3. And that TV looks like someone's been watching the whole damn show on it ever since. Saddest TV I've ever seen.

TC said...

Nora, thanks, sorry I'd missed that -- and though we probably won't be getting an apology from them (it?), Google has deemed it necessary to replace your link with a dumb cartoon drawing of a broken tin woodman, bearing broken tools.

That's how it is, I guess, once The Beginning begins.

Barry, actually, we still have a few of those unplugged broken TVs featuring the permanent display of The Greatest Show Never Seen. This collection of junk was assembled after the Great National Switch to Cable a few years back, beyond which the old telly simply didn't work. I've latterly decided that a blank screen is in any case easier on the eyes, soul and mind than what's available on tv currently. The only time I've ever been locked into a no-escape tv watching experience in recent years was when I was in a double room in the county hospital after a catastrophic hit by car two years back. The hospital tvs are huge, loud, the programming overwhelmingly offensive to sentient beings, and aren't turned off till lights-out or somebody dies (whichever happens first). No way out. I longed for that pure, vacuous empty screen at the old crumbling homestead. Well no, but it's probably never a good idea to say what one really longs for.