Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Depression-Era Slide Show Induces Nostalgia, Reflections on the Dust Bowl's Proto-Hipsters

Posted by on Wed, Aug 11, 2010 at 11:33 AM


One of my favorite movies, Robert Altman's Thieves Like Us, is a Technicolor movie about the Great Depression; the palette is saturated but pearly, as if coated with a thin layer of dust. (And all due respect to advances in digital projection, but this is a film that would feel completely inappropriate if the picture were unmarred by spots, scratches, grain.) The recent American past seems as vivid as the present, while entirely unrecoverable.

I mention this because currently making the rounds on the internet is a slideshow of color photographs from the later years of the Depression—from which the above photo comes, though it could be a Thieves Like Us still—assembled by the Denver Post from Library of Congress archives. (They were photos taken by the Farm Security Administration, a New Deal organization.)

A friend of The L also notes, wryly: "They're all basically Brooklyn/Brooklyners. Like, now."

For proof, follow us to the other side of the jump.

Our friend continues:

The beards and moustaches, the hats and coats, the fucking flower print dresses, the 'vintage' (ha! right, uh... new?) clothing, the hair on some of them, the general style of things... Obviously, the contemporary sort of nostalgia for the unlived lives of others that everyone seems to suffer from these days (I honestly think that this differentiates our generation to some extent, but this is a different discussion) is reflected here in amusing ways...

Here are some examples, with his captions:

Downstairs at Northeast Kingdom tonight!
  • Downstairs at Northeast Kingdom tonight!

Jack Whinery and the Whiners, new indie sensation!
  • Jack Whinery and the Whiners, new indie sensation!

Brunch at Robertas. Hellz yeah.
  • Brunch at Roberta's. Hellz yeah.

And so on. Suggestions?

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