Monday 2 September 2013

Sally Fields - Norma Rae

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Norma Rae is the kind of pro-activist film Hollywood is no longer allowed to make. It won Sally Field an Oscar in 1979 for her performance as an underpaid cotton manufacturing worker emboldened by a visiting Union activist to set up a union for the employees with the usual obstacles put in place by the management who are hopelessly fixated on the scientific method of timing all the workers for the maximum productivity.

We now know from the unscientific method that people are more productive if they are happy and taken care of by employees. It's a warm movie with a slice of American life that I think still exists but is rarely brought to life as the mediated American way has drifted towards displays of crass consumerism, celebrity worship, sports distractions and military priapism....or Alien shit.

Movies about people coming together and taking on relentless greed are no longer made by the US. The big money investors don't wish to give the proletariat any ideas so fantasy is what they are served up with. Protesters or movements in movies are portrayed as Communists and radicals by Hollywood because that keeps the very people who are being exploited by greedy business in their place.

The only irony worth exploring is this movie won the Oscar in the same year that Deng Xiaoping instigated the special economic zones in China. The very places that took the manufacturing of the cotton and denim that Norma Rae is fighting for a better wage to produce.

There's an answer to this race to the bottom of lower production costs but it doesn't involve unconscious consumerism, botox materialism and relentless greed by business.

It might however involve 3D printing and design coding where ostensibly most products will become close to free. That will have an impact on Brands who have nothing different from their competitors and even more so on those who have anything substantive to say.