Any other history nerds watching this?
Jesus, I can't believe the shit people lived through in this country. This is heart wrenching.
Thanks for the heads up. What channel is it on? Love me a good Ken Burns docu.
My favorite of his was the Prohibition one.
It's on PBS.
Yes, it's heartbreaking. I never knew the Dust Bowl caused such misery. And death. A national tragedy.
I never saw a Ken Burn documentary.
A man-made environmental disaster
Thanks OP. I wasn't sure when it would air but I definitely want to watch.
People that bitch and moan about about how bad things are now ought to be required to watch this.
Somehow I don't care for Ken Burns very much, at least his format. I can watch him easily enough, but as with a mediocre movie at the theater, if after giving it enough of a chance and it still bores me or something, I walk out on it; at home I just turn the dial (or remote).
I will say the one on Prohibition was pretty good though.
I watched. Scary to watch. Worse to live through.
Conservatives on twitter are trying to ignore, downplay or insult all the GOOD Roosevelt's Government programs and the WPA did for these people.
Interesting that the states that were worst hit by the Dust Bowl and helped by government aid are now staunch Republicans.
Didn't you read Grapes of Wrath in high school?
We're watching. Excellent.
Ken Burns is the most overrated documentarian ever.
And what gets me is how much of these fucking rednecks now living in OK, TX, AZ are descended from people who suffered through this horrible shit— and the only thing feeding their ancestors during this time was THE GOVERNMENT.
They used to call government jobs "mic work" because it was beneath the red-blooded American men. Those people criticizing it weren't the ones who need it thought. The ones who needed it and lived through it were grateful for everything they got to do.
Numerous roads, schools, bridges and infrastructure were built by these government jobs.
Those who did get the fuck out of the sahara desert that was the Sust Bowl were treated like less than human SHIT in CA.
I guess that is sort of what I was trying to say r14, I don't dislike him but yet I don't care for him much either but I can't put my finger on why.
LOL at the old man, "I'm not a pimp".
So tell us, who's not an "overrated documentarian". Did you see the Civil War?
"When you're down, they just push you down and down."
Heartbreaking. People are such assholes.
Oh, so A bulk of John Steinbeck's novel was based on a relatively unknown woman's writings.
You gotta understand, faggot, that what my parents took wasn't a handout, it was government assistance. Now those lazy spics and niggas, they're looking for handouts, which is unamerican.
Reuben "Squirrel" Poteet
Am watching it now.
Pretty good. Usual format.
Did any of you see his Jazz documentary???
"Dustin" is watching? hahahahaha
Struggles of #DustBowl refugees, discrimination they faced in California sounding very similar to struggles of hispanic immigrants today.
r23, LOVED the Jazz Documentary!
who's the hunky silver fox talking head?
I am still in LOVE with his National Parks docu.
Timothy Egan, it turns out... he sessy!
Watching it too. Partner wanted to watch it. I found it a bit boring.
Did he do the John Muir documentary? That was a good one.
His baseball series [the original - not the sequel from a couple of years ago] was also well done. I an going to have to try and catch the rebroadcast of this.
Yes, and I'm transfixed.
A lot of contemporary themes.
A populist president the wealthy people considered "socialist".
A drought creating highly unusual conditions and plaque of insects.
I watched it, dare I say it's a bit drawn out though. Even at 2 hrs it was perhaps a bit more dustiness than I needed, and it turns out the 2 hrs was only part one, there's going to be another 2 hrs of it. Plus the History Channel already did a documentary on it years ago. The Burns thing is of course better, especially if an ultra exhaustive recounting of every dust storm is what you're after.
I wonder if all these sweet surviving Texas ladies hate the gays.
I looks like the Dust Bowl is coming to a close. What could Part 2 possibly be about?
r35, part two has a lot more about the politics and the treatment of Migrants in California.
As well as some very telling and scary omens for what's to come this time around.
The other thing that struck me is that great American quality of resilience and self support and seeking opportunity.
And all these people up stakes and go to California trying to start over to be met by the police at the state line with a goal of keeping them out.
We can totally treat each other like shit.
Some old man says 'we want it now. and if it makes money now, it's a good idea.' and then he rejects the theory. you need more of those people talking to Republicans.
A man-made environmental disaster
Did it make it CLEAR that this was true? Yes, it was man made.
Didn't like the jazz documentary because of all the music left out in order to use it to push African American experience in music. Wynton Marsalis was an egomaniacle embarrassment.
All of R14's taste is in his mouth (as my mama used to say).
[quote]Did it make it CLEAR that this was true? Yes, it was man made.
WHy don't you watch the damn thing?
It only said the words "man-made environmental disaster" about 50 times each hour.
And asshole Jazz IS an African American experience.
A bit of a rehash of The American Experience's Surviving The Dust Bowl from 2 years ago
Amazing! Didn't care for Burns' last couple of films. - too effing depressing. But this one managed to rise above. I just don't know how those elderly folks remembered things in such detail from 75 years ago.
Tonight was part 2. It started last night. Very interesting history there - proves that some people just never learn. Their parents were bailed out by the government, allowing their ancestors to live and therefore give birth to their ignorant, white trash, Repub. asses. Maybe there's another dust bowl in their future and this time we know not to save their worthless asses.
Did anybody hang on for the Broadway thing afterward? Not Burns but its delightful to see all the little gaylings and Glee Clubbers smiling fiercely and wishing certain doom on one another.
Caught the end of this, but I fucking hate Ken Burns with the heat of a thousand suns.
He's a pandering, racist prick.
He pulled punches at almost every major point in his documentaries in order to elevate the entertainment value.
r40, not at all being testy, but what did you mean by this:
"Didn't like the jazz documentary because of all the music left out in order to use it to push African American experience in music"
Well, personally, I was offended at the short shrift given the jewish penned "coon shouting" movement that derived inspiration from black stereotypes but did not eminate from the black community. Popular jazz is much more jewish in origin than black. The red hot mamas were all jewish women in blackface for example. Audiences would howl in disbelief when a "black" woman would lift her sleeve to reveal the white skin beneath.
Ah yes! The old RHMs and gosh darn it if a days doesn't go by when I hear their well known hit... um..
R42 = naive
R48, it's much more than that.
"Popular jazz is much more jewish in origin than black."
It was just a paragraph in American History until I saw this documentary, I kept thinking: "What would I have done? How would I have coped.?" .. thwarted at every turn. .. A real eye opener.
I really had no idea it was caused by aggressive farming methods. I never thought about it that much.
OP - thanks for the heads up. Just started watching it and cannot believe how bad things were for those poor people. It was sad to hear the lady talk about the girls wearing dresses made out of sugar sacks. Sounds like a lot of kids were underweight, wonder how that affected their health in the long run. I'm feeling very spoiled right now.
I just wanted to let you all know that The Beekman Boys were watching 'The Dust Bowl' this evening and extended a personal thanks to Ken Burns on their blog!
Neither did I r56. An earlier poster started carrying on about it being a man-made disaster, as if that wasn't being addressed.
It was made very clear that not only was it a man-made disaster, but that it was going to happen again.
Half the Ogallala Aquifer is gone and they said it will be empty in 20 years. Pretty scary.
Worse were the stories of huge, huge dust clouds rolling through the towns...that could bury cars, etc...
I watched the first two hours and couldn't take any more. I didn't learn anything new because my mother's family lived in the panhandle (but not on a farm) and I've heard the stories for years. My great-grandmother died right around the time this all started, and there were lots of kids, so my great uncle (who was next to oldest) hopped a freight train to California a year or so later. A few siblings joined him after they graduated from school but they didn't encounter anything like other "Okies" did because they were more educated. The rest stayed in the panhandle.
John Steinbeck and "The Grapes of Wrath" were not allowed to be mentioned. They thought he wrote about trashy people. They didn't want to be associated with them or for people to think that everyone from OK was like that.
[quote]I really had no idea it was caused by aggressive farming methods. I never thought about it that much.
Wow, I can't believe was taught something in a podunk Texas school! Of course it was never mentioned again after the 5th grade, but still!
About five years ago, I was visiting my mom's house in north central TX - dust bowl territory back then, but all grown up for many years (used to be cotton, now it's wheat and corn); she lived in a little nook of cedar trees, but suddenly a huge dust storm descended over the area.
You couldn't breathe outside, and looking out the windows, all you could see was RED (from the dirt and dust) "air". The electricity went out and visibility was low. I got a tiny taste in that moment of what those people must have dealt with, and it wasn't pleasant.
"Dust pneumonia" I wouldn't have lasted a month.
R61 - well, it's not true that all of the migrants were poor farmers. Many business owners, doctors and lawyers also migrated as everything had gone to pot in those areas.
Wikipedia says that 1/8 of all Californians are from Okie descent - which seems extremely high. That can't be true.
How did they get any food with no crops or livestock? I know there were some gvt programs, but still.
Of all times too - Depression - so where were they going to go? God life was hard back then for soooo many people.
I'm a Cal-Okie and yes there are lots of us.
Timothy Egan can fuck me
Did you notice how THIN everybody was back then? The total opposite of today.
It has to be said on DL
R57, it did affect their health in the long run. After Pearl Harbor, a lot of young men were rejected for enlistment for being undersized and underweight, because they were malnourished during the Depression. Imagine that now - men being turned away from the Army because they were too thin! Now it's the opposite.
There's a lot of stories about men lying down for days before their appointment, so they would be an inch taller, tall enough to be enlisted, or people eating all kinds of fattening foods after being rejected as "underweight" and going back and trying again.
My family were Cal-Okies too. There were a lot of migrations like that at the time - all the black people in the Oakland area were dock workers during WWII. They were mostly from the deep South, looking for good paying work, and they stayed after the war.
My best friend's family is from Kansas, and he was gripped by the story, enough to call his great aunt who lived through it there to discuss what he had been viewing.
A former bf's mom and aunts were Okies in the 30's, and he asked me whether my mom and her sister ever wore dresses made from flour sacks? My grandmother in Massachusetts at the time was VERY vain and the idea that her kids would do so was beyond un-imaginable!
It was interesting that most of the Okies were tenant farmers from the South, not Dust Bowl migrants.
Are you sure it's not an infomercial for Swiffer?
It was interesting to learn that the Joads were not actually from the Dust Bowl, but from an area east of the affected area.
That plague of grasshoppers looked like something from a totally unbelievable horror movie.
My partner is a native Kansan. Both sides of his family have been there for generations (arrived in the 1870s and his mother owns/farms the original 1871 homestead). His father's family is from Western Kansas (near Liberal). The family stayed put; they are resilient (and stubborn) folk. I've seen family pictures from the 1930s, and they look similar to shots from the Burns documentary.
I'll be spending Thanksgiving with them, and intend to get them to talk more about their Dust Bowl experiences. There are still several family members who lived through the Dust Bowl years and Depression around, and I am sure they will have interesting stories. Plus I would rather hear about the Dust Bowl than K-State football.
I'm a sucker for old people remembering things from their past.
That one guy was talking about finally getting to Oakland with the rest of his family and being met by their father, who took them to the house he had rented for them all. As he spoke about getting lifted down from the car and getting a hug from his daddy, for just a second or two he was transported back to that moment and he choked up and his eyes grew wide and he had to pause in order to get himself under control and go on with the story. Then his sister talked about getting that hug too.
That got me right in the gut.
Great Dorothea Lange pics on the Shorpy site.
Who are you rubes who act like you've never heard of the Dust Bowl?
[quote] There are still several family members who lived through the Dust Bowl years and Depression around, and I am sure they will have interesting stories.
You'd have to be mid-80s to remember the Dust Bowl at all. My mom is 84, she was about 5 at the time and lived in Topeka, she says she has no memory of the dust bowl. Of course it was more in western Kansas, plus she was very young. Anyone significantly older at the time would be in their 90s now.
[quote]Who are you rubes who act like you've never heard of the Dust Bowl?
People aren't behaving like they've never heard of it. People are saying that they didn't realize the breadth and scope, the cause/s of it.
"He's a pandering, racist prick."
Racist? I don't think so. His next documentary is "The Central Park Five"; it's about the supposed injustice done to the five loser thugs who were convicted for attacking the Central Park Jogger. Some other guy confessed to raping the jogger and now they want their just reward, that is, a big fat financial settlement. I don't think they deserve one, but I've heard that the documentary is quite sympathetic to their cause.
My grandmother grew up in eastern Oklahoma. I dont' think she had to deal with the dust bowl stuff directly but she did live through the depression and had to support two of her five brothers at the time.
When I asked her about it, all she could remember was "People were throwing themselves off buildings..." She said it with a very grave and sad tone. I could tell this time period really affected her and her family.
So the part that struck me in the documentary was the talk about all the suicides. If you didn't know someone that died in a storm, from starving to death, or from dust pneumonia, you knew someone that killed themselves inspite of it all.
To think I once asked my grandmother why she never smiled in photos as a kid. I thought she was just being dramatic when she responded "We didn't have much to smile about back then." Now I know better.
Today we think parents are cruel if they don't hug their kids enough. I can't imagine the emotional toll these times took on people who had to feed3 -5 or more kids. The stoicism was a survival mechanism. You had to be tough to even breath.
[quote]Who are you rubes who act like you've never heard of the Dust Bowl?
Of course I've heard about the Dust Bowl but it's something else to have such a detailed account and see the pictures. It made it frighteningly real instead of just words in a history book.
I was surprised that 85 to 95-year-old people still got choked up talking about it.
The killing of the rabbits and cattle was hard to take. One of the ladies choked up talking about that. And then came the grasshoppers. It was a real life horror story.
However, the dresses make of feed sacks were charming.
My mom wore the flour sack dresses too, and flour sack underwear. You have to remember, the flour companies deliberately made the sacks out of material that could be used for clothing, because they knew people would be doing that. In those days, all girls and women could sew. Girls learned very young. My mom started making her own dresses by cutting down her mother's clothes at age 8.
If you think about it, people in those days recycled everything. There were no flour sacks to end up in the landfill - they became dresses and doll dresses and quilting squares. My grandmother made a warm wool quilt out of her husband's worn-out wool pants and jackets. She stuffed new quilts with old worn out blankets or quilts. Everything was natural fibers in those days. If we still lived that way, the landfills would be empty.
Has anybody read The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan? Would you recommend it?
[quote]Jesus, I can't believe the shit people lived through in this country. This is heart wrenching.
OMG! They didn't even have Starbucks!
Many people do not seem to know, or recall, the Dust Bowl and FDRs saving lives. I felt too much resonance with what is going on in the world now (man-made environmental disasters, people poor as fuck, but NO HAND OUTS, because it is UN-Murican!) The aquafir is going to be gone in 20 years, and when we have no water, will we blame the super white people of AZ, who want green lawns? Of course not. Like Global Warming, it will be called a myth.
Every time I hear people talking about the poors, I want to recite the speech they excerpted in the documentary.
I still can't believe John Steinbeck was a hack who stole a woman's life story and made a Pulitzer Prize for himself out of it.
-Oh, well yes I can.
A lot of those stories in the documentaries were based on women's writing. The men were too proud to take a hard look at what was going on.
Oh, An Woody Guthrie was a communist- or at least a Socialist. I knew this, but I wonder how they'll handle that little factoid at the museum they're building for him down in Tulsa, Ok.
My mom grew up in the city but spent summers on my grandfather's farm. My great-grandmother made her some feed-sack bloomers that said "Happy Hen" on the seat.
The people who created the dust bowl are the grandparents of the drill baby drill crowd.
[quote] You have to remember, the flour companies deliberately made the sacks out of material that could be used for clothing, because they knew people would be doing that.
This moved me. Did the companies do this out of compassion or competition with each other, I wonder. In any event- what an amazing thing.
[quote] Who are you rubes who act like you've never heard of the Dust Bowl?
I know. You don't need to necessarily learn everything about history in school. Do people think their education should stop once they leave a formal educational setting?
What excuse do people have now with the internet? Even a stupid wiki entry gives tons of details about history and plenty of links to learn more.
Ken Burns "Baseball" is the worst documentary ever. I understand that segregation in baseball was terrible, but I felt like I was watching a documentary on the Civil Rights movement. Which would be fine with me if it was titled, "Ken Burns Civil Rights Movement" instead of "Baseball." it was absolutely leaden. The joy of the game of baseball never came through. Just a lot of white guilt.
I hope someday someone does a good baseball doc.
BTW, a lot of Okies who headed for CA were people who would not change their way of plowing when they were told it was destroying the land. They wouldn't listen to "the guvmint." of course, the government was right.
And the remaining Okies have now pulled down many of the trees planted by WPA and not replanted because they are so anti-guvmint.
Look at it this way. The group of people depicted in the musical Oklahoma are the same group of people depicted later in The Grapes of Wrath. Laurie grows up to be Ma Joad.
r89, I don't think anyone here is claiming to never heard of it but merely to not truly realize the extent of catastrophe it really was.
I grew up in OK, I learned all about it in school and heard about some of it from my own Grandmother but I had no idea how BAD it really was.
Hell, I had the impression it was a few dust storms and a drought that lasted a few years. I had no idea how long it went on and how many people died and how many families were destroyed. I had no idea the midwest was literally a desert for that long and that there were people in other parts of the country who were willing to just write it off and let it stay that way!
I watched both parts. I grew up in the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles so I had lived in several of the small towns mentioned. My mother was a child when her family drove to California to pick oranges. Both my grandfathers worked for the WPA in the 30s.
I loved the documentary. It really brought a lot of family history to life.
There were men who would let their children starve rather than "take charity."
I still have to watch part 2m but part 1 was certainly depressing. I've seen documentaries on the dust bowl before, but none with verbal accounts from some of those who lived through it as in the Burns documentary. It was obvious that these elderly people were still traumatized by some of the events - and the deaths - from the duct bowl yeras.
[quote]You have to remember, the flour companies deliberately made the sacks out of material that could be used for clothing, because they knew people would be doing that.
They made sacks out of material that wouldn't leak flour.
The American Experience will do an excellent documentary on a subject and two years later, Ken Burns comes out with a multipart documentary on the same subject.
I've read it R82. I found it very informative and easy to read. I haven't watched the documentary (didn't realize it was airing right now, dang it), but I imagine that a lot of the information presented in the film is fleshed out a little more in the book.
Here's The American Experience documentary on the Dust Bowl, aired in 2009.
Burns "The War" (about WW II) was amazing. He encompassed that whole period, and brought back what that time must have been like. My father was one of those GI's - taken , at age 22 , from a small midwest town , and plunked down in the jungles of the Phillipines, and taught to kill 'the Japs'. It should be required viewing for high schoolers, who only know vaugely about how the world changed during that time.
[quote]People that bitch and moan about about how bad things are now ought to be required to watch this.
Conservatives always say shit like this but the point they are missing is that these conditions were caused by conservative politics, and the reason we have it "so good" today is because lefties changed the way America works back then.
[quote] I don't think anyone here is claiming to never heard of it but merely to not truly realize the extent of catastrophe it really was.
Sorry. That's still being ignorant. Even if people don't know every detail I don't know how people don't know that it was a huge historical phenomenon which had great impact on our country during an already depressed era.
It's like saying you heard of the stock market crash but you didn't realize the depression that followed.
R93- I loved " The Dust Bowl"- does it still effect the way people see that area? Are the citizens mindful of their past?
I love American history-it connects us all- no matter how we think. The flaws and greatness of those people are really what makes us American. And boy do we need an FDR now!
I only got to see part of it. At least it was acknowledged...back then, when it was happening. The Republicans in those days, HATED Roosevelt for trying to help the people...have Republicans learned a thing? Not that I can see.
It isn't their fault, history is no longer taught in school...even the teachers are ignorant of history. It's Reagan's legacy.
So many conservatives are able to live the good life, because of what liberals fought for. Do those conservatives ever think..."If it wasn't for liberals or unions, I wouldn't have this pension." Nope...it never enters their little pea brains.
[quote] I only got to see part of it.
You can watch it online at PBS.org
R64 I have lived in Northern and Southern California and the Okie accent is prevalent though-out the state.
Wow, the government employment programs were amazing!
Just finished watching all four hours of it. It really is heartbreaking, listening to all these very old people relate the harrowing tales of their childhood. You can tell some of them never really got over it.
[quote]Timothy Egan, it turns out... he sessy!
I had to look him up because I thought he was so attractive. Bitch is 58 years old and looks at least 15 years younger.
[quote] I had no idea the midwest was literally a desert for that long
Not the Midwest. The Great Plains.
BTW, I don't know if it's in the documentary, but before the government hit on the idea of giving away land to be farmed in the Great Plains, the area appeared maps as The Great American Desert.
I would really like to know if all these elderly recipients of FDR's programs currently vote Democrat.
I'd like to think yes-- but I'd love confirmation.
I have some relatives who lived through the Dust Bowl and are elderly. They generally vote Republican, although I have heard them say favorable things about FDR through the years. They were children at the time, and are now in their 80s.
I attribute it to the fact that they are the grandchildren of pioneers who lived in sod houses or other rough conditions and are very independent. They really don't want government (or anyone else's) help.
The point is, when they needed help, the government was there for them.
It's different when you're white, ya see.
R96, it isn't bullshit. The documentary even shows how the flour companies would make a variety of dress-style patterns on the bags so that girls could have a variety of dresses and not all look the same when the sacks were turned into dresses.
The documentary also pointed out that the reservoir of water they've been using to farm since the dust bowl will be gone in about 25 years. They are going to be living on crap land again soon.
[quote]The point is, when they needed help, the government was there for them.
Not really -- when the Dust Bowl people first tried to move to California, LA County Sheriff Deputies drove all the way out to the state line to stop them.
The reason that Americans are free to move and travel from state to state is because of the lawsuit that resulted from this attempt to keep these people out of the State.
R120, they were talking about the New Deal...Fed programs that were set up to help those who stayed in OK.
But your point is a good one nonetheless.
My bf's parents were Okies who settled in central CA and farmed land they didn't own.
Even tho' he was born in CA, my bf has an Okie accent, as do all his sibs.