Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Triangle


Hey, Today -100 fans, er, both of you: I should have mentioned that PBS aired a documentary last night on “American Experience” about the Triangle shirtwaist fire of 1911. Check local listings for the re-broadcasts. And there’ll be another doc on HBO on the 21st.

It was... okay. More time spent on the social conditions and the 1909-10 shirtwaist strike than on the actual fire, which is fine by me, although I got the impression it was mostly because they weren’t particularly interested in the factory workers themselves. I do have two objections. 1) I couldn’t tell which of the images they used were actually images of the things they were discussing and which were stock footage – were those firemen the actual ones trying to put out the fire at the Asch Building or just any old firemen from around that period? 2) They willfully obscured the fact that most of the Triangle workers were immigrants. None of the voiceover actors supposedly speaking the words of the survivors had so much as a trace of an accent. And when they talked about the Cooper Union meeting in 1909, they mentioned that Clara Lemlich stood up and gave a rousing speech that roused the meeting, against the wishes of Samuel Gompers and the other union leaders on the stage, into calling the strike, they even quoted some of her words, but failed to mention that they were given in Yiddish. Funny, that.

And of course check back here on March 26th for up-to-the-minute -100 coverage of the fire.

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