Thursday, February 26, 2009

Join the Resistance!

“This is my favorite place in the whole world… Once the land touches you, the wind never blows so cold again. You feel for the land like it was your child.” - Moonlight Graham

It's been a while since I reread Shoeless Joe, so I'm a bit rusty. But the quote Matt offered in his insightful review reminded me of one of the key elements of the novel not carried over to the film. Why was this baseball diamond in an Iowa cornfield so important? Because it stood in the way of a huge corporate farm, all the other pieces having been acquired. Kinsella tells us that when the farm is complete, it will be tilled by remote controlled tractors. (The writer Kinsella is mixing a little negative utopia into his magic realism.)

So, it's important to see the novel in the historical context of the late 1960s. This is particularly important today when we see what corporate greed has wrought in America and what corporate and individual greed has wrought in American baseball -- think A-Rod, the Yankess, baseball's inept and greedy ownership, and all the other hangers-on who have worked so hard to destroy the purity of the game.

(I'm trying to think of a baseball novel in which greed is not a theme... I can't.)

This novel, ultimately, seems to me to be about one man (and a strong woman) standing up against the Man, the machine, the corporation, the forces of greed and -- dare I say -- the forced march of "progress" that seek daily to steal the purity of a clear Iowa night when the stars pour out like milk across the sky.

--Lofflin, just shoveling content again on a rainy Thursday morning

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