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Sep
7

Labor Day (a story)

The business travelers on the flight thought that it was some cosmic thank you for their working on Labor Day. It’s not often you see a celebrity, let alone that he is in the cockpit on your flight. Apparently doing research on an upcoming character he was to play in a big-budget movie.

If only the airline, which had been so eager to accommodate him and the studio, could have known exactly what the movie was about, they might not have been so enthusiastic.

Actually they could have known, if they would have just asked.

The movie star was one of these method acting types. If only the airline could have known what method acting was.

Actually they probably did or could have looked it up. The actor was quite famous and known for this approach to his craft.

Craft being another name for labor, and thus tying in perfectly with a Labor Day-themed story. If you don’t think writing isn’t labor, let me assure that it is. Think you could write a better story involving Labor Day? I invite you to try.

Labor Day is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of the American worker. Just typing that out elicits a yawn. But don’t go yawning just yet, I’m about to end this bad boy with a metaphor that’s going to rock you.

Not as much as a woman going through labor, I’ll grant you that, but I had to include women going through labor to momentarily clear your mental pallet before continuing. That sentence was a salted cracker between sips of wine.

And giving you an example of something that is typically used to cleanse pallets was like a second cracker. Your pallet is now double cleansed.

And you thought writing wasn’t labor…

The business travelers on the flight thought that it was some cosmic thank you for their working on Labor Day. It’s not often you see a celebrity, let alone that he is in the cockpit on your flight. Apparently doing research on an upcoming character he was to play in a big-budget movie.

If only the passengers could have known exactly what the movie he was researching for was about, they might not have been so enthusiastic.

Here it is… the big reveal; the movie is about a pilot who intentionally crashes the plane he is flying.

I don’t want to insult you, but I don’t think you’re taking the time to think through just how many moving parts there are in this story. A story set on Labor Day.

About laborers on a flight with another laborer at the controls who may or may not be wanting to bring the whole plane down.

The airplane is a metaphor and the pilots are a metaphor and the actor is a metaphor and the passengers are metaphors and crashing is a metaphor and life, yes even life, in this story, is a metaphor.

Maybe the only metaphor not being dragged into this tale is a woman giving birth.

Another salted cracker.

Method Acting was developed by the Russian theater practitioner Konstantin Stanislavski in the early 20th Century. When the Moscow Art Theater, under the direction of Stanislavsky, visited New York City on a tour in 1923, one of the people impressed with acting of the troupe was Lee Strasberg. When he started the Group Theater in 1931, he sought to recreate the kind of theatrical organization of the Moscow Art Theater, but one adapted to the cultural norms of the United States.

 

“The great secret…for moving the passions (in others) is to be moved ourselves” [using visions or experiences from life] “whereby the images of things absent are so represented to the mind that we seem to see them with our eyes, and to have them present before us.”

William Archer – Masks or Faces

 

But like everything else it touches, Hollywood eventually ruined method acting. Actors like Jared Leto, Daniel Day-Lewis, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Christian Bale, and Leonardo DiCaprio have spoken about how they lose themselves in roles and all have been accused of using ‘method acting’ to both lend an air of legitimacy and significance to a performance no matter its quality and wrapping it up in a brand of identity politics that tries to make the art form resemble more traditional forms of male labor.

So the airplane is a metaphor and the pilots are a metaphor and the passengers (male and female) are metaphors and crashing is a metaphor and Russian ideas are metaphors and American ideas are metaphors and so is truth and acting and life itself, but in this story, triple-particularly because it’s Labor Day, the actor is THE metaphor.

And like any good metaphor he both crashes the plane and the flight lands without incident. The passengers die screaming and live to giddily tell their friends they saw a celebrity, because the dream of the American worker today is both in tremendous peril and alive and well.

Because on June 28, 1894, President Grover Cleveland, whose statue still stands outside city hall in Buffalo, NY, signed a law making the first Monday in September of each year a national holiday in the hope that it would cause us all to write stories about labor and read stories about labor and remember why those fictitious yet all-too-real passengers sat on that plane in the first place.

Think you could write a better story involving Labor Day? I invite you to try.

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