Monday, September 03, 2007

Another Labor Day?

Although for most of us, it's just another day off or an extended weekend, Labor Day is an excellent time to reflect on those men and women (and children!) who came before us, helped build this country, and whose lives continue to reverberate in this new century.

The people at The National Archives have designed some wonderful virtual exhibitions that pay tribute to American laborers and many others. From their website:
Imagine working in a coal mine.
Or in a steel mill.
Or at a telephone switchboard.

Work and workplaces have gone through enormous transformations between the mid 19th and late 20th centuries. You can view these changes through photographs held by the National Archives and Records Administration.

My own contribution was to download a video from their site, and make it into something new and more compelling. Although the video was completely silent, I changed the work by simply adding a soundtrack. This video now features a soundtrack by Thievery Corporation, who remixed a song from the Doors, a band popular many years ago. See the parallels?

Hopefully you'll understand this "secret" message: don't be afraid to respond to media that usually is intended to be one-way. The internet and computer technology has made it possible for anyone to become a creator and to "talk back" to media. Work such as this can be very fulfilling and meaningful. Hopefully, this small "labor of love" will encourage you to think about today as more than just "Another Labor Day".

1 comment:

Carly M said...

I am glad you posted something about labor day. This past summer, I was in Israel and travelling with Israelis. One day, towards the end of the trip, we were all talking about school and the holidays we get school off for. We were all listing the various ones: Veteren's Day, President's Day, Memorial Day, Christmas Break, Spring Break...and then someone mentioned labor day. The Israelis asked what labor day was, and none of the Americans could give a confident answer; some just shrugged and said "a holiday for people who work?"

In my opinion, Labor Day is an underappreciated and fairly ignorant holiday and more should be done to educate and reinforce the importance of it.