The murmur of the snarkmatrix…

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I Just Found a Little Piece of My Soul

YouTube isn’t great because it has music videos and stuff (see below).

It’s great because it has this.

Why the clip is cool, in adult terms: It’s a rare view of industrialism as joyful and fun, not sinful and dehumanizing.

Why the clip is cool, in kid terms: CRAYONS!

August 18, 2006 / Uncategorized


Not just Sesame Street, but also Mister Rogers used to show clips like that all of the time. It was almost always middle-aged, usually midwestern men and women, performing deceptively simple mechanical tasks with consummate skill in conjunction with large, well-ordered machines. All of those jobs are gone.

What Tim said.

You know, rewatching it, I can’t honestly tell if the clips is cool for either of the eminently good reasons you cite, or if it is, in fact, a small piece of my soul b/c I recognize almost every frame and motion in it, the way I anticipate the crescendos of a familiar symphony.

What I find most interesting is that, despite those obviously being Crayola boxes, the Crayloa logo does not appear once.

Mike says…

I can say with certainty that these jobs still exist. However, it is not middle-aged, midwestern men and women performing them. I would assume Crayola has, rather than the half-dozen people we saw, much fewer people throughout the process.

Wait, Mike, do you know somebody at the crayon factory or something?

Mike says…

Haha, no =) But I was a consultant to a lot of consumer packaged goods companies in the rural regions. The crazy thing is, as high tech as the companies are from an administrative and supply chain side, there is still assembly line style handling of materials, i.e. feeding materials into the machines, grabbing off the line, bundling, that sort of thing. Really a lot more hands on than one might think.

Pardon my hyperbole. As it happens, Crayola closed its Winfield, Kansas plant in 1997. It still operates a factory in Easton, PA (in the Lehigh Valley, not far from Bethlehem) and there’s a kind of fake museum/theme park in Two Rivers Landing called “The Crayola Factory.” I would guess that the theme park probably employs ten times the people that the manufacturing plant does. I could guess further that the reason the plant itself doesn’t offer tours any more is that so few people work there. And I could guess again that the plant is there largely as a pretext to support the theme park/museum. But these would admittedly be guesses. What’s definitely rapidly going if not gone is the industrial moment captured by the Mr Rogers films. I bet there’s a documentary or cultural studies dissertation in there somewhere.

ali says…

oh YEAH! I always tell people about this clip, but I always thought it aired on Reading Rainbow. But don’t take my word for it, watch the clip!

Oh, and I tried to find this forever without knowing what it was called. Then, I finally ran across it by ACCIDENT on the web(or what i like to call Accid-Net).

It’s the Teeny Little Super Guy.

The snarkmatrix awaits you

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