picket Rockefeller

< Previous | Next >

kahroba

Senior Member
Persian
Dear all
Please tell me what's meant by "picket J.D. Rockefeller" in the following context, taken from "The Camera Eye 46 " in "The Big Money" by Dos Passos:
Please note there's no punctuation in "Camera Eyes"; you don't use it when using a camera, do you?
(--) represent spaces in the context
you suddenly falter ashamed flush red break out in sweat-- why not tell these men stamping in the wind that we stand on a quicksand? that doubt is the whetstone of understanding is too hard hurts instead of urging -- picket John D. Rockefeller the bastard if the cops knock your blocks off it's all for the advancement of the human race
Does it mean "stand against Rockefeller", or, perhaps, we should just ignore the space and read it "... instead of urging picket; if Rockefeller the bastard and the cops knock your blocks off, it's all for the advancement of the human race"
 
  • bibliolept

    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    To "picket" someone or something can mean to stage a protest to show opposition, probably carrying "picket signs." I should add that while "picketing" began as an activity characteristic of organized labor, now it is used for a variety of public demonstrations.

    Note the following form picket:
    noun:
    picket
    a person employed to watch for something to happen

    picket

    a protester posted by a labor organization outside a place of work
    And, from there, to the verb:
    picket
    serve as pickets or post pickets; "picket a business to protest the lay-offs"
    I also call your attention to the commonly used phrase picket line:
    picket line
    a line of people acting as pickets
     
    Last edited:

    kahroba

    Senior Member
    Persian
    To "picket" someone or something can mean to stage a protest to show opposition, probably carrying "picket signs." quote]
    Don't you feel dear B there's some of kind of discrepancy there? a few lines earlier the narrator says "why not tell these men ... that we stand on a quicksand? [why not tell these men] that doubt is the whetstone of understanding... instead of urging" (it's better to doubt action)
    and then he says "go and picket Rockefeller even if the cops knock your blocks off"?
    Or, perhaps it's just because I'm not reading it well?
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    I agree with your reading of his rhetorical question. He is asking himself why he doesn't tell them the truth.

    Then he paints a cynical picture and self-critical picture of himself as a speech-giving agitator: he urges the men to go picket Rockefeller even though it is likely to get them beaten by the police, while he goes home to safely read Latin poetry. It is this thought that caused him to blush at the beginning of the paragraph, in the middle of giving a rabble-rousing speech.
     

    bibliolept

    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    I think that perhaps the stalwart, resolute action that the picketers are urged to take, just as is the case with any extremist or fanatic approach, is also likely to push away doubt, to eliminate any chances for introspection and thought that would could perhaps lead to real change or at least real understanding.

    Slogans are shallow, but they are what picketers shout and what rally crowds. The picketers are indoctrinated with absolutes and simple ideas, but what they think of as concrete principals are really constantly changing, the quicksand. Someone who uses the simplified issues instead of explaining the subtleties could feel guilty about misleading his followers. But subtleties don't get people excited and don't get discussed by the media or the people, on the other hand.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top