Classic EssaysRevilo P. Oliver

Photography

by Revilo P. Oliver

IN THE JULY ISSUE I remarked that while the latest technology had made it much easier to produce photographic lies, especially in cinematographic form, it had long been possible to produce mendacious pictures, that is, pictures that portrayed something that did not happen. This, of course, is quite different from using genuine photographs while lying about the time and place at which they were taken, as, for example, the Sheenies do when they promote their great swindle, the Holohoax, by showing pictures of the bodies of German civilians massacred by the ferocious British and American barbarians at such places as Dresden, but claiming the pictures showed members of the Holy Race whom the godless Germans had slain.

A subscriber has lent me a copy of the issue of Trains for August 1992, which reproduces on p. 27 a picture that was first published in that magazine in April 1970. The photograph was taken at night (with the aid of flash-bulbs) at Gilman, Illinois, where the tracks of the Toledo, Peoria & Western crossed the main line of the Illinois Central. A train on the former was shown waiting while a train of the Illinois Central was about to pass over the crossing. The photograph was interesting because such meetings of two trains became rare after passenger trains all but disappeared and freight trains became few, as a result of the Federal government’s policy of liquidating American industry and the railroads on which it depended.

This photograph was accepted as showing an actual event for twenty-two years and until a man who had been familiar with the interlocking installation at Gilman and who had eyes worthy of Lynceus noticed that the signal on the left margin of the picture was in the wrong position. Investigation brought a confession from the photographer: he had simply set up his camera in a fixed position, photographed the Illinois Central train and then waited until a train on the Toledo, Peoria & Western came along, when he photographed it on the same film. He wanted only to produce an interesting photograph for sale to the magazine, and, by the way, put on his picture a caption that was misleading in its implication, but did not affirm that the photograph was genuine. (The old Jesuit trick of suppressio veri).

It is, perhaps, worthy of remark that the Illinois Central train shown in the picture was traveling on a track that was recently torn up and sold as junk. (1) The Illinois Central absorbed the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio, which had already absorbed the Chicago & Alton, the Gulf Mobile & Northern, and the New Orleans Great Northern, and the amalgamation fell into the hands of a management that has been dismembering it, selling off parts of it to corporations hurriedly organized to save some local industries, and ripping up much of the rest and selling it for scrap — scrap of which a large part may be sold to Japan for its ever thriving steel industry. The passing of the United States as an industrial nation is a phenomenon noted with wonder throughout the world, except, of course, in the United States.

(1. The same issue of Trains (P.O. Box 1612, Waukesha, Wisconsin; $28.96 per annum) contains an article by R.L. Taylor, an economist with long experience in railway management and president of a small railway, who predicts “that in 10 years there will be no more railroads,…except for the publicly owned suburban passenger operations, which do not have to earn a return on investment.” That, he says, will be the natural and inevitable culmination of the offensive against railways that began in 1920 “and will end only when the last mile of track is torn up and sold for scrap.” If you want to date exactly the progressive hostility to railroads by an increasingly Marxist government, you might fix on 1917, when the crazed Americans set out on a Holy War that gave a pretext for seizure of all the railroads by the Jewish satrap who was the real ruler of the United States, “Barney” Baruch. When the railways were returned to their owners, the Federal government paid some compensation for the damage wrought, perhaps maliciously, by Baruch, but the sum paid was a mere fraction of the cost of restoring the railroads to efficient operation. For some of the looting in other fields of industry during the jihad, see Professor James J. Martin’s The Saga of Hog Island and Other Essays in Inconvenient History (Colorado Springs, Ralph Myles, 1977).)

Mr. Taylor concludes his article with the hopeful suggestion that if the Americans come to their senses, they could create a system of transportation of both passengers and freight comparable to what is found in more advanced countries, such as Japan and France. But who can imagine that American peons, having long since passed the point of no return, could still become reasonable or again have a country of their own?

* * *

Source: Liberty Bell magazine, August 1992

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