Dear Dirty America

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Fillmore Chops Down Its Trees To Be More Hollywood-Friendly

September 08
21:00 2012
DDA

Fillmore, CA, now more suitable for Hollywood

(for another article about disgracefully chopping down trees, see Space Shuttle Endeavour’s Final Destructive Mission)

Many of us are desperate in this destroyed American economy. Desperate for jobs, prosperity, and hope for a better future. The town of Fillmore, in Ventura County, California, recently chopped its queen palms from its downtown streets in a last-ditch move to generate some revenue. They wanted to look more like Anytown, USA.

From The Source:

Officials wanted to give film and TV producers a generic, small-town setting that could stand in for Iowa, Indiana or anywhere else in palm-free America. So one July night, a landscaper revved up his chain saws in the heart of the city’s quaint downtown and, soon after, the Fillmore Film Commission — its slogan is “Film More in Fillmore” — announced the move in an email blast to location scouts.

Fillmore has not yet received any business because of the tree removal, but the town is hopeful the move will spur renewed interest in filming. Unfortunately, and most people know this, Hollywood is dead. As the above article states, only two of 23 one-hour dramas are made in Los Angeles.

California can’t afford to give tax breaks for filming in their state. That is an unfriendly and expensive way to treat filmmakers and production companies, so they take their business elsewhere, like Austin, Texas. Or Florida. Or New York.

The pot-hole ridden, crumbling Sunset Boulevard is always an ominous indicator of a once thriving Hollywood. A few months ago, while having coffee and staring blankly at the cars and people drifting by my table, I overheard a conversation from a screenwriter to one of her friends.

He asked her how work was going. “Very slow,” she said. “So hard for us to get work. All the jobs are leaving for other parts of the country where they can film and get permits for much cheaper. Puts us in a sticky position.” Us screenwriters, I understood.

Her friend reminded her that Los Angeles has ideal weather, and that must be a plus. “Not really,” she said, “they find ways to make it work. It pays to save all that money on tax breaks, even if it means working around more rainy or gloomy days. Or, they just write it in so it works out. They don’t need to, and they won’t keep shooting in Los Angeles.”

Ultimately, in any bad or awful stretch of the economy, we’re all told we’ve got to tighten our belts, cut back, and be innovative about making ends meet. Even though our financial demise is linked to the investment banks merging with commercial banks, and our money and prosperity for years to come was gambled away. You don’t see Jamie Dimon or Lloyd Blankfein tightening their belts. Quite the opposite. They still get bonuses at the end of the year. Bonuses that are worth more than everybody living on your city block has earned in a lifetime.

Is the town of Fillmore doing the right thing by devastating the beauty of their town by cutting down 26 queen palms that have been there since the 1940s?

It’s hard to blame them for being desperate. But removing mature trees in hopes you’ll drum up some business from a dead Hollywood? Cutting your downtown trees so your town can better resemble bumfuck Indiana or Iowa? That’s an ominous, careless move. One destined for punishment and a further dearth of prosperity. Or, if nothing else, bitter disappointment.

This story is a metaphor for our world, and our humanity, and our industrialized nations. Nature is expendable and will always be made to give way to what we consider our arbitrary, man made achievements.

Just like the neighborhoods in South LA that will lose 400 trees so that goddamned space shuttle can be dragged through the streets on a final “hoorah” parade, Fillmore will alter their downtown aesthetic, destroy 26 trees that have been citizens of the town for longer than most of its human inhabitants, and all for a little bit of money. Or the hope of it.

SEE ALSO

Fordlandia

Space shuttle Endeavour’s final destructive mission

Give me a wildness no civilization can endure

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