Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Box Challenge - Huey P. Long

Robert Penn Warren's book follows the career of fictional character, populist governor Willie Stark's rise to power, and inevitable corruption and fall.

‎"If you were living in louisiana you knew you were living in history defining itself before your eyes and you knew you were not seeing a half-drunk hick buffoon performing an old routine, but witnessing a drama which was a version of the world's drama and the drama of history too: the old drama of power and ethics."   RPW

Although he insists his book is not about politics or any politician in particular, his character Stark, is a mirror image of louisana's real and corrupt populist governor Huey P. Long.

Huey Long, began his career as a traveling sales man, selling amongst other remedys for varied ailments,  a liquid evacuant  called "black draught", still available today.

To the working poor he would remain a hero for providing schools, work, bridges and roads, for whole sections of louisiana's poorest communities, but to the richest and most powerful american's he was a scourge and by others still, like notable historian Arthur Schlesinger, he was the closest any american politician would come to a dictator.

Read more of his history here

Ken burns has a pretty good documentary about him too, which includes an interview with Robert Penn Warren about Long, or you can watch Broderick Crawford(1949), or Sean Penn(2006) deliver Stark's famous treatise on  "dirt".

Stencilled and dyed onlays of Long in characteristic full flow, yellow dot tooling.