New York Daily Photo Analytics

Friday, May 20, 2011

One Word 2

Perhaps one of the most prescient pieces of business advice ever given in a film, and certainly one of the most enduring lines in film history, is that which is said to Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate. In this scene, Ben is chatting with a few women at his college graduation party, when Mr. McGuire comes to take Ben outdoors for a serious private talk:

Mr. McGuire (to Ben): Come with me for a minute. I want to talk to you. Excuse us Joanne.

[Mr. McGuire takes Ben to the back yard of the house to the pool area.]

Mr. McGuire: I just want to say on word to you, just one word.

Ben: Yes, sir.

Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?

Ben: Yes I am.

Mr. McGuire: Plastics.

Ben: Exactly how do you mean?

Mr. McGuire: There's a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it?

Ben: Yes, I will.

Mr. McGuire: Shhh ... 'nuff said. That's a deal.

The word plastics has never had a positive connotation, always tainted in some way. At the time of the film in the 1967, there was a sense that plastics were part of the space age. However, it was also commonly used to mean fake, phony or artificial and hated by many, as author Norman Mailer said in an interview: "Plastic is the excrement of oil." Although not really a scathing work, Mailer endorsed the book Plastic: The Making of a Synthetic Century.

Today, specific plastics are promoted for their strength, performance and/or special properties in particular applications - polymers such as Lexan, Delrin, Kevlar, Teflon, Cordura Nylon, Gore-Tex, Viton, silicone, polyurethane, etc. However, when used generally, the word plastics brings up images of a world mired in plastic bags, bottles and other waste.

In today's photo, we have a solution to plastics recycling as well as rain gear, occasionally seen among the homeless in New York City. This man had crafted a very extensive wardrobe that appears to be extremely well suited for a day of predicted rain during a very wet spring. His possessions were neatly packed in bags, also made from plastic. Whether seen as a cultural metaphor, an icon of evil by Mr. Mailer, a promising future by Mr. McGuire or used as an impromptu raincoat, all agree on the importance of One Word :)

Related Posts: We Don't Do Windows, Released From Captivity, One Word, Rosenwach Wood Tanks, Caught, Canal Rubber


Sally Darling said...

One word.....Brilliant

Brian Dubé said...


Thanks much. I was secretly hoping someone might think that :)

Alice said...

I miss New York so much....every part of it...
Thanks for all the little pieces....

time traveler said...

Mr. McGuire was right!! There isn't one hour that passes without coming into contact with some sort of plastic..From pushing the snooze button on your alarm clock-pulling back the shower curtain-climbing into the shower enclosure-the plastic in your car-the computer-one can only hope Ben followed his advice..Brilliant post, Brian-Brilliant..Have a good weekend..

Sue K said...

That is a great photo! Really made me smile. Loved the post, too. Do you remember The Buggles - Living in the Plastic Age? I remember Rose and I skating to it in Washington Square Park. Little did we know!

Thérèse said...

Pastic at its best and at its worst!
Where is the sweat!
A fabulous picture!

Montreal Photo Daily - Ken said...

From my personal experience, I know that necessity has been a good motivator for me to recycle and re-use. I wouldn't go as far as this... but you never know. Great post.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone check to see if this person was alive???

Brian Dubé said...

He was quite alive - I also saw him from the front, awake and moving around.

merleneshedlock said...

i must agree with previous posts, this is a gem post, just one word with a multitude of implications, thank you.

Jenrozz Dagang said...

nice photo! for me this photo has a deeper meaning.. i like this!
i also have a photoblog, it tells about the Philippines. :)