Well crap. Now I’m depressed. Don’t get me wrong, “Blood on the Mountain” is a fantastic documentary, but damn, the story it tell just sucks.
I’m not sure if that was the end intention of “Blood on the Mountain,” a documentary about the coal industry mostly centered around West Virginia, and I’m sure a lot of it is meant to raise awareness of the corporate and government atrocities associated with everything coal, but even for me there is only so much badness I can take.
“Blood on the Mountain” came pretty damn close to putting me over the edge.
The thing is I knew that the general aspect of coal mining sucked, I just didn’t realize it was this bad, nor how brainwashed most of the people involved seem to be. This hit me in some of the interviews where people would say things like, “We have all of these health issues, but it’s normal, we were in the coal mines.” That shouldn’t be “normal,” nor did it have to be. There is also the continued belief of how they are like soldiers, killing themselves for the good of the country, by mining coal, a mantra they have been given by union officials, corporate officials, grandparents, and parents throughout the entire history of coal mining.
The documentary hits the entire badness of coal mining, from the silicosis most everyone who worked in the mine developed, to the mass graves of the old days, to the coal slurry pits, most not engineered properly, to the blowing tops off of mountains. And it doesn’t stop there. Nope, lets toss in government double-speak, like “Is the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection manipulated by the coal industry?” “Give me your definition of manipulated.”, and the Governor blaming a slurry tragedy as an act of God instead of poor engineering.
If things like the government “looking the other way” isn’t bad enough, let’s not forget the unions, making agreements that even I could figure wouldn’t work well, especially when it came to pensions where the workers lose everything with a corporate change, even losing seniority, which is the only thing that kept some of the older workers having the health care they would so desperately need. The bad part – the unions would blame the companies, but for God’s sake, you make these agreements!
I will admit that there was a lot of yelling at the TV for this viewing!
To make matters worse for the portrayal of the coal industry, let’s bring out Friends of Coal, an advocacy group founded by the coal industry to show the benefits of coal to the children and the towns, without, of course, showing the other side of the coal industry, you know, that side that by working in the coal mine, or living near the strip mining, you are pretty much opening yourself up to lung issues in the future, not to mention a lifetime of cleaning up dust.
Now let’s top it off with the utmost worst part, especially for all of the people thinking the coal industry can grow, because, yea, the industry can grow, but ica can grow without people, and that’s happening already because just about every job can be automated, and eventually will.
Like many documentaries, “Blood on the Mountain” is one-sided, and this one crucifies the coal industry. I’m sure there is the other side of the story, but it would be hard-pressed to counter the complete destruction of mountains, seeming brainwashing of people, and horrible health and death of residents of West Virginia.
I know it may be the only source of income for people and generates unbelievable revenue for governments, but the price that is paid is astronomical. Then, of course, reversing the lack of safety, lack of environmental controls, and lack of humanity leads to the trade-off, higher prices, and as much as it’s a “call to action” documentary, sadly, for the most part, for the rest of the world it’s still “not in my backyard so why should I care.”
As much as the documentary sickened me, it gets 4 1/2 stars out of 5 from me. I would love to see the coal industry try to come up with a counter documentary to try to show things better, but I doubt that could be done. Oh, wait, they try, they have, after all, the “Friends of Coal.”
That’s it for this one! L8R!!