In this modern world we love stories, as we always have, but we love stories now told in real time more than in retrospect. We aren’t as tied to the necessity of truth so much as the novelty of emotion. We want the passion but not the impact. We want the comfort of loud voices but not the awareness of soft speech. Such is the case of Flint and the recent movie Lifetime has made about it. The fact is that no matter how accurately they want to portray things, how sincere their efforts are, and how heartfelt their wishes for the city, my city, the fact is that the film was begun over a year ago and as up to date as their information may have been, this is a tale that even we who live here won’t fully know the impact of everything for years to come. As I write this we are on the verge of an attempt to recall our mayor. A mayor that was largely elected because she was a new face not connected with the water crisis and because she promised to get us clean water and to fight for us. I can say firsthand that this is some who has earned a recall but that gets into issues that are not the point of this blog. But it’s hard to tell a full story when you’re only in the middle of it. This water crisis maybe have us looking at our third new mayor in three years. That’s insane. The story of Flint, the whole story, is not something you can put into a two hour movie. It’s not something that can be taken in in one gulp. No, this is a story that will be told over days and months and years. This isn’t something that you can look at from the ground. I can appreciate the desire for immediacy but that view is myopic, but maybe that’s why it’s so desired.
Flint is a buzzword. A flag to follow. Even if people don’t fully understand the politics, the economics, the social impact, the political impact, or a dozen other things. You could write a graduate thesis on any one of these topics so it’s hard to imagine that anything smaller could really do justice to the story but these tales will pop up. They will be told. As I said before people will get famous because of this. People will get rich. And we here in Flint will hope that this at least keeps people thinking about us, and about the issue of water in this nation, but truly, these are not getting deeper than the skin and that’s just the way it is. Such is life
That’s the way of Hollywood.
That’s the way of our culture.
We want the flash and not the picture.
The story of Flint continues to unfold just as the stories of its people. These stories are getting out, bit by bit, but the odds of anyone seeing the full tapestry are long, but if some of those stories can get out, and if a few more people can see the faces behind the headlines and the people behind the horror then that’s something. That’s a start.
The Flint Water Crisis happened. It’s happening. All we can hope now is that this helps a future tragedy and lays a foundation that stops them from happening some day.