This is Not about Razors and Shave Cream

by Kevin Smith Author

There are some places the names of which evoke immediate and strong reactions and associations. Typically, this is the case by virtue of a place by that name having experienced something extraordinary in its past, an event that was so dramatic it instantly became the stuff of legends, fueling the imaginations of generations to come.

That is not the case with the town of Herkimer, a village of around 9 or 10 thousand people in upstate NY, and in which Chester Gillette (no relationship established with the Gillette company that makes men's shaving products) was tried for murder in 1906, a trial which it is reported attracted a small gallery of local observers.

The Best a Man Can Get

But, if you do some simple research you are likely to follow a trail of information that proposes Chester Gillette as the model, and the circumstances around the murder for which he was convicted, as the setting and impetus for the American novelist Theodore Drieser's best-known work, An American Tragedy, which was later adapted as the haunting movie "A Place in the Sun," starring Shelley Winters, Elizabeth Taylor, and Montgomery Clift.

The movie went on to win 6 Academy Awards, a Golden Globe for Best Drama, and has subsequently been honored by selection for inclusion in the Library of Congress, which recognizes work of cultural and aesthetic importance.

It's amazing how pulling on the end of a loose thread may lead you to places and things, knowledge, trivia, subjects for reflection and new areas for your intellectual engagement that you never would have guessed at before you grasped it and exerted the least bit of pressure--no more pressure, really, than you would exert by typing Herkermer to check the spelling of a town you once heard of, and finding not only its correct spelling but all kinds significant trivia.

So, it turns out that even a place you might think of as nowhere in the middle of nowhere--if you even ever heard of it--has some intriguing cultural contributions to make, and deserves credit for that. Close the book on Herkimer.

Where Fact Meets Fiction

Now, the movie, "A Place in the Sun," was released in 1951, scarcely 4 years after a so-called weather balloon that very much resembled a UFO crashed in Roswell, New Mexico. Oh, it wasn't a UFO, government authorities have maintained, but rather a weather balloon. And over time conspiracy theories and legends have grown around it to the point that Roswell has almost mythical status in American culture. However, give the conspiracy folks a nod: It's not everyone who can see the relationship between the last word of the title of the movie and the choice of the "weather balloon" explanation. And for those who do see that connection, the government's ongoing denial and cover-up have the ring of a real American tragedy--taking it full circle back to upstate New York, where at one time you could exit the thruway and pull past a sign that might have said, "Entering Herkimer ~ Where You'll Find More than Meets the Eye."

Bringing It All Together

So, in conclusion, if you search on Roswell, the computer assumes you mean Roswell, NM, or something closely related to that town and hits you with movie titles and UFO stories.

But if you get interested in how the government may have used landscaping services to clean up the site of the UFO landing there, and you, therefore, search on landscaping in Roswell, you wind up in the electronic version of the suburban Atlanta yellow pages. What's the deal? Maybe the folks in Herkimer know the truth.

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About Kevin Smith Senior   Author

141 connections, 0 recommendations, 681 honor points.
Joined APSense since, December 7th, 2016, From Utah, United States.

Created on Mar 17th 2018 02:24. Viewed 270 times.


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