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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/7/10

This Oil Ride

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1861--The first major oil well in the world started pumping. Christened "Empire," it stood on Funk Farm in Pennsylvania.

1908--The Anglo-Persian Oil Company discovered oil in Iran. This was the first major oil field in the Middle East. APOC would become the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, then British Petroleum, in 1954.

1913--Inspired by disassembly lines inside Chicago slaughterhouses, the Ford Motor Company perfected the assembly line. From this point on, a man must strive to become as efficient and mechanical as a machine.

1927--The Turkish Petroleum Company struck oil in Iraq. Despite its name, TPC was a conglomerate of European companies, with the biggest shareholder the Anglo-Persian Company, i.e., British Petroleum.

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1933--In New Jersey, the first drive-in theater opened. Thanks to the car, even a lumpen could have his private carriage. Now, he also had a private box in a theater.

1944--The G.I. Bill helped returning veterans to buy homes, with stipulations that these were detached and in homogenous neighborhoods, i.e., the white suburbs. Like many American laws, this was designed to enrich real estate, car and oil interests.

1953--The C.I.A. orchestrated a coup against the democratically-elected government of Mohammad Mosaddegh, after he had nationalized the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, i.e., British Petroleum.

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1956--President Eisenhower began the largest public works project in history, the Interstate. What it is is a generous and continuous system of multi-laned highways. It is never intersected, not even once, by a lesser road. One needs not pause on one's life's journey as long as one's traveling on the Interstate. It is eternity made real and proven, a diagram of heaven (or hell) for the wordless masses.

1962--The Beverly Hillbillies debuted, to become one of the most popular television series of all time. Resonating deeply within the American psyche, its premise might as well be our national myth: a family of hicks struck it rich through oil.

1963--The C.I.A. orchestrated a coup against Abdul Karim Kassem of Iraq. Kassem had begun nationalizing foreign oil companies, most prominently the Iraq Petroleum Company, formerly known as Turkish Petroleum, i.e., British Petroleum.

1967--In "The Graduate," Mr. McGuire advised Ben, "I just want to say one word to you--just one word."

"Yes, sir."

"Are you listening?"

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"Yes, I am."

"Plastics."

"Exactly how do you mean?"

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Linh Dinh's Postcards from the End of America has just been published by Seven Stories Press. Tracking our deteriorating socialscape, he maintains a photo blog.

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