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"A Fordism of the Imagination.."
February 26th, 2009

Prof Paul Lawrie of the Univ of Toronto recently wrote a nice review of my book DRAWING THE LINE

Tom Sito, Drawing the Line: The Untold Story of the Animation Unions from Bosko to Bart Simpson
Labour/Le Travail , Fall, 2007 by Paul Lawrie, Univ of Toronto

WRITING IN THE 1930'S the Marxist philosopher Antonio Gramsci evoked the hyper-rationalized, atomizing character of Fordism as the singular feature of modern Americanism. Gramsci's critique was especially prescient in its highlighting of the hegemonic implications of such standardized production beyond the industrial sphere in which the Model T and Mickey Mouse ostensibly constituted two sides of the same Fordist coin. In Drawing the Line, Tom Sito, a 30-year veteran of the animation industry and past president of America's largest animation union, Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists (MPSC), Local 839, crafts an appealing analysis of the heretofore undocumented tensions resulting from the production process of one of America's most enduring cultural media.

For Sito, "animation is the strangest of art forms" in which the imperatives of mass production and the mass market combine with the vicissitudes of the creative mind to "produce dreams by the yard."(47) Certainly one could see such a process as evincing a Fordism of the imagination, in which the individual creative consciousness is deconstructed into standardized parts and subsumed into the rationalized 'wholeness' of production. Although invested in the production of the absurd, animators have not found themselves exempt from the workings of capitalist production and have often turned to unionism as a means to protect their livelihood.

Here is a link to the complete article:

Thank You, Prof Lawrie!