Essay Oil

First, try refreshing the page and clicking Current Location again. Make sure you click Allow or Grant Permissions if your browser asks for your location. If your browser doesn't ask you, try these steps:

  1. At the top of your Chrome window, near the web address, click the green lock labeled Secure.
  2. In the window that pops up, make sure Location is set to Ask or Allow.
  3. You're good to go! Reload this Yelp page and try your search again.

If you're still having trouble, check out Google's support page. You can also search near a city, place, or address instead.

  1. At the top of your Opera window, near the web address, you should see a gray location pin. Click it.
  2. In the window that pops up, click Clear This Setting
  3. You're good to go! Reload this Yelp page and try your search again.

If you're still having trouble, check out Opera's support page. You can also search near a city, place, or address instead.

  1. Click Safari in the Menu Bar at the top of the screen, then Preferences.
  2. Click the Privacy tab.
  3. Under Website use of location services, click Prompt for each website once each day or Prompt for each website one time only.
  4. MacOS may now prompt you to enable Location Services. If it does, follow its instructions to enable Location Services for Safari.
  5. Close the Privacy menu and refresh the page. Try using Current Location search again. If it works, great! If not, read on for more instructions.
  6. Back in the Privacy dialog, Click Manage Website Data... and type yelp.com into the search bar.
  7. Click the yelp.com entry and click Remove.
  8. You're good to go! Close the Settings tab, reload this Yelp page, and try your search again.

If you're still having trouble, check out Safari's support page. You can also search near a city, place, or address instead.

  1. At the top of your Firefox window, to the left of the web address, you should see a green lock. Click it.
  2. In the window that pops up, you should see Blocked or Blocked Temporarily next to Access Your Location. Click the x next to this line.
  3. You're good to go! Refresh this Yelp page and try your search again.

If you're still having trouble, check out Firefox's support page. You can also search near a city, place, or address instead.

  1. Click the gear in the upper-right hand corner of the window, then Internet options.
  2. Click the Privacy tab in the new window that just appeared.
  3. Uncheck the box labeled Never allow websites to request your physical location if it's already checked.
  4. Click the button labeled Clear Sites.
  5. You're good to go! Click OK, then refresh this Yelp page and try your search again.

You can also search near a city, place, or address instead.

  1. At the top-right hand corner of the window, click the button with three dots on it, then Settings.
  2. Click Choose what to clear underneath Clear browsing data.
  3. Click Show more, then make sure only the box labeled Location permissions is checked.
  4. Click Clear.
  5. You're good to go! Refresh this Yelp page and try your search again.

You can also search near a city, place, or address instead.

Oops! We don't recognize the web browser you're currently using. Try checking the browser's help menu, or searching the Web for instructions to turn on HTML5 Geolocation for your browser. You can also search near a city, place, or address instead.

Something broke and we're not sure what. Try again later, or search near a city, place, or address instead.
We couldn't find you quickly enough! Try again later, or search near a city, place, or address instead.
We couldn't find an accurate position. If you're using a laptop or tablet, try moving it somewhere else and give it another go. Or, search near a city, place, or address instead.

The best moments in Paul Thomas Anderson’s film “There Will Be Blood” and in “Oil!,” the 1927 novel by Upton Sinclair on which it is loosely based, are identical. They depict the fiery immolation of an oil rig. “There was a tower of flame,” Sinclair writes, “and the most amazing spectacle — the burning oil would hit the ground, and bounce up, and explode, and leap again and fall again, and great red masses of flame would unfold, and burst, and yield black masses of smoke, and these in turn red. Mountains of smoke rose to the sky, and mountains of flame came seething down to the earth; every jet that struck the ground turned into a volcano, and rose again, higher than before; the whole mass, boiling and bursting, became a river of fire, a lava flood that went streaming down the valley, turning everything it touched into flame, then swallowing it up and hiding the flames in a cloud of smoke.”

Anderson’s magnificent film fire bursts with the same kind of destructive energy — and the fascination with the hard, gritty detail of social and industrial processes — that marked Sinclair’s writing at its best. Indeed, Sinclair was not without big-screen ambitions of his own. He flirted with Hollywood for most of his long life, beginning in 1914 with a six-reel silent movie of his most famous novel, “The Jungle” (1906). After moving to Pasadena in 1916, he made friends with Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and other movie people. Through Chaplin he met Sergei Eisenstein in 1931, and he ended up footing the bill for Eisenstein’s aborted documentary about Mexico. In 1932, an MGM film version of his novel “The Wet Parade” was modestly successful. And in 1967, the year before Sinclair died at the age of 90, Walt Disney released “The Gnome-Mobile,” based on the author’s only children’s book, the story of a brother and sister who band together with some forest gnomes to save a stand of ancient redwoods from a logging company.

But Sinclair, the author of more than 90 books, never made the big movie strike he hoped for. Anderson’s version of his long-forgotten novel, however, has been nominated for eight Academy Awards, including best picture and best adapted screenplay. What is there about “Oil!” that has made it, by proxy, such a gusher?

Like most of Sinclair’s books, “Oil!” was larger than life in subject and in theme. Set during the early Southern California oil boom and encompassing World War I, the Red Scare, the Teapot Dome scandal and the rise of the evangelical movement, it’s about an oil baron who rips wealth from the earth, drives other men to do his will, fights off competitors and builds an empire through vision, courage, ruthlessness and the general greasing of palms.

The story of J. Arnold Ross, called “Dad,” is told through the eyes of his loving but increasingly skeptical son, nicknamed Bunny; in fact, “Oil!” is more Bunny’s story than Dad’s. Following what for Sinclair was a familiar (and partly autobiographical) plot, the novel describes how a naïve, idealistic youth, born to privilege, becomes converted by degrees to a position of radical socialism. That transformation begins when Dad buys a remote Southern California ranch, where he will later strike oil, at a distress-sale price. Mr. Watkins, the owner, is a dimwitted religious fanatic with two sons, Paul and Eli. Paul, the older boy, rejects his father’s religious views in favor of social activism. Honest and direct, Paul becomes a carpenter, working for Dad even as he becomes Bunny’s friendly tutor and guide in the ways of social justice. Eli, by contrast, is sick in body and mind, an epileptic who claims to have religious visions and the power of healing. Modeled after the famous evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson, Eli is cunning, devious and ambitious, a gifted misuser of words that mislead and delude those who heed them.

While Bunny attends school in “Angel City” (Los Angeles) and Eli builds his church, Paul continues to work for Dad until America enters the war in Europe. Drafted into the Army and sent at the end of the war to fight the Bolsheviks in Russia, Paul is outraged and radicalized by what he experiences there. He joins the Communist Party of America upon his return home and becomes a labor union organizer in the California oil fields. As a former working man, Dad is unusually solicitous of his employees, but the more powerful oilmen in the region pressure him to resist Paul’s union efforts. In the end, Paul is murdered by a right-wing mob, and Dad, who is not involved, dies of pneumonia (in reality, a broken heart), ruined by the oil cabal. “Oil!” closes with Bunny’s sad realization that an “evil Power” “roams the earth, crippling the bodies of men and women, and luring the nations to destruction by visions of unearned wealth, and the opportunity to enslave and exploit labor.”

Continue reading the main story

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *