pinkterton

Pinkerton Analysis

I had some free time in an elevated mindset the other day and ended up listening to Weezer’s Pinkteron and analyzing the shit out of it before I fell asleep. I’ve read a little about the album and have thought about it in pieces before, but nothing on this scale. I’m posting it here because honestly it would be really weird anywhere else on the internet. 

One of the things I really love about this album is that there are so many interpretations. It’s one of those few albums that can speak to people and mean different things in almost any stage of life (kinda like a musical “Catcher in the Rye” I guess).

I divided the story/album up the different girls that Rivers sings about throughout Pinkerton. Based on the back story of how this was recorded I’m assuming it’s more autobiographical than the Blue Album and that the narrator is Rivers.

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On July 1, 1892 the HOMESTEAD, Pa., steel strike against Andrew Carnegie begins. Seven strikers and three Pinkertons were eventually killed as Andrew Carnegie hires armed thugs to protect strikebreakers in an effort to smash the union. Carnegie built a fort around the factory and refused to recognize the union in the mill, forcing the summertime showdown. And, then he took off for his castle in Scotland to leave Henry Clay Frick in charge of the fallout! (Image of state militia arriving in Homestead to attempt to crush the strike!)

On June 29, despite the union’s willingness to negotiate, Frick closed the mill and locked out 3,800 men. Two days later, workers seized the mill and sealed off the town from strike-breakers. Frick summoned a private police force, the Pinkerton Detective Agency, to protect the non-union workers he planned to hire. 

300 Pinkerton Detectives came ashore at the Homestead mill on July 6, 1892 and were greeted by well-armed locked-out steelworkers. A hail of stones, then bullets, ripped the air. The confrontation between nation’s largest steelmaker and its largest craft union - -the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers - - dragged on through the summer and in to the winter. 

The union fought for better wages and a say in America’s new industrial order. Carnegie and Frick, had already brought several unions to heel at their other mills, but not Homestead. Although Carnegie would later try to distance himself from the events at Homestead, his cables to Frick were clear: Do whatever it takes. Frick dug in for war.

In mid-November, with families suffering hunger and evictions underway, workers starting trying to go back to the mill. 300 locked-out men applied for work and were rehired. Many more were blacklisted. “Life worth living again!” Carnegie cabled Frick. “First happy morning since July.” With the union crushed, Carnegie slashed wages, imposed twelve-hour workdays, and eliminated 500 jobs. Ut would take well into the 1930s for the steel industry to be organized.

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Weezer - El Scorcho