Tyranny of the Downbeat
Salus populi suprema lex.
The people's safety is the highest law. -- Ancient Roman Legal Maxim The Great Unwashed Valley. This is where it ends. Rising up over the Sierra foothills, a helicopter shot, reveals the open blade of the San Joaquin Valley. A jeep runs down a heat-rippled, two-lane blacktop. Inside, the driver dials through the radio, searching for a song to match his mood. He stops. It's a Greek Chorus telling himwhat he's there for, what he already knows.
It's nature's way, It's nature's way. Of telling you, Something's wrong.
-- Spirit, "Nature's Way" My name is Western. I'ma flatlander. I was born here, raised here. Probably die here. I took it for granted. Now I'mtrying to save it. I'ma television reporter. In the myth-making jargon of today's American pop-culture, a "telejournalist." A video gunslinger. A free-lance hired gun. I've been taken on by a well-known filmmaker. He's responsible for some of the biggest money-makers of all time. Movies filled with pure entertainment. Plenty of thrills and fantasy, but little substance. Or so his critics say and he disputes. We've got something more in common than this job. He also grew up here in the Valley. In the same small