Saturday, May 23, 2009

Hi, I'm back

I was just going to write this long, very eloquent thing and dump it in the Cast On drop (this is like e-mailing it to Brenda but other people can see it). Then I was like, that is silly. I have a blog. I shall therefore post a version of this eloquent thing here, in order to participate in a community and also to get credit for my personal eloquence.

I just watched The Story of Stuff for the first time. I think it's a good summary of my personal environmental beliefs, and why I personally am taking Brenda's current theme, make Do and Mend, very seriously. While the video itself doesn't really talk about making do and mending, it does talk about the incredible amount of waste that we produce today, and the costs that are externalized from buying too-cheap goods.

I actually had first heard about this video from my local newspaper, which had a syndicated version of this New York Times story about the use of "The Story of Stuff" in classrooms. What really stuck in my craw was the way in which this video was portrayed as being political propoganda, even by the authorial voice.
The video certainly makes the facts stark and at times very political: “We’ll start with extraction, which is a fancy word for natural resource exploitation, which is a fancy word for trashing the planet,” she says at one point. “What this looks like is we chop down the trees, we blow up mountains to get the metals inside, we use up all the water and we wipe out the animals.”

What's the non-political way to describe this? "We extract the resources"? It really sticks in my craw the way that the right in America (as well as the main-stream media) has such a monopoly on "apolitical" language. Also how much more mainstream right-wing crazies are than left-wing crazies, but that's a whole 'nother rant.

One parent actually succeeded in getting his local school board to ban this video from local classrooms, on the grounds that “There was not one positive thing about capitalism in the whole thing.” Well, that's kind of the point. We are immersed in an environment that points out the good things about capitalism. Plenty of school textbooks (in America, at least, these are often total crap) talk about capitalism and how it's so amazing and gives us all jobs and cheap consumer goods, but is anyone going in front of school boards to protest this? Well, maybe. But teachers ought to have the right to bring in other materials that point out the dark underbelly of capitalism, as well as any other viewpoint that they believe is missing from the standard instructional materials.

In other news: I'm learning to embroider!

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