As you’ve probably surmised, today is a day for me to post a bunch of stuff I have been holding onto. Here is another link, to The Story of Stuff, with Annie Leonard. It’s 20 minutes long, but I think it’s a very good reminder… especially if you’re feeling a little down and want to cure that with “Retail Therapy”!
I was particularly interested in some of the quotes about “planned obsolescence.” I also had to ruefully smile when Annie points out that, after 9/11, the President could have asked us to grieve, to be compassionate, to come together… instead, what he told us to do was Shop. (True!)
I’m not particularly political, but I do have a strong feeling that we’re getting to that Al-Gore-Nobel-Peace-Prize “point of no return” when it comes to our resources. This should lead to a change in priorities… and to having a good, long look at our lifestyle. One of the things that Annie points out is that the two biggest leisure activities in the U.S. are watching TV, and shopping. And if you’re watching TV, you’re getting exposed to commercials, which are basically telling you that “You Suck” (her words, not mine) and that you need to buy their products, to “Not Suck.” So you go to work, or maybe work two jobs, to buy the Stuff that the advertisements say will make you Not Suck, and then you’re so exhausted when you get home, all you can do is watch TV… when tells you that You Suck (dot dot dot)
I was also very interested that the whole “planned obsolescence”/concentration on Consumerism thing started in the 1950s — which was the “peak” of our Happiness Graph as a society (it’s fallen since that time). Gee, maybe because instead of using stuff until we’re done with it, having extra time to spend with our families, etc. we are being bombarded with advertising that says We Suck, news that says The World Sucks, and feeling that the only way for it all to be fixed is — surprise! — to buy more!
Have a look — I think it would be great to watch this with the kids, too, and be ready for some hard questions from THEM, about how YOUR household fits into this mix.