Sunday, October 10, 2010

I'm Confused

I hate to be a big complainer, I really do, but this is bugging me. Lately there have been a lot of street party events in my neighborhood and neighboring hoods and they seem to all be nothing but yet another opportunity to shop and eat. Am I the only person this doesn't appeal to? And not that there aren't plenty of other things going on, there certainly are many. I'm just dumbfounded as to how shopping and eating have become such major attractions that people will turn out in droves and even sometimes pay entry fees in order to have a chance to buy stuff and eat. I kind of get the whole food truck phenomenon as the availability is so limited. It's not a restaurant that you can eat at any time the whim strikes so if you like their food you've got to keep track of where they're going to be and be ready to show up. I'm not too into it myself as most of them don't cater (ha-ha, I know, it works on two levels) to vegetarians. And those that do are either greasy (all about melted cheese which I totally love) or are deserts (which I also totally love) and to me those things are a treat, not to be consumed on an as available basis -if that were the case I'd live on grilled cheese, waffles and doughnuts. So the food thing aside, because I kind of get it even though I still think the obsession level is way out of proportion. Anyway, the food thing aside. These "street party's", or whatever they're usually called, where you go and there are a bunch of vendors set up. Now, again, I get that a lot of these are featuring independent crafts-peoples' wares and that they may not be available in stores or even online, sometimes. But really, when did shopping become the main event for Americans? Don't we already have enough opportunities to spend money? Aren't we in need of learning to outgrow consumption and possession? It's like the backlash of the green movement. Oh, and anyone who's trying to sell anything these days will try their best to make it recycled, upcycled, renewable, biodegradable, etc. Here's a thought: do we really need any of that stuff? Do we even want it? Aren't we in the middle of a recession brought on by outrageous overindulgence, being brainwashed into believing that our self worth is a reflection of our possessions and corporations allowing us to believe that we can all "live large" on credit?
Did anyone else see No Impact Man? It was awesome. Bizarre, but awesome. I like how cool his wife is when he's washing clothes in the tub and telling her about how he's going to make shampoo for them. I seriously thought she was going to lose it but she held it together. Really though, it was great to see them become so conscious of what they were doing. Yes, it was way over the top and the compost bin in the kitchen was a really bad idea and I'm really impressed they didn't end up getting divorced because of the project. But by the end of it they had realized a lot of alternatives to their previous lifestyle that were really very practical and seemed to actually improve their quality of life. And one of the big messages in the whole thing was to be aware of consumption. How much you buy, what you buy and why. So why do I feel like there's a bigger push than ever to keep people buying stuff? Keep buying!!! We can't seem to think of any other way to make this work! We're trying so hard to make it sound like a good idea: it's green, it's local, it's organic, it's independent, it's reused and most importantly it's for SALE!

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