In the halcyon days of 1638, when the first printing press was shipped to the US, the colonists imagined that the ability to communicate with many people simultaneously would do massive amounts of good for the new world. I feel I shared that sense of limitless joy last week while reading the NY Times. It was there on page one that I discovered something buried within me, needing to be labeled. For years, I had been carving out my identity as an over-educated artist/DJ/black sheep of the family/potential Buddhist/educator/gluten-free/bohemian. That all came crashing to the floor when I recognized myself, as an 'EcoMom'!
Not only was I apparently in denial, but alas, I was doing it on my own. Thankfully, the printed word hipped me to the many groups I could be part of, that could offer me support in this rough transitional moment. Of course, you can see my unbridled joy at this important discovery. What was I doing swapping out vinegar mixed with water as a window cleaner, when I could be in a chat group trading quips about my kitchen smelling like fish and chips, but with very clean windows? According to the article over 9,000 women have committed themselves to an organization that encourages them to unplug appliances when not in use, and to cut back on the amount of waste they generate by using washable containers for their kids' lunches, instead of plastic bags. Great! Except, why do we need to be working toward a merit badge and do this in a group? What ever happened to the pioneer spirit? I fear it is cloaked in we-are-all carrying-the-same-cloth-totebag consumerism
I can't find fault with many of the wonderful ideas that crop up in the latest living room version of Tupperware parties. I use low VOC paints in my house, but this newspaper reporting stinks of a marketing moment gone wild. Lately, many articles I read in the paper of record that don't detail body counts in East Timor, relate a story that suggests the author knows at least 3 people who are doing this miraculous new 'thing' and it needs to be chronicled as a trend. I know we are all still talking about the cultural importance of roller blades, or 'in-line' skates as we now know them to be more impartially called...but what about the substitution of the marketplace for thinking, looking and feeling? Why does 'all the news that is fit to print' not feel the need to discuss the addiction to marketing and shopping that seems to fuel our 21st society? Articles in home design magazines chiding happy readers to go green suggest buying window cleaner made with vinegar, instead of making your own. "Throw away your old wooden chairs" (add to the landfill) "and buy new ones made from recycled soda bottles!"
Woman are the targeted audiences in this green marketing revolution. Artist Martha Rosler skewered the disconnect between domestic reality and world tensions in the 1960's and 70's in her Red Stripe Kitchen photo montage, above, and Semiotics of the Kitchen video work that are still very resonant today.
WFMU includes music made 100 years ago, still sounding as crackly as when it was
first recorded, next to home grown DIY tuba toots, and computer
generated hum. I don't know exactly what we would call it, but we
don't sell it as a marketing trend. When listening to free form, (gulp, no marketing advice taken), listener-supported, WFMU you never know if the next song is going to be recycled, reconstituted, mashed up, or environmentally sound...Pledge to this uncategorizable lifestyle, my dear free formers, and think of how much vinyl we are keeping out of the landfill with your heavily recycled dollars.