Thursday, March 26, 2009

Disposables

KenMac creates this cool Greenwich Village Daily Photo blog with – umm, daily photos of Greenwich Village. And, beyond! He clicks what he sees, what moves him, what he provides for your own movement. Check him out.

Frequently, he decries the loss of the old architecture, the buildings with character fallen before the encroachment of what he calls soulless “condo-strocities". Not to mention the chic-shoppes and Club-O-Matics. Why maintain something grown from a life when the corporations cradle us. They are the new landed estates, sworn to support us mind and soul (Lords and Ladies, Dance your Boards!)

Today, Ken posted photos of ‘ruins’ (his descriptive): building with crackling, crumbling paint; with graffiti that says everything without appearing to say anything; with such beautiful workmanship of plaster, glass and metal that I wonder when we stopped thinking it worthwhile to do something beautifully when we had to do something at all.

Those photos naturally made me think of all the worthwhile things we toss in pursuit of the new, the better, the young, the more. The More. That’s it, isn’t it? In our souls, we are children, and, like Oliver, we want more. Saturday morning TV was created by geniuses familiar with the human mind. What better gig than to give the new to the ones starved for it? What better purse than the bottomless one constantly filled by the coin of insatiable consumers perpetually driven to chase about for the next thing?

It does not even have to be the next great thing. We disengaged ourselves from the pursuit of things like quality years ago. Good and long-lasting are no longer characteristics we have been trained to expect. New! Fresh! Unexpected! Whatever your neighbor hasn’t yet discovered is a treasure.

So, what have we given up in the pursuit of the fresh? What is disposable?

People? Certainly. We trade-in our friends, our spouses, our children at the first opportunity to upgrade. We now live so long that we don’t know what to do with our parents. We turn over employees like playing cards, while sneering at those sensitive souls who don’t get that it’s just business. We step over the homeless, pity the unemployed, and can’t seem to empathize with anyone who doesn’t look, talk, act, dream like us.

Animals? They have been disposable – well, forever. Don’t be fooled by those willing to drop $15K on a kidney transplant for their Shiba Inu. The shelters are unrelentingly full, and my vet’s assistant cares for 46 cats. Our plains are full of wild mustangs and buffalo, but they are in pens awaiting slaughter. Animals are commodities, no matter how smart, cute, fast, strong, brilliant, or endangered. Is it cynical to view it all as critter marketing now?

Plastic, metal, paper, energy, land, whatever? It’s a bit difficult to take recycling, conservation, sustainable energy drives/policies/pleas seriously when only the most earnest or the most paid can muster up a semblance of enthusiasm or fury.

You have to know, because even children know: When you throw away everything, sooner or later you end up with nothing
.

8 comments:

Lori Skoog said...

Great post Fe. It is so true...and Ken Mac does a great job depicting the New York scene. We live in a dessert first disposable society. Just what do people value today??? The animal situation gives me a stomach ache. I think there are some people who like to have "nothing"....no responsibilities or committments. And there are others who are blind to what is right in front of their eyes....

CoyoteFe said...

Lorelei!
"Dessert-First". What a telling term. A disposable society is the other side of hedonism. Else, how would we make room for all our new stuff, people, buildings, creatures. A nothing life might be easier, but who cares when it is still nothing? Thanks!

mountain.mama said...

Excellent food for thought.

Janie said...

Dessert first is at least part of the reason for our economic crisis. We've bought whatever "stuff" we wanted, whether we needed it or not, and consumerism we couldn't afford drove our society. We fed the corporate greed, and now we all reap the unpleasant whirlwind.
Interesting thoughts, Fe. And, as usual, you've forced me to think, too.

CoyoteFe said...

Mountain Mama -
Thank you! And, thanks for coming back for a visit.

Janie -
It starts to look a bit like a conspiracy, doesn't it? We have all this stuff, and we, the media, and corps drive such hunger for more stuff. And, the stuff is so disposable. We throw away PCs, cars, furniture, clothing, so many things well before their time. My grandmother would be appalled. What to do when the landfills take over? Build floating dumps on the oceans?

San said...

Thanks for pointing the way to what sounds like a great blog. Your own words about it, your thoughts about our throwaway attitude, I read with pleasure.

CoyoteFe said...

San!
Thanks for coming back again! Hope you enjoy TRXTR's blog.

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