Yesterday I bought a fifth of gin, a bag of Doritos, a six pack of blood orange sparkling water, and a package of dishwasher soap tablets. We were running low so I stopped by the local Vons. As I swiped my card and entered my numbers, I noticed that there were shopping bags for sale. If you live in a less politically correct district than I, let me explain. The moms in our community have been convinced that neither paper or plastic shopping bags are environmentally friendly enough. The truly sustainable solution is to not use anything disposable. In this matter they are correct. It is a solution that scales.
The proper shopping bags are generally made of canvas and can hold heavier items. Most moms have a couple. I'm sure that we have at least four. But what really caught my eye on this two dollar item was its baby blue color and its slogan written in Chancery Script with nice curly underlines and glittery stars. "From a Wish to a Cure". I was given to know that if I purchased this particular bag, I would be contributing to fund cancer research.
What immidiately flew to mind was the enormous break in logic, but the absolute symmetry in rationale. How do you save the environment? Well, if everybody buys a bag instead of sending disposable bags to the dump... How do you cure cancer? Well, if everybody buys a bag instead of sending disposable bags to the dump...
I encounter this kind of consumerism all the time. It annoys me dispropotionately, and I always get so angry about it that I cannot give it a decent name so that I can refer back to it when I see another example. I suppose I should call it the Wishful Thinking Economy. But that's so broad...
I told my daughter yesterday that she should apply to colleges that weigh essays heavily. It's because she's a very good writer and a lousy test taker. She used to be bad at math, but now loves algebra because she's now very good at picking out the duplicity and inconcistency of her social studies classes. When exactly did History become Social Studies anyway? My longer lesson was that I wanted her to understand what I understand, which is that picking an alternative lifestyle does not change the shape of the world, you just get expert at dodging the real world. Math always exists, reductionary tests always exist. Dodge the scantrons today, but know they lurk.
You know the cliche. "Nobody" uses algebra in the real world. Yeah, nobody in the unemployment lines. These days, there are adverts for jobs that pay 80,000 for two years experience programming Java. Something you can learn in two years. Or at least it seems that way to me, if you've decided not to court the alternative lifestyle.
So there are two kinds of people in the world. Those who seek the alternative lifestyle where you don't have to learn whatever it is you didn't get the first time around in high school, like science or History or PE, and then there are those who capitalize on your ignorance by giving you 'solutions' to buy at Vons.
It turns out that Chrysler, back in the mid 50s, perfected the gas turbine engine. Jay Leno has one of the 6 remaining. There were several dozen prototypes that the company ordered destroyed. According to the author I saw on one of the many videos I watched yesterday, it was the oil embargo and new CAFE standards that killed the program.
So we had a smogless vehicle 40 years before the Prius, made in America.