Posts Tagged ‘consumerism’

“This is the age of hybrids. It isn’t just the cars — we the drivers are hybrids, too.

March 12, 2009

“Our bodies used to be all flesh, but now we are wired to iPods, GPS devices and the Internet. The hybrids we drive are the hybrids we are, and it took the whole of the 20th century to mainstream the idea. The United States was always a nation of hybrids: Immigrants mixed here to make a new kind of people — a hybrid people called Americans. The 20th century, the “American century,” was the huge rush of euphoria that came from the mixing of so many differences. This was the reality, but acknowledging it was something else: Not until the 1970s did we allow the possibility that we could accept our roots and also be Americans. The age of the hyphen was upon us: We became African-Americans, Italian-Americans, Mexican-Americans and so on. Even Native Americans, while not hyphenated, were prefixed by “Native” to distinguish them from the Anglo-Saxons who insisted that they were just “Americans.” Hybrid reality preceded the hyphen in places like New Orleans, where mixed-race Creoles created jazz, that most American of all arts. At the beginning of the 20th century, artists started making hybrids, and they haven’t stopped since. Collage mixed paint and newspapers, assemblage assembled diverse materials, sculptors combined steel and foam, soft and hard, rock and water. What artists did was to rid us of the pernicious notions of “purity” circulated for centuries by overanesthetized and frustrated ideologues. Artists made obvious what everyone knows: There isn’t a single human being or any living thing that isn’t a combination of things. There are no pure races, there are no pure nations or tribes, and there are no clear lines of descent from the gods, who are themselves nothing but hybrids. Zeus even messed with animals, and the mono-God is composed of earlier gods like a psychedelic quilt. The human urge to claim some kind of purity is a curious feature of our hybrid natures, but it’s a dead end. Ideas of race purity lead to genocide. Setting apart one’s tribe or nation ends inevitably in war. Monopolizing the engine of a moving vehicle to burn only petroleum leads to disaster. All monopolies of vision that claim to be unhybridized are doomed to a tragic end. Happily, we’ve accepted first the hyphen, then the idea that we have more in common than what separates us. And now we have a hybrid, black and white leader, ready to drive the hybrid Americans of the 21st century to new sources of energy. Say it out loud: I’m hybrid and I’m proud.”

From Andrei Codrescu on NPR. Hear the podcast here:


Trash to cash…turning discarded plastic bags into new bags in Ghana

March 4, 2009

People get money for collecting bags that litter the streets in Accra in Ghana, which are then sewn into handbags by Trashy Bags and sold. Everyone’s a winner baby.



more portraits of american mass consumption

February 27, 2009

Cell phone chargers, Atlanta 2004 (44×66″)


portraits of mass consumption

February 26, 2009

Cell Phones #2, Atlanta 2005 (40×90″)


Photograph by Chris Jordan

useless table

February 4, 2009

A table made from used magazines


When waste looks beautiful…

January 29, 2009

Photographs by Edward Burtynsky of tires waiting to be sorted for recycling in Westley, California.


50 ways to be useless…

January 19, 2009

I thought these were good tips for helping the planet

Flooring made from belts. Watch those holes…

January 10, 2009

This is flooring made from repurposed leather belts.

image-thumb391It was developed by Ting London and costs about $75 per square foot.

More trash talk….

January 9, 2009

Take a look at this living map of trash being swept around the Pacific Ocean causing a build up or island of trash, called the North Pacific Gyre, now the size of Texas. Sucks, huh?

The clean coal joke. Ready? Here’s how it goes…

January 7, 2009


Did you hear the one about the community in Tennessee being swamped by hundreds of acres of coal sludge just before Christmas? It’s a good one. Here’s how it goes. On Dec 22 residents living near the TVA Kingston coal plant were flooded by over a billion gallons of dirty coal waste that covered over 400 acres and flooded tributaries of the Tennessee River, polluting the water for millions of people living in three states that rely on it as a water supply. Funny, right? But, wait there’s more. The spill is 40 times bigger than the Exxon Valdez distaster in Alaska, yet most people never heard of it including me.

And I thought there was such a thing as “clean coal” that was good for the environment. That’s what the ads paid for by the coal industry say anyway. Huh.