I’m not cheap, I’m freegan

June 22, 2007

Not quite, but reading this NYT piece is probably a little dangerous for me considering my current disillusionment with living in the real world and possible susceptibility to kooky lifestyles that sound like great material for a novel but a horrible way to raise children. I don’t think freeganism is in my immediate future, but some of less dogmatic people in this article are saying things that I’ve been thinking for a while now. Namely, every single time I think about the state of my mother’s basement and attic, filled to the gills with crap we haven’t looked at in years. An interesting exercise might be to keep only what we could remember having put there. I think that would get rid of over 90% of it. Anyway, after reading this article, I can see that there is bound to be some hypocrisy in living off the scraps of global capitalism in order to reject it, but that doesn’t necessarily invalidate the critique: the developed world lives beholden to an often counterintuitive, destructive system that deems usable food in the trash can as progress. That said, why do so many funky movements still inevitably seem to come with hardcore dogma attached? Why do there need to be internal conflicts and more freegan than thou attitudes? Isn’t it enough to set an example, educate yourself and in turn others, and encourage everyone to begin adopting whatever measures of conservation and personal economy that they can? Maybe this impression is just some of the reporting in the piece (which talks about “true” freegans doing this and that” and not so much a reality on the ground), but haven’t we all known some mean anarcho-punks in our time? Okay, not many, and I’d still rather hang with one of them than a nice Republican most days, but I’m so thoroughly converted to the Maxine Hong Kingston school of peace and social justice that I get a little weary when I see a potentially awesome idea getting bogged down in dogma. But, as MHK would say, ideas have their own power and can take care of themselves, and I’m considering changing the tagline of my blog, nay, my life, to the title of the afore linked-to article, Not Buying It.

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