Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Drawing the Line

I read that the Sex in the City movie is no good, although I was unlikely to see it, anyway, seeing as I'm in Africa. The writer said she couldn't believe how materialistic and self-centered the characters are.

It's true, they are. But I kind of liked them, the few shows I'd seen. I also like(d) Project Runway for my three months in DC. It was interesting. I love art, and clothes can be art, they can be fun and must we sacrifice all aspects of materialism in order to be good people? (Yes, I wrote that with a whiney voice in my head. I feel sad about it because I know the true answer might be ... yes. Yes, you must.)

In Sex and the City, there was a scene where SJP went to a party where they made everyone take off their shoes (because they'd had a baby, so, because of germs), and then SJP's $2,000 shoes were stolen. The hostess said she wouldn't give her $2K to replace them -- that was a ridiculous price for shoes -- she'd give her $500. This interests me. If you admit culpability (which she did by offering to pay for them, so just to carry on with that premise), can you pass judgment on what is a valid price for shoes? Some people might think $100 is too much, some people I know think $300 is reasonable. Two thousand, I dunno. Hard not to judge that.

The other part of the thought, though, just to follow this through, is that we all draw the line in different places, and that goes for everything, and that judgments are interesting but really never work. I, for example, just visited a man who kept his gigantuan freezer running in his garage and when I looked in it ... it was ENTIRELY empty. Bereft even of a grain of sand. (And the government pays his electric bill.) So I thought, how can he not realize what a waste of money and energy that is?! But then, there are other people who buy all their clothing used and get their food from garbage bins (not that there is no step in the conservation gradient between me and people who only eat other people's garbage) (do you know about those people? They're called ... I can't remember what they're called. But they bank on the fact that we waste perfectly good food every day, and they're happy to fish it out of dumpsters and eat it to save the earth, I saw an article about it a last year), and anyway ... those people might judge ME for not buying into their ideas of Reasonable Sacrifice. Even though, it's true, I don't do everything I can. But I live near the line I've drawn. And so, probably, somehow, does that freezer fellow. And he might have HIS judgments about other people who drive stupidly big cars or something. (Although he drives a Pajero. Very large.) I love to judge (I mean, I would hope that I don't, but I seem to do it a lot, so I must like it), and it's always a bad idea and never works and I personally should just stick with doing what I can and not worrying about what anyone else is doing.

But that's just not ever how it goes.

Eric heard a woman on this talk show, called Mocha Mammas or something, talking about disposable v. cloth diapers. One woman said, "I used cloth diapers for my first three children, and then for the fourth and fifth I was just too tired and went to disposables." Well, way to save the earth!! Hello! Because, see, I think that if you have five biological children, you've already blown your environmental wad. You would have to wear clothing made of cornstarch and never, ever poop and you still could not undo the strain that your five new humans have put on our resources and on our earth. If one is inclined to save the earth, one really good option is to have fewer children. Overpopulation is a giant, big problem and it is the second reason we personally adopted. (The first being that there are children without mothers and fathers, and that this makes sense.) (Not that anyone's asked.)

Ultimately, it seems like some people take too large a share of what we all have (they drive stupid-big cars, live in castles, have many, many children) and then other people find themselves eating out of dumpsters to make up for them. If we'd all just be reasonable, we could all just LIVE reasonably.

But where to draw the line?


Danni and Tommy said...

I love this post! I think I've had every thought you just put down- of course you said it much better than I could have.

losiloni said...

When reading this I feel thoroughly abashed... I debate with myself (sometimes aloud) about whether or not I am relenting to consumerism...

BTW, I am enjoying reading your blog and views on life.

Katy said...

I love this post too. Although, sometimes I am of the "there could be enough food to feed the world, people just don't know how to share" camp. And I think people learn to share in families. As you know, I struggle with these issues too.