15 November 2007

this land is your land, this land is my land...

i was two paragraphs into an eco- friendly xmas gifts post this morning when i started getting a bad taste in my mouth, and here is why: i think that i am experiencing full- on green backlash.

i've always considered myself a pretty green person. as far back as michael stipe's public service announcements on mtv [remember those?] go-- and i was like ten when those started-- i'd like to think that i was at least parenthetically aware and in support of the environmental movement. even through my severely misguided and narcissistic teen years i was the kind of person who would rather put his stubbed- out cigarette butt in his pocket and wait for a trash can than throw it on the ground.

by my early twenties i was a full- blown hippie radical-- christ, does everybody go through that?-- adamantly anti- shoes/ showering and vehementally pro- frisbee/ the wailers. i was a fucking puppy*. and, as night follows day, this was also probably, regrettably, my most agressively didactic green period.

thank god for ok computer. i was about 23 and that album showed me the light and really got me out of the whole hippie thing for good [although i still to this day think the grateful dead were amazing]. my indie rock chapter was in its nascency and it was around this time that i started getting into politics: i set up a table in front of earthfare [a grocery store not unlike whole foods, but smaller] and fruitlessly collected signatures trying to get ralph nader on the georgia ballot. i spearheaded a recycling effort at the five points jittery joe's [me and one other person took turns daily taking all the empty milk jugs, creamer containers, coke bottles etc. in a grocery cart to earthfare's big recycling bin]. i wrote pete mccommons, the editor of the flagpole, a letter describing my efforts and why was earthfare the only business in five points that recycled? i was a green god. i was going to save the planet.

okay, so i was still a bit of a puppy. but hey i'm thirty years old now and i'm still a bit of a puppy. i'd like to think that my sunny optimism and naivete constitute some of my best and most defining characteristics, and that on most days they trump the hell out of snarky cynicism**, or worse, apathy, thank you very much.

sadly, my late- twenties were more or less defined by my single- minded, self- destructive wish to be keith richards, even through the early stages of my relationship with my future wife***. still my commitment to environmentalism ["the force is strong in this one"] never waivered. and i didn't really care about anything during this time.

fast- forward to today and the modern environmental movement is bigger and more prevalent than ever before. i mean it's fucking everywhere. and, of course, i realize that at the end of the day that's a great thing. but to me, it's almost like that band that you really liked that nobody knew about puts out a catchy single and suddenly you're hearing the muzak version of it in the waiting room of your dentist's office [talking to you, modest mouse's 'float on'. the new album is awesome, though, guys. way to get me back].

basically my fatigue has a color... and that color is green. such is my distaste for the mainstream. that being said, i am tickled pink that vice president gore won a nobel prize and that the mass consciousness surrounding global warming is at least as pervasive [i hope] in our culture as, say, perez hilton and the biggest loser.

i guess the moral of the story is be careful what you wish for. because the environmental sea change needed in this country needs to be on an oprah winfrey/ american idol- type scale, and by then i'll really be fucking sick of it.

have a great day, and thanks, as always, for sharing your time with me.


*coincidentally, it was during this period of time that i actually got a puppy. i still consider it one of my biggest regrets, as i'd never had a dog growing up and consequently had no idea what to do with him upon bringing him home from the vet. the myopic and haphazard manner with which he was raised produced pretty nervous and undisciplined results that just got more and more difficult to deal with over time. that being said, he was a great dog. hodges, wherever you are, you were the best. i wish i would have done better by you, boy.

**jon stewart, the most genius satirist of our time [alongside stephen colbert], does that just fine.

***i love you, honey.

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