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Per an article in the New York Times, Stanley Fish notes "Michel Foucault made a career of observing that modern techniques of regulation are more far-reaching and consequential than the old way of keeping people in line with guns and clubs, especially when they are imposed for your own good and for the good of society. He would have had a field day with recycling and would no doubt have written a book (maybe he did and I missed it while sorting the garbage), entitled, perhaps, 'The Archaeology of Waste.' "

I like recycling but Mr. Fish does really capture how I feel strangled by this movement to ever higher levels of environmental and social purity in so many aspects of everyday life.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 5th, 2008 04:54 pm (UTC)
The problem is that very urgent issues about climate change, deforestation, over-fishing and loss of biodiversity have been co-opted by marketers and advertisers who have led people to believe that they can continue to over-consume and still somehow ameliorate these pressing problems. They can't. So people get led this merry dance about which paper towels to buy, when the real point is not to fucking use them in the first place.

I don't think someone like Mr Fish, can fully appreciate quite how meaningless his complaints are compared with the life of someone who burns plastic off wires in order to recover the copper just so they can make less than $2 a day.
Aug. 5th, 2008 04:58 pm (UTC)
Correction: The real point about paper towels is that they should either be banned or attract a huge levy. If every paper towel you used cost 99 pence, you'd think very, very carefully about how you used them and the _real_ price of using them.
Aug. 6th, 2008 01:59 pm (UTC)
I don't think dissing Mr Fish for living in a first world economy is really relevant to the point he was making.
Aug. 6th, 2008 02:10 pm (UTC)
I am not dissing him for living in a first world economy. I am dissing him for whining about having to take the windows out of envelopes when in the grand scheme of things that is the very smallest, tiniest inconvinience in comparison to what some of the real recycling nightmares that people undertake.

And you know what, we live in a global society. Mr Fish benefits from the exploits and injustices visited on those in a third world economy (fucking paper towels would be a lot more bloody expensive if he didn't) so it's incredibly relevant to slam him for not being able to get worked up about it. Of course he can't get worked up, he's not getting fucked over.
Aug. 5th, 2008 06:12 pm (UTC)
I liked Noam Chomsky's take on how democracy is actually basically an easier way to control people than just using violence. It was amusing and, like this, felt accurate.

Leave them disillusioned enough and call anyone who talks about it paranoid and deluded and you can control many more people for far less investiture of effort!

S- Paranoid and deluded.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )


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