Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Chicken in Every Pot

Freegans rummage through garbage for food. Such scavenging might be expected in a scene from Preston Sturges’s Depression era masterpiece Sullivan’s Travels, in which a film director intent on making a movie about real life descends a little farther into the great melting pot than he had meant to and almost succeeds in getting his goose cooked.

Freeganism—a neologism created from the words “free” and “vegan”—emerged in the prosperous, go-go years of the ‘80s and ‘90s, when food was so plentiful that stock market profiteers and hedge fund managers regularly tossed it over their hedges. The desire to save, recycle and prevent waste came amidst the kind of prosperity in which waste was looked on as a form of social elevation, and the pragmatic values upon which America’s particular brand of capitalism was based were openly flaunted in favor of a more magical notion of entitlement.

There may have been a thousand years of Rome, but the American Empire now looks like a wobbling giant, a Gulliver pierced with arrows by hordes of Lilliputians, ready to be tied up like a roast. Now, Freeganism has turned from philosophy to survival tactic. Indeed, prosperity seems far away in these times of recessive inflation. The paralysis of our banking system calls up memories of the Weimar Republic. The shadow of death haunting the urban population in Fritz Lang’s expressionist masterpiece, M, mirrors the dread of an anemic culture.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! You're in a great mood!! And I thought I was pessimistic


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