Friday, October 24, 2014

If You Care

Denial and self-delusion are powerful tools, and they work like nobody's business when you're pretending to save the planet. My carbon footprint is probably bigger than Sasquatch's, but convincing myself otherwise has never been easier, and boy am I grateful for that. I just know that when I chuck my eight zillionth half-rinsed can of Diet Pepsi into the recycling, a new tree sprouts in the Amazon. And I'm sure that when I buy the supermarket brand of organic milk (instead of the kind with hormones), a cow gets three more square inches of room in its pen and Paige will start puberty at 9 instead of 8. Yes, all this makes me feel much better about the fact that my grandchildren will be trading oxygen futures on a dystopian commodities market and downtown Miami will be a hot new scuba destination for wreck divers. 

But there's one line of green products that's calling bullshit on all of it: the brand "If You Care" (pictured below), which makes kitchen and household goods. You gotta give props to a company with the balls to tell its consumers to fuck off by its name alone. They might as well call themselves "If You Don't Buy This You're an Epic Asshole." Turns out playing hard to get is a great marketing strategy, both in love AND in retail. 

Nothing, though, lays down the guilt trip quite like the Heifer International catalog (also pictured below). Heifer International is the self-proclaimed "most important gift catalog in the world," and its contents play to First World denial and self-delusion at near perfect pitch. Just in time for the holidays, Heifer International encourages you to order seeds, trees, and livestock for impoverished families throughout the developing world. You can also make a grandiose gesture by paying $5,000 for something called the "ark" package: among other things, the "ark" includes two schools of fish, three goats, four cows, six pigs, and a few saplings that are allegedly distributed to communities in a variety of countries. 

I say allegedly, because of course you have no idea if what you're buying actually exists, much less goes where it's supposed to. Enter denial and self-delusion. Just look at that glossy photograph of a smiling young boy in Burkina Faso hugging a goat in front of his family's grass hut. That could be you! YOU could be the one to give this kid another goat and then you will feel SO much better about having just bought yourself the iPhone 6 and a new Patagonia puffy vest. Just pretend like you're sending a deconstructed Omaha Steaks or Harry and David gift basket. It's very farm-to-table, when you think about it. 

So while you're online crossing off items on your master list of consumerist holiday crap, just click on over to Heifer International and drop a pig or a goat in your online shopping cart. Won't it make you feel SO much better about yourself? You know it will. IF you care, that is. Come on. It's the least you can do. Literally.

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