Ahh, finally a Rohrschach test for recyclers....|
I wrote the New Yorker and asked them to get Bruce McCall's email or
number - would love to interview him about this - no response yet.
Here's a window into this recycler's brain - my take on it: As the
person in the household who pesters her family with the frequent
refrain "hey, that goes in the __ bin, not the trash" (sound
familiar?), maybe Bruce was saying to a similar housemate or friend,
"fine, you can recycle all you want, and have a clear conscience, but
you will annoy everyone else so much you will really be exiled to an
island all by yourself."
I have heard of marriages ending where one of the big sticking points
was one person devotedly recycled and the other didn't.
David Biddle wrote:
Re: [GreenYes] Re: Cartoonbank.com message from David Biddle
I find it
interesting that those who took the time to think about the New
Yorker cover pretty much saw it as a derogatory statement about
recycling — or at least society’s perception of recycling. When I first
saw it, I just thought it was a great little send up of the notion that
we need to have lots of bins around us to separate all our crap. Then I
thought about it more metaphorically and decided that it is the New
Yorker after all and maybe the island is symbolic of Manhattan with
all its containers everywhere (recycling certainly has returned to The
City, that’s for sure).
Upon further reflection, and feeling really dumb cuz I didn’t pick up
on the tweak by the artist, I’m most inclined now to think of the cover
as a statement about global warming and how in the end we’ve kind of
made recycling work but nothing else that might really mitigate climate
change (which is really true), and that in the final analysis there
will be one person left on the only high ground remaining and he will
have managed to salvage a bunch of bins to keep him company but that is
all since everything else is part of the cause rather than the
solution. Twisted, I know, but that’s what I see.
As an aside to our Radical Zero Waste brethren, note that the artist
depicts a world devoid of waste ... and stuff of any kind for that
matter (except the bins, of course).
Regardless, it’s nice to see recycling getting play of any sort in
popular culture. There was a long period there where we didn’t see or
hear anything about waste related matters as part of this country’s
intellectual dialog (except maybe Penn and Teller’s infamous “Recycling
is Bullshit!”). So maybe we’re back in the game!
All the best,
David Biddle, Executive Director
Greater Philadelphia Commercial Recycling Council
P.O. Box 4037
Philadelphia, PA 19118
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