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[GreenYes] Re: message from David Biddle

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.
Gracestone, Inc.
Boulder, CO

David Biddle wrote:
Re: [GreenYes] Re: 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

215-247-3090 (desk)
215-432-8225 (cell)


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