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Now I’m aware that it’s not that easy to resist scams like this, even when they’ve been run on us before and there is good evidence to belie premise on which they’re based. Being mortal, knowing that—at any time and in any number of ways—the most terrible thing that can happen is definitely going to happen, we are obliged to grant at least possibility of substance to all but most patently ridiculous warnings of an impending catastrophe. (And, having been handed at birth a sentence reserved for worst of crimes, we’re not only primed to accept blame for catastrophes, but more than ready to suffer a little redemptive inconvenience as well.)
Still—Jesus!—as difficult as it may be to defend against our innate susceptibility to manipulation, we could make a better effort. At very minimum we could reduce frequency with which we’re victimized by keeping batteries fresh in our bullshit detectors and never forgetting that, more often than not, “emergencies” we’re presented with have an agenda behind them.
Recycling, for example, isn’t about saving planet. (And no, it’s not even about making money for somebody—not really.) It’s about winning personal salvation (indeed, recycling) of limited and earnest types who proposed and continue to insist on it. These people are coming from secret hope that if they suck up to nature by not wasting any of it, nature will return favor and arrange to perpetuate their existence in some other package once their current status expires.
Well I, for one, don’t appreciate it when people conscript me into service of their personal immortality projects, especially when they masquerade as humanitarians.
It’s not that I would, for a minute, begrudge them such a reward. But given its size I think they should be forced to earn it on their own, with no assistance from rest of us. I can’t speak for nature, of course, but if they stopped by my place a couple of times a week to do their sorting/rinsing thing that would certainly impress ME.
I didn’t say anything about them coming into house. Along with trash, I’ll leave my garden hose unraveled behind shed. They’re more than welcome to go back there and rinse anything it pleases them to rinse.
Robert Levin is a former contributor to The Village Voice and Rolling Stone and the coauthor and coeditor, respectively, of two collections of essays about rock and jazz in the '60s: "Music & Politics" and "Giants of Black Music."