6

Happy  Miniature Monday to all!

Continuing a theme from a few weeks ago, here are some more miniature pamphlets from Hazeltine & Co., the publishing company created especially to promote Piso’s Cure for Consumption.  These almanacs were published in the 1880′s and 90′s, and were sold as promotional items along with bottles of Piso’s dubious cure, which over the years contained many interesting ingredients such as hashish, morphine, opium and chloroform. Hazeltine was as prolific as it was fraudulent, and these almanacs represent only a fraction of the amount of materials we have from this publisher.  Click here to see our earlier post on a different type of Hazeltine publication.  

Almanacs. Hazeltine & Co., 1883-94.  Approx 2″ x 1.25″. From the Charlotte M. Smith Collection of Miniature Books.

See all our Miniature Monday posts here.

-Laura H.   

We have been duped into moving capitalism’s problems around instead of resolving them, into the foolish notion that buying green is an act of divergence from capitalist exploitation.

Worried about car emissions? Buy Tesla’s Model S. Want to fight water misuse? Take shorter showers. Concerned for underserved children around the world? Use a credit card that supports a NGO. Interested in bettering working conditions for exploited laborers? Look for the “fair trade” stamp at corporate outlet malls.

But by all means, NEVER stop buying.

Identifying the central issue with this behavior, Derrick Jensen explained, “Part of the problem is that we’ve been victims of a campaign of systematic misdirection. Consumer culture and the capitalist mindset have taught us to substitute acts of personal consumption (or enlightenment) for organized political resistance.”

As individuals we should do what we can, but we have to realize that letting corporations frame/limit global issues like environmental responsibility to consumer choice is self-defeating. We need bigger tools than our individual selves. Imagine trying to fill a dump truck using a spoon. That is what we are doing when we decouple the need for organized, community-wide political resistance from our individual ability to partake in generating and sustaining solutions.

8

Intolerable Beauty: Portraits of American Mass Consumption

For his series Intolerable Beauty, photographer Chris Jordan peered into shipping ports and industrial yards around America. Though these sites remain unseen by the majority of the population, they hold the stunningly massive remains of our collective consumption. Jordan’s findings include seemingly boundless troves of cell phones, e-waste, circuit boards, cell phone chargers, cars, spent bullet casings, cigarette butts, and steel shred. Jordan describes the immense scale of our detritus as simultaneously “desolate, macabre, oddly comical and ironic, and even darkly beautiful.” Like Edward Burtynsky’s photographs of our vast industrial landscapes, Jordan’s images portray a staggering complexity that verges on the sublime. The photographs reflect the loss of individual identity that results from actions that occur on such a large scale, but Jordan hopes his work can “serve as portals to a kind of cultural self-inquiry” and inspire people to reestablish a personal stake in issues of energy consumption.

Within this culture wealth is measured by our ability to consume and destroy…

Seeing the insanity of it comes as a direct contradiction to our daily function. We can sample humanity’s dissonance in the acronym GDP (gross domestic product), whereby a tiny phrase serves substitute for the enormity of converting all life into human-serving commodities at a rate of 85 trillion dollars a year (the value of the world economy). To understand that better, a stack of 85 trillion dollar bills would be about 5,768,618 miles high. This is like going to the moon 25 times.

Yet, still, for the most delusional of our species, it’s not enough. The drive to expand, consume, exploit at rates ever escalating is presented within the global market as a zero-sum game. Either our economy must grow, or we will suffer. Either our economy must grow faster than all other economies, or our nation will suffer.

If the rate at which we convert the planet into human consumption slows, we call it a recession — nothing to celebrate, for to us recession represents austerity, loss of jobs, and altogether diminished livelihoods. If the rate at which we convert the planet into human consumption reverts, we call it a depression — again, nothing to celebrate, for to us economic depression represents declining power, that maybe we are in fact not exceptional or separate from the natural world.

In this culture of death only if and when we expand our evisceration of the planet can we be comfortable in our lives.

2

It’s Getting Hot in Here: ‘How Thirsty is Your Food?’ & ‘Where Does Your Food Come From?’

When it comes to water use, not all plants are created equal.           

(Source: Mother Jones)

Related:

A central problem we activist have is disempowerment. We feel even with EVERYTHING we do as individuals, it will never be enough. And you know what, it wouldn’t be… [B]ut we have to realize that internalizing our global issues can be self-deprecating. We need bigger tools than our individual selves to challenge global capitalism. Imagine trying to fill a dump truck using a spoon, because that’s what we are doing when we decouple the need for macro-solutions – for concentrated, community-wide political resistance – from our individual ability to partake in generating and sustaining them.