Tuesday, April 24, 2007

My hubby’s been obsessing on Eustace Conway, the naturalist and outdoorsman author Elizabeth Gilbert chronicles in her book, The Last American Man. Eustace (love that name) has been living in the Appalachian Mountains since he was 17 years old, living off the land and off the grid.

While I can’t quite move all the way to living in a tipi and skinning deer to make my clothes, I can get on board with the foundation of Eustace’s views on modern living and how that intersects with conservation and living more simply. It’s nothing new, but it is what both Trevor and I have been attempting to internalize more each day: that mindless consumerism and overconsumption is a sickness -- a plague -- in society. I think it's sad that we have to remind ourselves that conspicuous consumption is still how humans generally define success, and try not be sucked in.

In recent years, conspicuous consumption has also been viewed as a contributing factor to behavioral disorders such as binge eating and compulsive spending and is a major contributor to personal bankruptcies resulting from abuse and mismanagement of credit

Behavioral disorders. Bankruptcy. And let's face it, a whole host of other problems. But Eustace advocates a very simple way for non-deer-skinning folk to combat this, starting now. This quote from the book is very close to my heart:

Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle are good ideas…but those three concepts should only be the last resort. What you really need to focus on are two other words that also begin with R -- Reconsider and Refuse. Before you even acquire a disposable good, ask yourself if you need this consumer product. And then turn it down. Refuse it. You can.

(This stuff lends itself to feeling sanctimonious, like its own form of "conspicuous morality." I know. Sorry. But I also think that ends up just being a philisophical distraction. Fuck moral relativism when it comes to the trashing of our planet.)

I love Eustace's two extra Rs. This is personal for me. It is bullshit that there are people who think it's weird that I drive a well-maintained, Cali smog-compliant car from 1986, once or twice a week, and that I can afford to buy or lease a new car, but don't (among other things). I don't need it! And it is so stupid that I still find myself apologizing for having an older car sometimes when I drive people around. WTF!? That's insane! A car is an extreme, but just think about how many small pieces of crap you don’t really need you could rid from your life if you adopt Eustace’s two Rs just a few times a week. Ha, if everyone did this, the hellmouth of useless slave-made crap that is Wal-Mart would be out of business in a month. My heart sings at the thought.

Ah, but of course, we are only human and must pick our battles, no?

On the filthy flipside of the coin, while Trevor is obsessing over Eustace Conway, I have been thinking about Kate Moss for Topshop, out May 1st.

Everything is cute. But I've already Reconsidered, and Refused. I probably have half of that stuff in some form in my closet, could get similar used somewhere, and I usually just wear jeans and tees and a hoodie and Vans anyway. So I’m just looking. Promise.


Blogger Trevor said...


You look most lovely in jeans, tennies, and tees.


April 24, 2007 at 11:32:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Eric said...

I read Conway's book about four years ago. It is funny that I too was very interested in what he had to say and would report about each chapter and story to my significant other at the time. I think I gave my copy to my father. Maybe I will see if he still has it and give it another look.

April 25, 2007 at 8:19:00 AM PDT  

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