“Joyously Abundant Products!”
Jumbled amongst the pile of paper pulp on my desk, the catalog caught my eye.
Great, I thought. Someone has sold our name to a religious organization.
I really should stop making these snap judgments – it’s not too late to make and break another New Year’s resolution after all. This particular group, while it was indeed religious, was more concerned with the Goddess, as in Mother Earth, as opposed The Masculine Guy. Oddly, though, much of the language was the same:
“We give thanks” – to God, to Mother Earth
“We must be good stewards” – of our financial resources (so we can tithe), of the planet (so we can breathe).
“Tap into the Life Force” – via prayer, or biodynamics.
Some of the pictures from the Joyous publication could have been lifted from Sunday school materials – my favorite was a group of people, sitting at a long, food-laden table under the trees –holding hands while they gave thanks.
Looked like an outside church service to me.
I guess I find this intriguing because this is an election year, during which much will be said about the Rabid, Radical Religious Right, a frightening force of fanatical fundamentalists whose goal is to take over this country and turn it into a Puritanical paradise.
And yet, these people had nothing to do with a major city’s recent decision to ban plastic bags at grocery stores, forcing shoppers to pay for woven synthetic (read: tough plastic) “eco-friendly” products. Those who choose paper bags – which are made from trees, a renewable resource, by the way – are assessed 5 cents each. Agitators in the city are striving to make the ban statewide.
“We’re out to save our planet,” proponents say.
And your polar opposites are out to save your souls.
Both of you get in people’s faces.
Although I don’t smoke and I’m happy to not deal with people’s lip-kissed dross on the ground and occasionally in ash trays, I extend compassion to shivering workers taking their break out in the alley and 25 feet away from the door – in compliance with state law.
“People shouldn’t smoke,” proponents say. “The law discourages them from doing so.”
A generation ago, many religious people considered smoking a sin, but they never passed a law banning it.
Much as none of us want to live in a Puritanical world of somber, black garbed deacons and deaconesses (and by the way, most religious people aren’t this way), the opposite, which isn’t as opposite as it seems, and isn’t as far away as you think, is no better. Bureaucratic vicars and prelates who detachedly shuffle forms and administer regulations and assess fines for trespasses like providing raw milk to consumers who are asking for it, or transporting incandescent light bulbs over state lines (wait for it), or possessing an open bottle of wine in the trunk of the car, or glowering at a police officer (we don’t universally call them “peace officers” yet, do we?) are just as joyless, just as merciless, just as bad.
Far Right or Way Left – these are both bad directions, and interestingly, rather than move further apart as polar opposites, they share so many similarities in the way they seek to control other people’s lives that they actually amalgamate, as if they were on a circle as opposed to a line.
But most of us don’t belong to either group, because we’re not the principals trying to grasp the strings: we are the ordinary people in the center of the circle, bumping elbows and jostling one another because we’re humans and we don’t agree on everything, but we’re friends and co-workers and family members and even strangers who are willing to live, and let live.
A great article with a great sentiment- out of everyone I know, whether their political beliefs lean right or left, the one thing everyone can’t stand is an extremist on either side.
Thanks for posting this!
Adam: Definitely not the person you want to be stuck with at a cocktail party.
Paper or plastic, are you kidding me? Paper of course! It composts and is renewable.
Incandescent or curly-fry, are you kidding me? Incandescent doesn’t become toxic waste.
Smokers as the Great Evil Ones, are you kidding me? Last time I checked, it was legal. Besides, they are all just poor victims of Joe Camel.
And police officers giving tickets for not wearing safety belts? They hate being in that position! If that sort of “law enforcement” continues, only the unreasonable will become “peace officers”.
Jana: all common sense, as you observe, which just goes to show what is happening to common sense.
It is not a good thing that our police officers are increasingly employed to effectively make criminals out of good people. Instead of spending their time and manpower going after true bad guys — ones who damage people’s lives and property — they write tickets and issue citations and criminalize ordinary people who don’t click it.
I totally agree with this. The voices of the reason and common sense are seldom heard as the media uses the extremes of the right and left for their headlines.
High River Arts: So true, and in fomenting dissension among people about marginalized issues, they keep people’s eyes off of the larger matters.
It is easy to forget that big media 1) has to regularly come up with stories to fill its time slots or pages and 2) does not emphasize objectivity amongst its ranks.
I smiled through every paragraph! My husband’s mum was an evangelical and a Republican–double whammy there! Rod was executor of her estate, so he had all her mail forwarded to us for a while. Our mailman was not happy! And WE were not happy when those two groups started calling us as well. I was forced to start answering the phone by saying “Bueno!!!” The Democrates laughed, and their calls were so infrequent that it really didn’t much matter. The Republicans either hung up or asked to speak to Mum. “Meese Lois ees no mas! No mas!” I tell them, then I hang up. The Evangelicals don’t care who they talk to, so they always go into their plea for financial assistance. “I’m an athiest,” I tell them. “Really??” they ask. “Yep!” I respond. “Swear to God!”
I also read your post on tofu, which I have never ever tasted, and don’t want to. Feta tastes like old socks smell. Still, we are health-conscious eaters, and consume lots of vegetables and fruit, and Greek yogurt. If I want something dessert-like, I have some semi-sweet chocolate squares on hand, and one will usually surfice, especially if it has been infused with chili peppers. I have looked for dandelion greens in our front yard, but since we live in Tucson and our yards are mostly rocks and cacti, and very, very dry, my chances of finding some are slim to none.