Tuesday, September 18, 2007

So Much Junk, So Few Gigabytes

Make no mistake about it. We live in the most junk obsessed society on the face of the planet.

Take the "news" and blogger buzz last week. I mean, what incident of significance happened? Correct, it was all about an overweight, drunk 25-year-old stumbling around on a stage in Las Vegas? Search on YouTube, and you'll find 2,160 clips referencing the Britney Spears VMA fiasco. Just so you know that United States Americans (to borrow a phrase from Miss South Carolina) have their priorities straight, you'll find only 76 references to General Petraeus' report to Congress. (Huh, what's that about? Who's Petraeus? What's a Congress?) Amazingly, you'll actually find a total of five references to the bombings in Kathmandu, needless to say none of them in English. (Hey, those folks don't matter, they only make clothes to sell at H&M, they can't actually shop there.)

Nobody cares that people are getting killed by bombs in Nepal and Iraq, right? We want to see Britney bomb.

What's really spooky about this is that there will actually be plenty of people buying the crap she has to sell. We all need another chance to listen to that great message she has to share in her lyric that goes something like "Gimme, gimme, gimme more." However, I'm not clear what she is pleading for in excess -- more dollars for her CDs or just more plain old Chicken McNuggets. All that matters is gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme...

All of this got me to thinking about all the junk that's out there and the very name and intent of this site. I mean, for cryin' out load, there is just so much useless product that we toil away our waking hours in order to waste dollars on and ascribe meaning to. But why are we buying it when there are so many treasures waiting for us to nab for free?

Why do so many of us feel that it's really important that we've bought something with a Kenneth Cole label even though he never saw the garment that was dreamed up by some junior assistant who spent 10 minutes designing and some woman in Nepal wove together and got 50 cents for her 10 hours of labor.

That was one of the reasons I decided to start a blog in the first place, to reclaim the junk that gets ignored or thrown in the trash heap. There is a lot of junk out there and a lot of stories behind each piece. So over the past few days, I've been encouraged to come across others who feel the same.

Eva Deadbeat, has a great new vlog about Found magazine. I came across the 'zine in a bookstore over the weekend, and it was heartening to see another like-minded group roaming the U.S. in their van to collect and ascribe meeting to junk they find. The whole concept of being a Junk Thief is not original, and more than a year ago when I predicted the coming Junk Thief revolution, I knew that I was neither the originator nor alone in my quest to promote finding and ascribing meaning to all the trashy treasures out there. The question is, will all the junk thieves ever manage to connect? I'm curious if the creators of the play Lost and Found in the Mission that made an entire musical production centered around trash lingering in the streets of our fair city and staged at the now sadly departed Jon Sims Center and Junk Pirate magazine know about each other as well as Junk Thief and Found magazine. The best thing about Found magazine is that it has nothing mined form Google searches, just plain old-fashioned, physical gleaning. I think we all should make a convoy of funky old vans and tour the country. And as hungry junk thieves, we'll probably look a lot more appealing as we dance in our skivvies belting out "Gimme, gimme, gimme more (junk)."

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At 2:21 PM, Blogger Scot said...

I thought maybe it was "gimme, gimme, gimme a man after midnight".
Next time you make it to SoCal you'll have to comb the alleys of Santa Monica. There's some great stuff to be found there. The best time is early morning on Trash day, or even the day before.

At 2:26 PM, Blogger Junk Thief said...

Scot - Will you be my guide on that tour? "gimme, gimme, gimme, some junk in the alley after midnight". Hey, it means the same thing, but I like this version better.

At 9:09 PM, Blogger mrpeenee said...

just last night on the way home from work I spotted a new thrift store on 6th near Howard, I think.

At 10:58 PM, Blogger Junk Thief said...

Oh, God, please no new junk. Maybe I'll drop some off there.

At 12:05 AM, Blogger m00nchild said...

i have a bunch of junk in my trunk. but i'm giving it away to people who'd appreciate my junk in exchange for theirs.

At 12:37 AM, Blogger WAT said...

Only in America! OUR RIDICULOUS PETTY TRIVILATIES are what make us so amazingly retarded! Well, I'd like to think that even though I do fall for dumbass pop culture here and there, I have more of a thinking brain than the average Joe.

And I'm guilty of kinda liking the new Britney song to be honest.


At 7:46 AM, Blogger J. David Zacko-Smith said...

Oh boy - what a GREAT post! I LOVED this one.

People, particularly Americans, are obsessed with junk in it's many varied and sundry forms. Personally, I think it's all a method of mass distraction - we can't handle reality (which Iraq, for example, is), and much prefer to deal with things like "celeb-reality", a la VH1 and Britney Spears, which is "real" but not really. If you believe the likes of Ernest Becker, and I sorta do, it's ALL (and by all I mean most human activity) an effort to avoid the reality of our own mortality.

At 7:57 AM, Blogger Junk Thief said...

Mr. Smith - Well thanks for appreciating this. As I said above, it's all about balance and perspective. One of the things I love about your site is that you're able to mix in spirituality, the impact of globalization and hot guys with their shirts off. And, as I think m00nchild may have finally revealed to the world, the term "Junk Thief" can have multiple meanings and at times has nothing to do with Fiestaware and old pop music. 'scuse me while I go write that paper about the impact of the IMF and World Bank on structural readjustment in Mesoamerica while listening to the Pussycat Dolls.

At 10:30 PM, Blogger Eva the Deadbeat said...

Ever seen "The Gleaners and I" by Agnes Varta? Pure poetry! A movie made for the likes of us!


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