Michael wrote:The more discetionary income you have the more crap you can spend it on...it's all a matter of, as the economists say, "tastes and preferences." I always thought it would be fun to do a documentary comparing and contrasting American television commercials with news footage from elsewhere...you know like your own personal Brita water filter to hook on to your sink versus little kids drinking water out of some crap infested mud hole or 1-800 PetMeds versus some of the folks Pelon helps out on a regular basis...
See, clean, running water is one of those things I classify as "so necessary it should probably be a human right." Water filters are "somewhat useful," in that they actually provide a service that potentially benefits the users - filtering out some of the antidepressants and heavy metals and pesticides and whatnot that are in the water. Dishwashers, "Somewhat useful in certain situations." The point is that people don't have the discretionary income for a lot of this stuff, they're buying on autopilot, pre-programmed by, primarily, television commercials. If you can't afford good food or transportation, you can't afford dryer sheets, come on. Anyway, I have a precise and ever-changing classification system that I should probably outline in detail.
But first, I need to talk about some other Rip Van Winkle shit that gets on my nerves, and that is the sudden disappearance of water fountains. Water fountains used to be everywhere, remember? Outside every bathroom, in convenient locations around most parks, shopping centers, and city squares and downtowns. They played a central role in the Civil Rights Movement because they were everywhere.
Even back when USAmericans sewed most of their own clothes and cooked almost every meal,
you could still find not one, but two, fucking water fountains just about anywhere people gathered.
So, right before the baby was due, I was trying to cross as much off my to-do list as possible, including "sell back some dead computers to the Apple Store for credit," which I did. This required going to Atlanta's premier luxury mall, Lenox. They had to examine the old computers for a couple of hours, so I was basically stuck at the mall. And there was no way in hell that I was going shopping at nine months pregnant, that's just depressing.
I just peoplewatched and walked around.... and started getting THIRSTY. So I started looking for the water fountain. There wasn't one. Not in the food court. NOT BY THE BATHROOM. The bathroom was full of rich ladies (and wannabes, who are even more snortily judgmental), so I didn't want to go in there and cup my hands like fucking Diogenes. So I go out into the food court for a cup. You had to pay for the cup of ice at every single restaurant, it was a mall rule. Which pissed me off. I finally got an herbal iced tea at Starbucks, which was actually pretty good. But if I ever go back, I'm drinking out of the sinks in the bathroom, for great justice.
BUT. BUT. But. Guess what was all over the mall, in all the places you'd have expected to find a water fountain, if this were the Valley Girls era of mall socialization? (Arguably the peak of USAmerican mall socialization imho, but I digress.) A fucking drink machine with Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, other Pepsi products, and bottled water. For TWO FUCKING DOLLARS. Dasani, or whatever the Pepsi bottled water is called, is just tap water! You pay 89¢ for the convenience of not carrying a bottle around with you! Not TWO FUCKING DOLLARS, the same as a 300-calorie Pepsi.
And then.... and then I realized that this was not some isolated incident, it was privatization of water being implemented as part of some frog-boiling metaphor. This time, however, the rich people were the marks. They tried it on the poor people and failed, see Cochabamba for more on that. But the rich.... the rich CAN fight back, but they're also the easiest marks when it comes to some of this shit. So they're the ones getting fucked for $2 here, $2 there, and pretty soon that attitude - that they don't give a shit whether a vital resource is distributed efficiently and publicly, or ridiculously in order to maximize profit for a corporation, will spread.
And the worst part is that it's so fucking stupid and useless. A highly processed petroleum bubble encasing tap water, rather than tap water. It's retarded.