At BigHollywood.com, Anne McIlhinney critiques the anti-industrial environmental propaganda film, The Story of Stuff. The film’s narrator, Annie Leonard, argues that modern civilization uses too many resources to produce too many things. The film is so idiotic (I’ve seen part of it) that it ordinarily wouldn’t merit a response–except for the fact that it’s being shown in schools around the United States.
Problem is when children see Leonard’s film in the classroom they don’t get to hear about all the good things stuff does. Stuff gave my Dad a hip replacement at 91; I think that’s good. Hospitals use loads of stuff so people don’t die really young like they do in places where there’s very little stuff. Your bicycle is made of stuff and your computer is made of loads of stuff not to mention your car. Artists use lots of stuff to make other stuff that they hope someone might like, like jewelry or movies or sculpture or paintings. Lots of stuff allows us to travel much further than our bicycle will take us, it allowed 45,000 people to travel from all over the world to Copenhagen in December 2009 to campaign against other people traveling across the world.
Stuff builds homes so people are protected from the elements and don’t die just because it rained for a week. And stuff is nice to eat. I like sushi and chicken pie and avocado, not necessarily together. People who don’t have access to enough stuff die all the time in places like Africa and that is really not good. Stuff brings water to places that would never ever, ever get water otherwise and that’s good because you can’t live without water.
Making stuff, even silly stuff gives someone somewhere a job that didn’t exist before and that allows his kids go to school and people to get all the other stuff that makes life lovely.
My colleague Lee Doren offers a point-by-point rebuttal of Leonoard’s silly film below (in four parts).