On way to the neat and green: Gentility in a decaying world (20 March 2009)

'Stop!' I wanted to scream at her. 'I just put in trickling showerheads and dim lightbulbs. I got an ass-crack rash from recycled toilet paper and you're telling me there's no hope? Don't be so depressing!' But what would that do to my reputation in the neighborhood? Instead, I just pasted on a smile and nodded along." (Robyn Harding, “Unplugged and Unglued,” The Tyee, March 20, 2009)

This isn't sad, and you (should) know it -- what you're doing here is identifying yourself as fully in fashion: Every green heroine these days lives the green life, admires its rightness but complains of its expense, and experiences the oh so very fashionable green guilt (which isn't so severe as to be crippling -- in fact it kind of pleases, in that its light continual press always reminds of your over-all ethical rightness).

The "I just pasted on a smile and nodded along" should be pathetic -- I mean, what would you do if you were living in a rascist small town (sorry small towns) and your thoughts were out of line? But of course, if this was the case you never would have admitted to just walking by without at least some reply of brash resistance you'd either have expressed at the time, or, if not, most certainly later -- for if you had you wouldn't have gotten the pass/approval from your readers you seem to depend upon and so most assuredly will get here. You'll get a pass for your pasty cat-walk pass, because it's imitable, for four reasons: 1) deference here signals over-all approval of the Green Agenda; 2) to be the good, CBC-listening, Globe-reading, "upper-crust," "Upper-Cdn," Cdn, you have to appear constitutionaly DISINCLINED to engage in overly-emotive, loud public squabbles, and INCLINED toward (gentle and genteel) restraint, repression, and shy aversion; 3) it makes you sound like all the heroines we encounter in British/Cdn lit. who move into small towns and have to deal with their always disapproving and moralizing "Cranford" matriarchy; 4) it pretends to (being about) compromise, but cat-walking past disturbance on way to the neat and green is the sexiest walk to walk these days, baby! Morally in-step, failing but trying, and maybe you'll be allowed to stay on your present course: it's worked to keep many successfully ever upward and aloof for the last twenty-plus years -- why not try and stretch it for another comfortable twenty?

Link: Unplugged and Unglued (The Tyee)


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