Tuesday, July 11, 2006

What's Worth It

I was flipping through the NYT Book Review as I do most Sundays. I like to count how many reviews or articles are about books I would actually read. Usually the count hovers below two, but often it is zero. Occasionally the essay can redeem a whole useless Review, but this weeks’ “Saving the Planet, One Book at a Time” by Rachel Donadio was not one of them.

Donadio starts off by doing some interesting description of what is up with the companion volume to Al Gore’s ever-present film An Inconvenient Truth, the recycled paper, the carbon-neutralness the book’s production. She teases those of us who are kind of wowed by this, she lets us know how useless the not-often-used process is in an industry that uses dead wittle twees and toxic ink to make almost all of its products. She then writes some silly shit about a plastic book made by a green architectural “pioneer” and a chemist and how plastic books may be the wave of the rolling green FUTE- CHA!

What the essay brought into focus for me was how strongly I feel that books are worth it. They are worth the tons and tons of paper, they are worth the toxic inks. Books are not the problem. Here are some things that are not worth it:

-- Paper used to print out “funny” emails from work. Or really, anything from work.

-- Paper used to send endless political brochures around election time.

-- Paper used to print out those ugly low-res digital scans of your cousin’s baby. Buy a fucking 35mm and send me some prints!

-- Carbon dioxide created every time a Greenpeace canvasser asks me if I have a “minute for the environment.”

-- Carbon dioxide created when the folks from our big white house open their mouths to try to convince us that it is we who are crazy—everything is under control.

-- Trees felled to make pressboard to build housing projects, oops I mean luxury town homes, on former farms.

-- Paper used to print the Book Review every week.

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