Cardboard Castles and Other Amenities...

I am really interested in using different forms of cultural action to help build better communities. Communities are a vital social model, allowing us to tackle problems beyond the ability of individuals with the focus of a defined (usually relatively small) group of people. How do the arts and cultural work in general help communities grow more sustainable futures? If you have a cool website or project or your own ideas on these subjects please let me know.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Class and the Great Equalizer

I was looking over my friend Laura’s blog the other day when I came across a really interest blog post from Apophenia. Viewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace is a very interesting (informal) look at the ways American class divisions are being reflected onto the internet, and social networking to be specific.

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Friday, October 19, 2007

“Girl Pleasure Isn’t Wrong”

Thus states the banner article today on, a really cool sex-education website for teens by teens. If you got any questions you should check it out.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

One More Reason Culture Matters

This is a great interview with Michael Shellenberger, co-author of “The Death of Environmentalism.” In it he talks about his critique of the environmental movement’s constant doom-and-gloom narrative.

MS: A lot of the stories that you hear about ecological crisis are really tragic narrative, so they often start by suggesting that humans at one point lived in harmony with nature and that humankind violated nature either through pollution or through science or through the Industrial Revolution, and that we’re now being punished for that by nature with ecological collapse. That’s a very old narrative: it’s the story of humankind’s fall from Eden in Genesis, and it probably goes back farther than that. In the book we point out that, really, humans have always been in a much more complicated relationship with their surroundings. Obviously we ourselves are part of nature. We evolved from the earth, and we never fell from it.

We believe there’s a more powerful story that should be told. It’s a story of a constant overcoming of adversity. If you look back, humans today are living longer, healthier lives. We have better medicine. We’ve overcome an enormous number of challenges: mass starvation and all sorts of ancient diseases. The history of humankind is not a story of our falling; if anything, it’s the story of our having risen. That’s a very powerful story to tell because it allows us to feel powerful and strong when thinking about new challenges such as global warming. (from eyeteeth)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Got the Buying on my Mind

After seeing What Would Jesus Buy I have been thinking a lot about what I buy, where and how it was made, and whether or not I need (or even want, as in it will make my life more fulfilling or fun) it.

The other day, after reading the “Consuming Responsible” section of Worldchanging; a User’s Guide for the 21st Century (the book by my pals/bro at, I headed over to Bed, Bath and Beyond (sounds like Buzz Lightyear meats Martha Stuiter) to buy linen for my new bed. Low and behold I find Bamboo sheets, which according to “Consuming Responsible,” is “[0]ne of the most renewable resources for fiber…” It was a pleasant surprise to find that the store I choose for convince also gave me an environmentally healthy choice.

This morning I was perusing the May 2007 version of Paper Magazine and I cam across Etsy Does It, profiling, basically an Ebay for handmade goods. Not only is this a great resource for people who are trying to buy local, sweat shop free items, but there are some really creative interactive features to this website. If you are a web designer I strongly recommend you take a stroll through this site. One of my favorite is picks are Colors (it is just beautiful) and Geolocator (which could allow you to be geographically conscious of your purchases on the site.)

Monday, October 01, 2007

What Would Jesus Buy?

I am back from my much needed summer away from stress and I have a must see to put on your calendar.

What Would Jesus Buy was produced by Morgan Spurlock (think Super Size Me) and directed by Rob VanAlkemade, features Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Gospel Quire. This is far and away one of the most enjoyable, well made, and thought provoking documentaries I have seen in a long time.

The major point of both the movie and the church is that the consumption habits of the United States is ruining out world and our culture. We often forget that the way we consume things creates a certain kind of culture. I just spent a month in Spain and one of the interesting things I learned about was a store called El Corte Ingles. This is a department store much like Sears. According to a friend of mine, when it first open in the 1940s many Spaniards were wary because they were afraid it would destroy their old shopping habits of going to different stores for specific items. Wal-Mart and its destruction of small shops in America is a great example of how consumption changes culture.

For those who live in the Bay Area you should check out the Food and Farming Film Festival in Berkeley.