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Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Can you say hypocritical? I can: Oprah.

Did anyone besides Izzy and me see Oprah today. I was snuggling with my daughter when she came on and neither of us wanted to get up and change the channel, so we watched her. The show began with a report from Lisa Ling (love her) about a movement of people called Freegans. It was really interesting and sort of awe-inspiring in a very weird way.

You see Freegans are people who are so invested in being non-materialistic and in spending the absolute minimum on consumer goods that they go trashpicking behind grocery stores and bakeries at night. They evidentally even hold a tour in NYC where you can learn the ropes of trashpicking.


When I say trashpicking, I really mean dumpster diving. They go into the large dumpsters behind the various stores, and the bring out the most amazing array of very edible products. Not just produce, but milk and meat that is well before it's sell-by date, boxes and boxes of organic cookies and crackers, and bags of leafy greens. All in perfect condition but tossed by the stores for some reason or another.

Now, I'm not really interested in this lifestyle for my family, but I do have a small twinge of regret that we lived right by a Whole Foods for years and I never thought of perusing their trash. I guess I'm not a trashpicker by nature. But I find it very interesting that the people shown were very upper middle class folks that chose this as a lifestyle not because they can't afford food, but because they are against rampant consumerism. There was one couple that were a doctor and an engineer, and they are ardent freegans and have been for years. Another woman left her 200K job and now leads the Freegan Tours in NYC. I found that very interesting.

What I found even more interesting was Oprah's reaction to the show. She was oooing and aaahing about how great it was to be less consumer oriented and I have to admit, I was seething. She is the biggest hypocrite ever. That woman spends more money on huge diamonds, huge estates, ridiculously expensive clothing and shoes, etc. She's the queen of consumerism. She's the one that has those ode to materialism shows called "My Favorite Things" where she says things like "everyone can afford this cashmere sweater from J. Crew." I mean, the woman is so freaking clueless. Seeing her spend her money like water is not going to make me believe for one second that she is thinking of reigning in her spending. She's an advocate of the spend spend mentality. It was ridiculously hypocritical for her to even pretend to think that living the Freegan lifestyle was another other than gross.

I believe that Oprah's motives in presenting this story were less than pure. I wish I didn't have to say that, but her attitude was so disinterested, as if she couldn't wait to get onto the next, and much steamier segment about a wonderful single mother that chose to be a stripper in a 'gentlemen's club in order to be home for her kids after school, and to only work 3 days a week. Surprisingly, that ticked Izzy off.

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9 Comments:

Blogger Rhiannon said...

Amen Margalit! She just BUGS. It's the entire "Do as I say, not as I do" mentality.

I grew up in a small farm town, and there is an organization there called Gleeners (I think) that picks up the food that stores are just about to throw out and distributes it to needy families that are willing to come get it (and they're all required to do some sort of job for the organization). Anyway, kind of related to the Freegans, sans Dumpster Diving.

28/2/08 1:46 AM  
Blogger Honor said...

While I didn't see Oprah, the show obviously made an impact on my local Freecycle community. I've been trying to think out my kitchen appliances, so have spent the last few days trying to meet up with the folks interested in them. Therefore, I've been on Freecycle quite a bit. Anyway, a message popped up today asking if there were in Freegans in my area, which sparked a chain of responses. WHile Oprah is Public Hypocrite #1, today's show might actually give the Greegan movement a bit of a kick in the pants. I'm like you though - no dumpster diving for me, but hats off to those who do!

28/2/08 1:46 AM  
Blogger Honor said...

thin, not think. sheesh

28/2/08 1:47 AM  
Blogger Honor said...

Wow, I swear I proof read before I hit publish. Ignore those two up there please.


While I didn't see Oprah, the show obviously made an impact on my local Freecycle community. I've been trying to thin out my kitchen appliances this week, so have spent the last few days trying to meet up with the folks interested in them. Therefore, I've been on Freecycle quite a bit. Anyway, a message popped up today asking if there were any Freegans in my area, which sparked a chain of responses. While I agree that Oprah is Public Hypocrite #1, today's show might actually give the Freegan movement a bit of a kick in the pants. I'm like you though - no dumpster diving for me, but hats off to those who do!

28/2/08 1:50 AM  
Blogger Hannah said...

Hi, found you through Chicky and LOVE this post. I have loathed Oprah for years - I don't even think "hypocrite" is strong enough to describe her. This takes the cake. Yowza.

For years my furniture was salvaged on trash day. Not so much anymore. But props to these folks if they are committed to it.

28/2/08 8:18 AM  
Blogger Stella and Thomas said...

I watched the show yesterday and thought the same thing. This morning, in the shower...you know, where I do my best thinking....I remembered this author I had once seen on TV. She had written a book about "Bullshit" and how our society is consumed with it. She mentioned that Oprah was the queen of BS. I agree. She has these stupid shows and makes women feel like it they find the perfect lip gloss or the perfect set of sheets, they will be happy. Great post!

28/2/08 12:12 PM  
Blogger Daisy said...

I was a "scavenger" for a long time. I worked for outrageously low wages in child care, and I was on top of anything usable that might be thrown out. My kids never knew how many of their meals were salvaged from day care leftovers. I never did the dumpster thing, though.

28/2/08 5:28 PM  
Blogger daysgoby said...

The more I know, The more I don't like about her.

28/2/08 10:16 PM  
Blogger Jimmy said...

Also check out:

http://deceiver.com/2008/02/29/oprahs-sole-series/

Brilliant minds ....

29/2/08 4:13 PM  

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