Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Kindle, for the fire

The 1966 movie Fahrenheit 451 remains high up on my top ten list of must-see movies. Based on the 1951 Ray Bradbury novel of the same name, it's about a guy, named Guy (Montag), who is a firefighter in an isolated society where books have been outlawed by a government fearing an independent-thinking public. It is the duty of firefighters to burn any books on sight or said collections that have been reported by informants. People in this society including Montag's wife are drugged into compliancy and get their information from wall-length television screens. After Montag falls in love with book-hoarding Clarisse, he begins to read confiscated books. It is through this relationship that he begins to question the government's motives behind book-burning. Montag is soon found out, and he must decide whether to return to his job or run away knowing full well the consequences that he could face if captured (IMDb.com)

Part of why I love this film is because it highlights the power of literature to the point of where it is feared. The government, drunk on the delusion of domination finds great delight in eliminating education through the destruction of books. And you know what sounds eerily familiar to this in modern society? KINDLE BOOKS. Ordinary books' bratty and electronic baby brother.

Why fix what isn't broken? I'm sorry but there is something disgusting about flipping through a book with a t
ouch screen and battery. In this case, I'm on the side of the hippie's and openly protest the extinction of paper and pen. The smell of formaldehyde and even the dust doesn't bother me as much as the idea of converting classic literature to an application. The thought of a Kindle being read on the beach gives me the same feeling as having a computer at a picnic. It just ain't right.

More so, the mentality behind must-having is part of the consumerist epidemic that is spreading like wildfire all over iLovers everywhere, in the case which Apple has created a frenzy every April where the newest iPad is released, in between a myriad of other products being disposed. What has failed to be recognized by these patron's is the actual indispensability of these products, and the current and long term consequences of fulfilling that drive to have the latest and greatest gadget.

The most heinous of these being Coltan!
Coltan is the industrial name for columbite- tantalite, which is a dull black metallic mineral that is mined in Australia, Brazil, China and Democratic Republic of Congo. The Tantalum from coltan is used to manufacture electronic capacitors, used in consumer electronics products such as cell phones, computers, dvd players and Kindle's to name a few (if you want to get technical about how coltan is specifically used, read this). The ticket here is the blatant statistic that the majority of these minerals are found in the Eastern part of DRC where there has been a constant civil war and crimes against humanity such as rape (1,100 rapes daily!!!) and brutal killings. It is estimated that over 5.4 million people have lost their lives in this conflict.
Is this a coincidence that the only region with the richest coltan deposits is in a war zone? The answer is NO.

Can you even think of 1,000 people you know personally? Now imagine them all victims of violence. Merry Christmas.

Now, I own all of the above mentioned items, and I have actually obtained all of them for free (how I have done this, unconsciously is a miracle, and a bit of a blessing! It just goes to show that even without a deep desire to own them, one is still capable of easily acquiring them). That being true, I take very good care of them and plan on keeping them all. But any chance I have I am going to opt out of unnecessary upgrades or bait and switch marketing schemes to up sell me. I am most definitely never going to own a kindle! I will instead, buy used books and lend them out to friends, or recycle them back into libraries or alleys where they are discovered (gleefully, for free). In addition, I support agencies like VDAY who actively work with abused women to rebuild their communities in the DRC and furthermore help restore a small hope in humanity.

This holiday season I hope you too will consider doing the best thing, and going green

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful post! If you have not read it, Cradle to Cradle/ Remaking the Way We Make Things, is a worth the read.
    There are also video of William McDonough on the web which are very informative.
    One of the points he's made, not sure if its the book or a talk, is that there is a reason why we want to get the latest, because it is, is most cases, better. And as you have pointed out, the problem is what to do with all that old stuff. Solution, it should all be able to be easily up-cycled, composted, or recycled.
    Thanks for your thoughts!!