Monday, March 06, 2006

Being Green...

For as long as I can remember I have been in love with The Muppets.

As a child I had a fancy hard covered copy of The Muppets Take Manhattan and muppet babies bath toys. I remember watching reruns of Harry Belafonte's appearance on the muppet show; my childhood favorite was Dr. Teeth. In high school I wrote a poem about Gonzo entitled "To a Hero," in which I lauded Gonzo for his confidence and eccentricity. I can present well-developed personality analyses of my friends based on their answer to the question "who is your favorite muppet."

Given my near obsession with the muppets you can imagine my excitement when the muppets revival began a few years back. It started with muppet dolls appearing in Spencer's gifts and other odd ball shops and grew to include a rerelease of the muppet show episodes on DVD and a new book "Its Not Easy Being Green: And Other Things to Consider," featuring unpublished memoirs and letters by Jim Henson.

Two weeks ago, I was wasting time one night in front of the tube, and all of a sudden kermit appeared on my screen. He was riding a bike, then kayaking in a river, then climbing a mountain, to the tune of "its not easy being green." I jumped with surprise and filled with nostalgia and then before I knew it, the scene was interrupted by a loud rubber screech. Kermit jumped out of the river scene into a blank screen with a large SUV and uttered, "It is easy being green afterall." It was an advertisement for the Ford Escape, a new hybrid SUV.

Have you ever watched an advertisement, or purchased something and realized that some crazy marketing branding scheme has sold you? As I was watching the kermit ford ads, I had the sensation that I was being aggressively targeted, but that wasn't what got me railed up; what bothered me was that for a moment it seemed the ad was working.

Obviously hybrid SUVs are better than the usual gas guzzlers, but from a consumer responsibility point of view is it really any better to purchase the slightly less bad product of a really nasty company? For instance, my friends and I never eat mcdonalds, but we are frequent chipotle guests (owned by McDonalds, and not surprisingly just as unhealthy, see By vowing to only purchase these diet-coke of evil products, are we making any sort of difference? Are companies like aveda and whole foods really any better than the rest, or are we being sold? That's some food for thought.

I definitely hear ya, Ahavatcafe. The thing is this... do I think it would be better if SUVs didn't exist at all? Absolutely. But to cultivate peoples' minds for change takes time, and if we can get people to hybrid SUVs, that's starting them on the path to doing better, and while they start to think about what it means, we can organize them to do even more.

Or at least I hope.
Ford recently came under fire from conservative Christian groups because of its marketing in Gay publications. Under the threat of a boycott led by the American Family Association, Ford, in a statement, said it was "proud of its tradition of treating all with respect and we remain focused on what we do best, building and selling the most innovative cars and trucks worldwide."
I'm so down with that.
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