Why do I have a problem with consumers pretending to be producers? Because it’s completely contrived, pretentious, and masks the fact that most Western humans live off the earth like vampires, never putting back what they take out–no matter how much we “make ourselves”. Our economy is no longer based on manual labour, but ideas; we sent the manual labour east. Under a deluge of studies and infographics extolling manual labour’s benefits for mind and body, we’re maybe feeling a bit… stupid.
This drives Pinterest users to do things like making headboards out of pallets, paper out of paper, or yogurt out of yogurt.
What should we call this new phenomenon – souped-up greenwashing? Manufacturewashing?
Here’s the phenomenon from the commercial perspective, taken from Mad Men, Season 4, Episode 9, “The Beautiful Girls”:
“These domesticated suburbanites still have a primitive desire to get their hands dirty. But, they’ve become so far removed from nature, that they can’t. They don’t know how to hunt, how to swing a hammer, or fix their cars. What our findings show is that this demographic will spend a good amount of money for the satisfaction of being useful with their hands.”
Hence, companies sell more and more, while consumers are given the impression that they’re buying less, and “making” things themselves. Case in point: yogurt made out of yogurt. Fauxlocal1 tomfoolery at it’s most infuriating.
This is not real do-it-yourself. This is fill your vacant life with pointless “crafting” that involves throwing some pre-manufactured shit together, and calling yourself eco-friendly. Did you turn your Ikea dresser into a table by taping on some iKea legs and some Crate and Barrel wallpaper? Did you DIY some mason jars you bought at Wal Mart into vases by spray painting them? Congratulations, you have the skill level of a 5 year old, with none of the imagination. This is not DIY. This is contrived, pretend fauxlocal bored-parent time-wasting.
This particularly offensive recipe involves buying yogurt, then using a bit of it to make your own yogurt. Did the pinner honestly think that her manufacturing process—which involves 20 minutes in the microwave—is more efficient than that of, say, a local yogurt-ery? And she already bought the yogurt, so don’t start up about the recipe’s carbon footprint.
What are you going to do with the yogurt you bought to make the yogurt? Put it in the back of the fridge and pretend it doesn’t exist to save yourself from the knowledge that you’ve just made something entirely redundant?
1 Deal with it.