In case you weren’t reading the New York Times front page today, we wanted to point you to an especially disturbing story. The Times wrote about The Story of Stuff, “a 20-minute video about the effects of human consumption, [which] has become a sleeper hit in classrooms across the nation.” What classrooms? Very likely the school your child attends, since over 7,000 American schools or churches have ordered the DVD.
The Story of Stuff highlights the very extreme left’s Greenpeace view of America. Essentially it tells the story of how America is not a nation to be proud of, and in fact, your child should be ashamed for living in it. For example: after implying that the radios for sale in Radio Shack are assembled by 15 year olds in Mexico, and by purchasing one, you contribute to the exploitation of the third world and the eventual end of the Earth, the film’s creator and narrator Annie Leonard says:
So MY country’s response to this limitation is simply to go take somebody else’s. THIS is the third world. Which SOME would say, is another word for our stuff that somehow got on somebody else’s land. So what does that look like? The same thing, trashing the place. (capitalized emphasis ours)
Surely no child would immediately buy the notion that wanting toys or a radio at Radio Shack is contributing to the end of the Earth, do they? The New York Times reports:
“And many children who watch it take it to heart: riding in the car one day with his parents in Tacoma, Wash., Rafael de la Torre Batker, 9, was worried about whether it would be bad for the planet if he got a new set of Legos.”
Now, the million dollar question is how is this video getting into the classroom? While nobody denies liberal Greenpeace activists their point of view, even if factually wrong, surely airing a 20 minute political ad to little kids wouldn’t be supported by mainstream outlets, would it? Well, first, the New York Times won’t even go as far as to call the video’s creator, Greenpeace activist Annie Leonard, extreme. Nor liberal. Nor even left of center. They call her “independent.” That is like calling Hugo Chavez a centrist.
To make it appear more mainstream, they brag that above the millions that have watched the film on its website, “millions more have seen it on YouTube.” The count as of posting was just over 196,000. But that is just the Times being the Times. Well, Time Magazine called Annie Leonard a 2008 “Hero of the Environment” and said her “provocative truth-telling help[s] us see the profound stupidity of this system.”
And what “system” are Annie and Time Magazine calling stupid? Capitalism. The left’s war on capitalism or as they call it, the “system, if you don’t own or buy a lot of stuff, you don’t have value” has reached our children’s classrooms.
As she pits consumer child against consumer child, she even takes a moment to introduce the grandest of conspiracy theories. See, the government and big bad corporations are getting together to change the heels on women’s shoes in order to identify the non-capitalists from the capitalists. Each year, women walk around pointing and judging each other based on their shoe heel. And if your heel doesn’t match that summer’s trend, it means you are un-American. Sound ridiculous? The video tells your kids this. So when they don’t ask for new shoes this summer, it is because they have been scared into this extreme liberal way of thinking.
But how does she take shots directly at America? A healthy discussion on capitalism vs. the benefits of socialism might be okay, right? Annie Leonard tells us:
Let’s start with the government. Now my friends tell me I should use a tank to symbolize the government and that’s true in many countries, and increasingly in our own. After all, more than 50% of our federal tax money is now going to our military.
Aside from throwing in a little jab towards the expense our government spares to its ultimate duty of protecting us, and telling children to resent our armed forces, it is also factually inaccurate. The Congressional Budget Office estimated direct defense outlays to be roughly 20% for FY 2007 and that number has remained largely consistent until President Obama’s proposed defense cuts this year.
And it isn’t just Americans watching the propaganda film. This film has been heavily promoted, translated and distributed in foreign countries. Thus becoming another liberal apology vehicle, where they can reconcile their disgust with American capitalism with outside observers, i.e. ‘it’s not us, it’s them.’
So, what now? We have posted the video below so you can judge for yourself. Unfortunately that means that it will draw a larger audience, which we regret. Some school districts have banned the video once parents became enraged, like Missoula, Montana. Unfortunately, this also means that Missoula is now the target of liberal activists. But wouldn’t you rather have a school board be a target than your children?
It is the responsibility of parents to know what videos are played in their children’s schools, and spending five minutes to call them this afternoon and ask if this video is shown is important. Demanding that it not be shown is equally important. While liberals oppose school choice for children, they also oppose any interference in their agenda being taught in our public schools.
According to the New York Times, “hundreds of teachers have written Ms. Leonard to say they have assigned students to view it on the Web. It has also won support from independent groups that advise teachers on curriculum choices. Facing the Future, a curriculum developer for schools in all 50 states, is drafting lesson plans based on the video.”
The good folks at The Story of Stuff have used today’s New York Times article as a call to action themselves posting on their website today: “please help us raise the last $20,000 needed to develop a two-week middle and high school level educational module with the film at its core.” In other words, they’ve only just begun.
We leave you with Portola Valley, California teacher Mark Lukach who says: “Compared to ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ it is much shorter and easier to compact into a class segment.” There is still time to save your children from joining a fringe movement that attacks makeup, shaving cream, batteries, legos, radios, technology, toys, our armed forces and anything else that doesn’t fit into their Greenpeace world view.