Update from Bouphonia

Once in a very long while, I stumble across a blog that’s so well-written and original that I feel compelled to browse through its archives. 

The latest example is Bouphonia, (the name is explained here) an anonymous effort by someone who seems to have a natural-science background and writes crisp, amusing prose.  Every Friday is Nudibranch blogging day, plus a review of environmentally-friendly innovation from around the planet.  Lots of lefty politics, but with value added (i.e., cleverly done, not just bitching).

Here’s an interesting post about San Francisco’s 2005 decision to begin doing what most European stores have done for years — charging shoppers for plastic bags (thus giving everyone an incentive to use cloth).  Europeans may find this hard to fathom, but this policy is controversial in the United States, a land in which bring-your-own-bag is still regarded as faintly Communistical, and in which even the smallest routine purchase will be lovingly swaddled in unnecessary paper and plastic. 

Bouphonia’s post begins:

I wanted to say a couple of things about San Francisco’s proposal to charge consumers 17 cents for shopping bags.

It’s provoking the usual hysterical outbursts from right-wing scaremongers, who see the plan as the End of Civilization…but those people are stupid or corrupt, and their bad-faith arguments are not worth addressing. However, there are some rational concerns about the proposal.

Right-wing scaremongers, scarified by a left-wing whipmonger!  What follows this introduction is intelligent discussion of this proposal by someone who knows what she’s talking about.  A pleasure to see on the Internets.  So hats off to Bouphonia — il miglior fabbro.  I’ll add it to my blogroll the next time I get around to revising it (probably around mid-2009).

6 thoughts on “Update from Bouphonia

  1. “Lots of lefty politics, but with value added (i.e., cleverly done, not just bitching).”

    Nothing wrong with bitching. It’s what blogging was inventerated for.

    And — you betray a certain cynicism here. You must have a very limited conception of ‘the left’ if that’s your take on the ‘left’ (i.e. ‘bitching’). Try looking around the hintertubes a bit more — you may be shocked — gawwwd bless!

    Your own bankrupt populism is evidence enough that you’ve abandoned philosophical thinking anyway.

    What’s sauce for the duck is gravy for the gander after all.



  2. vis: “charging shoppers for plastic bags ”

    “It’s provoking the usual hysterical outbursts from right-wing scaremongers, who see the plan as the End of Civilization…”

    I myself am a hysterical right-wing ‘scaremonger’, but must protest at this particular canard. Looking down at my from where I am sitting I see a knapsack and two canvas bags which I prefer to use whilst shopping; they are far more practical and durable than the plastic kind. So I don’t really give a rat’s ass about bag charges……

    I HAVE however identified a situation which is at very least is an UTTER DISGRACE and may possibly be the END OF CIVILISATION (as we know it). This is the unwillingness of UK supermarket chains to sell proper canvas or cotton grocery sacks. They sell these cheesy low-rent bags which are a cross between the old paper sacks and cloth and fall apart after about 10 uses. Or they sell plastic. The closest thing to a proper sack available is made of jute – which just won’t cut it. Too harsh on the hands and doesn’t crumple up in my knapsack properly!

    The problem is that the bloody things disappear over time. Either I lose them or some other poor bag-deprived free-lance socialist spots them and they sprout legs.

    Forget the welfare state – what the world really needs is a good 1 pound canvas sack!


  3. Andrew, Good blog. After a brief look at Bouphonia, his (or her) tone and style struck me as being similar to your own.

    Like attracts like, apparently.

    Not necessarily the “better craftsman.”


  4. If plastic bags is Bouphonia’s idea of caring about the environment, I can see why wannabe German Andrew would like Bouphonia. After all, both Germans and Bouphonia realize the central environmental problem that needs to be attacked: Climate Change Logging the Rainforests Public Perception. After all, the greatest achievement* of the 7-year Green government was the Dosenpfand, a measure that just like taxing plastic bags reduces household garbage, itself way down on the environmental priority list, by something like a whopping 1%.But hey, “1%” is a number and Mrs/Mr Bouphonia, for all the pseudo-intellectuality displayed by milking Merriam-Webster for words like “sanctimony” and “gainsaying” and name-dropping Anselm Kiefer, seems to be unable to deal with the kind of hard numbers that would help judge the effectiveness of an environmental measure or any of the gadget-technofixes pitched every Friday. With such a painfully evident lack of a natural-sciences background, just like the Germans, what else can you resort to but management by perception?* One might argue that an even greater achievement in perception management was actually (you are not going to believe this) starting a program for replacing nuclear power plants whose worst by-product seemed to be gigatons of public irrational fear with coal fired power plants that now produce very real gigatons of CO2.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s