China-focused Satire, Social Commentary, Comics and More

CRIMES AGAINST POSTERITY: Exhibit B

Waste Not Yet Ye Be Wasted


A simple garbage bin, a pleasant wood exterior, designed in accordance with the ultra-modern concept of discretion when disposing. Right bin or left bin?. Choose wisely. Consumption has past; it is too late to change that. You weren’t satisfied with your purchase? You think the whole thing was a mistake? Well, don’t worry – you had to buy it. There’s no time for forethought or consideration in this world – the best guide is the Gut. It is well-documented that the “organ” is intrinsically linked to the experience of freedom.

Now, knee deep in your own waste, it is your problem, so you and your Gut must make another decision.

Which brings us to the ultimate question of today’s free world: What to do with our garbage?

Luckily, your options have been narrowed for you – never mind the weird picture writing, for the choice is clear: “Recycled” or “Organism.” Now, the people over at the Green Party office will probably condescend that it should be something like “Recyclable” or “Non-recyclable,” or “Inorganic” or “Organic,” but they would be wrong. You see, this particular pair of receptacles is not in San Fransisco or Switzerland or any other of those self-righteously Earth-minded Occidental locales, where recycling is more or less a reflex, but in the developing nation of China.

We know what you’re thinking:

“Isn’t that the place with the funny pointy hats that had that athletic event one time? Wait – isn’t that the place that likes to send us poisoned Lincoln Logs and poisoned dog food and poison tires? Don’t they send all their garbage to us? Why do they need trash bins?”

Believe it or not, China has plenty of garbage too.

In fact, with the world’s largest population, China has heaps of trash. And, while the Western world would like to think that the key to saving the planet is the little numbered triangles imprinted on the bottom of our Coke bottles, the Chinese, with their unique set of problems and logic, have taken that simple two-channel system of disposal and twisted it accordingly.

First of all, everything in China already is recycled. That is, it is a land with a long history and tradition – newness is a new concept. Garbage ninjas have been rummaging through piles of trash for centuries, long before the Western world realized the wonders of recycling and quirky thrift shops. Also, while they may be the leading producer of goods in the world, the industrious country of China has invented little since the firecracker. Today, most of their budding businesses take the form of fake IKEA or fake KFC or fake Starbucks. And the kids these days go crazy for our embarrassing pop music of yesteryear – the Backstreet Boys, Celine Dion, and even John Denver.

In other words, we send them all of our garbage – and they find a use for it.

Secondly, one must understand the type of mentality that emerges from living in the most populated place on the planet. While we might optimistically think that living elbow to elbow with a million strangers would foster some sort of unspoken camaraderie, even a heightened appreciation and concern for the environment, the truth is that it leads to a common sense of indifference and disregard. To survive in a sea of human beings, your best bet is to pretend no one else exists.

And with that mentality comes another: life (“Organisms”) is not as precious as it once was. Perhaps expendable is too harsh a term, but we’ve all heard the “population control” jokes inspired by the Sichuan earthquake and the recent milk scandal. Some of us cringed. Many of us laughed.

So what can we learn from garbage cans? This: that our world is all too accepting of disposal.

While one sign of civilization may be the proper containment of waste – the practice of disposing discreetly – perhaps we would actually all be better off if we went back to the old practice of tossing our garbage into the streets, out our windows, wherever we please. It might seem a little barbaric, but all those old Titanic soundtracks would make wonderful frisbees, and if you needed to sit down, you could at least find a pile of plastic bags. If you didn’t like the sight of all the trash, or the smell, you could always walk around with your eyes closed and a clothespin on your nose. And if you needed a place to sleep, there would probably be a few abandoned banks to nest in.

Imagine, if we had to walk amongst the messes we make – we might just stop making them.

Here’s one for posterity: Maybe China is just a step ahead of us – they’ve taken the implications of our wastefulness and sifted out the fluff, leaving the harsh truth. And pretty soon we’ll be importing their garbage cans so we can toss away all our wasted lives.

Good luck, future.

* Not an intentional comment on the 2008 US election.

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