51% Show #1274

Dec 13, 2013

Credit Roberto Verzo

How much of American consumerism is a reaction to fear? This week on 51%, recording the gotta have it reaction to a post 9-11 reality... plus why have we given up on recycling?

American retailers moved in on Thanksgiving this year -  with stores  opening on Thanksgiving Day in an effort to get a better shot at your gift budget. Walmart's offered its employees a turkey dinner and time and a half. The National Retail Federation expected 33 million people to buy into the shopping frenzy, skipping the cranberry sauce for more time at Toys R Us.

Notes on the first round of CMYK proofs from Prographics
Credit Brian Ulrich

Brian Ulrich's book Is This Place Great or What is a decade-long photographic study of consumerism in America, post 9-11. He follows the arc from big box store, to thrift store to abandoned shopping mall, holding a mirror up to our society’s love of retail . He spoke with Sara McConnell of With Good Reason.

Coming up, our recycling efforts look pretty pale if you compare us to Canada – and Gilles Malkine profiles a film star who used her celebrity to help the world's children. 

Most of us don't spend a lot of time thinking about garbage, but author and teacher  Catherine Breese does. Breese thinks back to her 1979 science class, and wonders why after decades of environmental education, we still don't seem to get it.

And finally, Gilles Malkine profiles one of the most iconic women of the last generation – a film star who became an ambassador for the world's children.

Gilles Malkine is a writer, actor and musician. He lives in New York's Catskill Mountains.

That’s our show for this week. Thanks to Katie Britton for production assistance.  Our theme  music is by Kevin Bartlett. This show is a national production of Northeast Public Radio.  Our executive producer is Dr. Alan Chartock.