Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Green prostitution

After months of begging, I finally got my starving-college-student sample of back issues of the Small Farmer's Journal.  The front cover of the Summer 2009 issue says "visualize a coincidence of wants:" a farmer wants to trade peaches for wheat, but the peaches aren't ready at the same time as the wheat when it is most needed.  Wikipedia suggests a musician who performs in exchange for food or drinks, things that do not pay the rent.  I just want to expose you guys to some of the genius of this magazine. Lynn R. Miller writes:

Where have all the bees gone? Many who care deeply are searching. Clues are floating to the surface. I see parallels with the human condition of late. Not to suggest that we live in colonies which are collapsing, but rather that if we did live in colonies or clusters or like-minded swarms we would be better insulated against what seems to be heading our way. We actually live today in a morass of commerce-defined mud which denies us our ability to produce 'honey.' We have little or no savings or food put by or fuel stockpiled or seed saved. Many of us live without a support group of family and neighbors ready and anxious to help each other out in times of need. We live day-to-day trusting that what we need will be available and affordable when we need it. We don't produce the sweet stuff of sustenance. We have no 'honey' to spin. The means to change this are at hand today. In a very short time we can return to our rightful colonies, clusters or swarms. And we don't have to go backwards to do it.

Is there a coincidence of wants in play here? We want to be more "green," human, or sustainable, but our currency in this exchange is totally immaterial, while the problems we face are taking place in the physical world.  Wow, I sound like such a marxist, right? SFJ has many koans about the coincidence of wants, most notably the "coincidence of wants" editorial: about how lots of young springboks fresh out of college or high school are going back to the land on unpaid vision quests, like myself, my WWOOF catalog is sitting next to me as I type.  

Here is the real coincidence of wants:

"We are thinking of trying to get apprentices to help us with our seasonal labor needs here on the farm but not sure how to go about it all.  Talked with someone who said she tried it and it didn't work because the apprentices were so demanding of her time and so seldom willing and able to put in useful work.  But on the other side we hear of programs like those in Massachusetts and Maine where the relationships are outstanding and have resulted in good things all around.  How are we to know what to do?  Do we just offer room and board and instruction for labor and not worry so much about formal instruction?  Or do we design some sort of curriculum and ask that they pay tuition?  And of course there is the third option of actually paying out an hourly wage, adjusted of course for the fact that most of these people don't know what they are doing and will be less useful than experienced farm help.  Bottom line is that we need help and are interested in trading what we know for some hours in the field."

The young springboks want to learn for learning's sake, survivalists (afraid of losing their chance) probably (IMHO most farm people are NOT survivalists, they are more progressive than most bitter city liberals), and are totally uninitiated, full of questions.  So they made this catalog called the WWOOF catalog, where you can work with Bev and Dwight at (random page) THE PRAIRIE FLOWER, in Spencer, Iowa: "we own Section 8(640 acres) in Summit township, Clay county, Iowa.  We have a native plant and grass nursery business, we grow plants and grasses for resale.  Stay 4 - 5 months or less, any amount would be helpful!  Preferred months to come: May through September.  We have a furnished house with laundry and anything you would need to live.  You could eat meals with us if you want.  Besides farming, we'd love your help with alternative construction and energy, and restoration projects.  Expect to be weeding, planting, whatever needs to be done.  Transportation is available.  English only spoken.   Let us know about special diet needs.  You must like to work outside, very family oriented business.  We have children involved and some grandchildren."

Oh go to their website, they have pictures of a kame!  I'd like to be an outdoor educator, a falconer.  Did you know you have to apprentice for two years to handle raptors, and the initial cost of falconry is about 3,000 dollars?  A geologist too, but there are no work-exchange geology apprenticeships I know of.  There IS however, and, which I am members of.  If anyone wants to join me this spring, I think I'd like to become a man and go on my vision quest, first getting a giant tattoo of a crow on my back.  I'm not even joking.  

But I am fully institutionalized.  Oh man.  Postgraduate angst.  Senioritis.  City slickers.  On a side note, I met this guy at a bar the other night whose future life plans were to be a Starbucks barista.  I asked him,  "so what were you  before you were a barista?"  and he replied,
"I trained horses."
"So you were like, a horse whisperer?"
"Sort of, yeah, I was."  
"So why did you quit that to work at Starbucks?"
"It was boring."
"and working at Starbucks isn't?"
"Nope! I love it."
A HORSE WHISPERER, FRIENDS, A HORSE WHISPERER.  Grayeagle garden spirit, look at how judgmental I am.  Now why would you quit being a horse whisperer to be a coffee slave? Clearly there are many paths to wisdom, who says the agrarian one is best?  Nevertheless I am suspicious of a green economy that lets us build sexy glass skyscrapers where we can work as Starbucks Baristas -- and go to the Two way and get drunk and hit on girls -- then crawl into a squalid bedroom in the ikea-decorated flat where we live with random people from college.  What kind of a life is that?  How is that being part of society?  How do you plan on being part of society?  

Anyway, I would like to bring up the issue of prostitution as a legitimate business enterprise.  what do you guys think of this article?

1 comment:

  1. Posted by Ilana:
    I think green initiatives should extend to all businesses, so why not prostitution, especially if it's legal and a viable industry? Personally I think prostitution should be legal everywhere (I believe most things should be universally legal or decriminalized from abortion to drugs to assisted suicide to pedophilia). We should stop trying to control other peoples bodies through legal constraints and start offering incentives for changed behavior. Offering an incentive to bike to a brothel instead of driving is just being a good capitalist. Although, I don't know if 5 euro is that much of an incentive. Maybe 10 euro...