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'Story of Stuff' Video Creates Controversy

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Not all parents are thrilled that this is being shown in classrooms.

The story of stuff

The New York Times has called "The Story of Stuff" -- Annie Leonard's 20-minute exposé on the hidden environmental and social costs of current systems of production and consumption -- a "sleeper hit in classrooms across the nation." They say: "The video is a cheerful but brutal assessment of how much Americans waste."

But the video definitely has its detractors ... including Glenn Beck. He states: "Indoctrination? Actually, the progressives are starting much younger these days ... there is a video being played in schools all across America ... that lays out the 'story of stuff' -- a loving, anti-capitalist tale that unfortunately has virtually no facts correct."

Some moms say the video makes kids feel bad about buying anything at all -- and stresses them out and overwhelms them. Other parents say they're glad the video gives children an honest assessment of the trouble our planet is in.

Check out the video for yourself:

Here's what some momlogic moms had to say when they were asked whether this should be shown in classrooms:

I love the part where the government should "watch out for us and take care of us" directly after she shows she is anti-military. Nice. Way to teach kids about what an "awful" place America is.  -- birdsfly

I think this is a perfect show to let kids know how important they are in the chain of events of consumerism. This would open their eyes as to just where all their 'stuff' comes from and goes to when they're done with it. Maybe we'll raise a generation of concerned kids rather than another one of pointless shoppers and users. This would be great in an economics or health class. I'm downloading it to show to my kids and students.  -- Reenie

I agree with some of what Annie Leonard is saying about over-consuming but don't like how she uses this subject as a forum to convey her democratic message. Much of what she says is unfounded and overdramatized to take a whack at the U.S. and our capitalistic society -- the best society in the world. It is good that corporations dwarf the government because if government was the larger entity, then a majority of people would be on government payroll, working inefficiently and producing nothing real. Who would pay the taxes to support these government workers? The people who actually are working. It is not the government's job to take care of the people. It is the people's job to take care of themselves. The government represents the people in setting and enforcing the laws of our society and provides policing to enforce those laws. They also provide military protection so that we may continue to live as a free society. The government's job is not to take care of the people, that is the people's job. Those who refuse to carry their own weight [and] who are being taken care of by the government are doing so at the expense of the productive people. Every welfare dollar given away is given away at my expense because I am a taxpayer.  -- Freebird

Excellent message for kids to see. Making a connection early between "stuff" we are enticed to buy (and the packaging it is in) and real happiness is great. It isn't a new message -- things don't make you happy.  -- Debbie Terry

I think the video uses the topic "stuff" to hide an underlying political message against our wonderful country. Politics have no place in the schools of our country. We can't have religion there; certainly politics should not be taught. Especially anti-American ideas that this video promotes under the guise of conservation.  -- Anonymous

Reason #2,043,907 to homeschool.  -- LoneWolfArcher

next: Barbie Meets Don Draper
4 comments so far | Post a comment now
adelaide fitness March 10, 2010, 4:02 PM

i’ve seen the video, it’s interesting, worth watching but not to be taken too seriously

Martini March 11, 2010, 6:02 AM

Some good points however its political undertone of socialism is unnerving. To imply we need the government to take care of us because we’re too immature, irresponsible, and are in need of ‘daddy government’ to keep us in line is extremely frightening. History has shown that socialist governments are very oppessive, controlling, & the citizens have no hope, no choices,and zero freedom.

michelle March 11, 2010, 8:34 AM

Martini, please specify where this video advocates for “socialism.” I watched the video and didn’t hear that anywhere. Tell me, what IS the government’s job if not to take care of its citizens? Don’t forget that “take care” includes national defense and guaranteeing private property rights. And why does every critique of runaway consumerism automatically have to mean “socialism”? She didn’t critique capitalism; she just thinks we need to do it better. Which is what all smart capitalists right now are trying to do — that’s called “innovation” — look it up. Those of you who like to sling around the “socialism” accusation have no idea what the word means.

Cynde March 12, 2010, 8:38 AM

WoW….are you kidding me? The Governments job is to keep society safe? In part, but their job is to represent the people of this country! Antimilitary….Jee, how are we safe when many countries hate Americans (911, remember????) Oh, ya, the militery keeps us safe! I just can even begin to say how much I disagree with this video! I do agree that we should be careful about materialism…but American’s are not evil…and, many of these materials that are obtained from other countries also create jobs in those countries…Hey! We just contributed to another countries economy!

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