Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Clean And Sober

If you grew up in the United States in the late 70's, could you ever forget this image and what it stands for?
I'll bet I don't even need to explain it, for it is most likely burned into the memory of every American living in that decade. I thought of this image yesterday when I was talking to Frick from Italy. It went a little something like this:

CANDY: Hi baby! How's Italy?

FRICK: It's hot and beautiful, but mom I was so surprised...It's dirty here.

CANDY: *whispering* (Please don't tell My Guy or we'll never go there) but what do you mean dirty?

FRICK: There's trash all over the place. Today we were on a beautiful beach, but it was covered with litter.

CANDY: Litter? Like trash? How could that be?

FRICK: It's everywhere. I just don't get it.

The image of the crying Indian immediately came to mind and I began to think about how unacceptable littering is in this country. Then I thought of the crying Indian again and I realized that in the 70's that commercial just may have changed the way Americans dispose of unwanted waste. Was it then, that we the people, decided to take care of our planet? And if so, was there ever an advertising campaign more successful?

Frack was shocked that the litter went unattended to and quite frankly, so am I. In the new Millennium I'm stunned that any place in the world turns their head when they see litter on the ground and I'm proud that the country I live in has worked for the last 40 years to give back to our planet. My child was horrified by litter.

For all the bad we do in this country, for once, maybe we got it right?


RW said...

Car window cigarette flickers still give me the heebee-jeebees though.

wigsf said...

You know that guy isn't actually a native American right? He's American of Sicilian heritage. Kinda puts this whole post into a different perspective.

Jim said...

Pitch In.

Oh, and Keep on Truckin', lol.


Scope said...

I felt the same way walking through San Francisco on my honeymoon. Chicago may have it's issues, but we have alleyways for the trash cans, so it doesn't go out on the street to get blown all over creation.

And did you know that "Don't mess with Texas" is really an anti-litter slogan from the highway department?

The Dental Maven said...

I think we do a fair bit of good in this country as well. Proud to be an uncool as that is.

B.E. Earl said...

Well, we still have a long way to go in terms of waste management in this country, but it's sad to hear that other countries are falling behind. Southern Italy has had a garbage crisis due to overfilled landfills, bad politics and organized crime for year and years now. Sad.

Heff said...

Well, we "had it together" in the SEVENTIES anyway, lol.

Joanie M said...

I remember that commercial. I guess it really did change the way we do things here, with regards to litter.

I'm always surprised how clean NYC is when I go there! What I want to know is where did all the homeless people go? I rarely see that in NYC any more.

Furtheron said...

I shouldn't comment my knowledge of Italy is limited - my son went there a couple of years ago on a photography trip with the school - he hated it. Dirty and just dangerous - i.e. a guy on a train openly snorting presumably coke but who knows then offering it to 16 year olds from England to try. Luckily my son has seen enough of the pain of addiction in his life to politely shake his head at that point. My sister loves Venice but complains of the same thing - tourist bits really clean - elsewhere the place is a tip

sybil law said...

I read an article about the garbage in Italy (or some region) some time ago, and ewww - it really was BAD.
That commercial (and my mom) definitely taught me not to litter.

The Vegetable Assassin said...

Seriously, I'm always incredulous whenever I see someone carelessly discard garbage in the street or out a car window. It's so unusual these days, comparatively, that you really do notice. Plus I immediately dislike that person. :) So maybe you are right!

I grew up in the UK and we had similar campaigns about littering so I think it's been ingrained into all of us that it's just not acceptable.

Chris@Knucklehead! said...

Ah yes, I remember that commercial well.

If the rest of the world isn't going to take care of the planet, then we're wasting our time, I say. Screw recycling, screw anti-pollution devices on cars. Whatever.

Damn Italians.

SkylersDad said...

It was a real change in the way we thought about trying to clean up our planet. Then big money got involved and we slipped right back.

Scott Oglesby said...

Like I said, I didn’t see any litter in Pisa or Florence. But we didn’t go to the Tuscany Coast either. It’s hard to believe and so sad.