Another gem I want to share:
The Silence of the Lambswool Cardigans
By Rebecca Solnit, OrionOnline.org
July 21, 2003
There was a time not so long ago when everything was recognizable not just as a cup or a coat, but as a cup made by so-and-so out of clay from this bank on the local river or woven by the guy in that house out of wool from the sheep visible on the hills. Then, objects were not purely material, mere commodities, but signs of processes, human and natural, pieces of a story, and the story as well as the stuff sustained life. It's as though every object spoke – some of them must have sung out – in a language everyone could hear, a language that surrounded every object in an aura of its history.
"All commodities are only definite masses of congealed labor-time," said Marx, but who now could dissolve them into their constituent histories of labor and materials, into the stories that made them about the processes of the world, made them part of life even if they were iron or brick, made them come to life? For decades tales have circulated of city kids who didn't know that milk came from cows, and more recently the inability of American teenagers to find Iraq on a map made the rounds, but who among us can picture precisely where their sweater or their sugar comes from? Read more...
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And this here is for my American friends (especially you, Becky! : ) But I'm sure all these books would do is confirm things you already know, brilliant as you are!)