The CEO of Soylent has run into trouble with the city of LA over his sustainable living experiment.
If you aren’t familiar with Soylent and it’s more than a little irritating CEO, Rhinehart, let me give you the background.
Soylent Green was a 1973 movie starring Charlton Heston about a dystopian future where the world suffers from out of control over population, horrific environmental pollution, dying oceans and a seriously degraded climate due to climate change. Abject poverty is the norm. Housing is so bad a dozen or more people can be crammed into a single room. You know, sort of what like the “small house” movement wants to do to us, only they’re trying to make us think we want to do it.
Oh, dear, I just realized something. Horrific environmental pollution, dying oceans, seriously degraded climate, housing so bad a dozen people are crammed into a single room… Sort of like, well, what’s going on right now, isn’t it?
The movie was named after a food product, Soylent Green, which is the primary food source, often the only food source, for the vast majority of the population. Heston is basically a drone, an unthinking cop, an enforcer for the government/big corporations, mindlessly following orders and committing what are just flat out atrocities, all in the name of keeping the ‘peace’, including one horrific scene where they deal with a riot by bringing in huge armored garbage trucks and simply scooping up the protestors, dumping them into the back of the trucks, and presumably, well, squeezing them like garbage.
A key element in this new culture is death, and the promotion of death. Basically trying to talk people into committing suicide voluntarily in the hopes of attaining some kind of peaceful, more pleasant afterlife (I think — it’s been decades since I saw the thing).
The kicker to the whole story is that Heston’s character discovers that Soylent is made from people. Presumably the people the friendly government has been scooping up in garbage trucks and talking into offing themselves in pleasant, luxurious government operated death palaces.
Anyway, the new Soylent is all about food, as in not having to actually eat any. Seriously.
Rhinehart, well, apparently he doesn’t like to eat. (I say ‘apparently’ because I don’t really know. Never met the guy. While he’s probably a nice person, doesn’t kick stray dogs, doesn’t yell at the hired help too much and all that good stuff.) He seems to think eating, cooking and all that fun stuff that normal people like you and I enjoy, even relish, is evil. Total waste of time. He thinks everyone should just gulp down this green goo he calls Soylent a couple of times a day, and you’re good to go. This way you don’t have to cook, don’t have to go through all the hassle of, well, what he thinks are stupid things like enjoying time with your friends over dinner, and eating really tasty food.
The green goo (i.e. Soylent) is, he claims, supposed to supply everything you need to survive, all crammed into a drink a bit smaller than a Big Gulp.
Now as silly as this may sound, he apparently isn’t the only one who thinks this way. There are people, allegedly real live actual people, who actually pay allegedly real live money for this stuff, and allegedly even (down stomach, down boy…) drink it.
(Easy there, stomach. Hang in there, we don’t have much farther to go.)
And not just a few people. Him and his company are now supposedly worth about $100 million, for heaven’s sake.
Oh, and ignore the fact that there is at least one lawsuit going on at the moment over the alleged safety of this goo.
Rhinehart, not content with attempting to utterly destroy the joy of food, seems to be trying to expand his realm into also destroying our enjoyment of living in general. His solution to the world housing crisis is — shipping containers. As in shoving in a chemical toilet, cutting a few holes in the side to let in light, and living in them. And like all good ideas, he basically stole it from someone else. Using shipping containers as housing has been going on for a long time with mixed results.
And judging from the example he’s set up out in California, well, let’s just say that living in the original Soylent Green’s conditions is pleasant when compared to what he’s got set up.
The thing is, well, it’s just flat out horrific. It’s an old shipping container, a few holes cut crudely into the walls, a chemical toilet, and, well, that’s about it. Looks like there’s no insulation at all, so under the hot California sun interior temperature will… Well, let’s face it, you’re inside an uninsulated metal box. In California. You could roast a turkey in that sucker for heaven’s sake.
The photos, well, dear lord, it looks just bloody horrible, there’s no other way to put it. If this is Rhinehart’s “vision” of how he wants people to live… Well, considering what he wants us to gulp down instead of real food, trying to shovel people into what is little more than an oversized coffin with windows shouldn’t be surprising.
Rhinehart has, of course, never actually lived in the thing. No thank you. He claims that he has, true, but according to at least one source cited in the article, he’s never actually lived it in. He has a perfectly nice, luxurious real home to go to at the end of the day.
He has, however, used it for parties. Although how he got anyone to actually go there is beyond me. Now I admit that some of the frat houses from my college days were pretty much real, live, waking nightmares and you’d want to dip your entire body in sanitizer just looking at them. But this — this thing? Oh, my…
Well it seems the local government feels pretty much the same way, and is going after this pusher of green goo and his rather curious idea of what constitutes “housing”.
To get to the point, though…
Rhinehart reminds me of something my father once said about a particular Christian church with a reputation for being — irritating, shall we say. I was still a child and was curious about this bunch and asked him what in the world was going on with them
“They’re the kind of people,” he told me, “who live in constant fear that someone, somewhere, might be having fun, and believe it’s their job to put a stop to it.”
Those weren’t his exact words, I’m sure, but it’s close enough.
But that’s not why I’m posting this. Oh, no.
This is a test. For the next thirty seconds, this station will be conducting…
Oh, all right, I know, really, really bad joke, but I tend to do that. Sometimes a lot, I fear. I blame my father. I think I inherited his snarky sense of humor. Which is curious because I’m not actually related to my father. Or to my mother for that matter. Or to my sister.
But that’s a different story entirely. I also tend to go off track, I fear.
Ah, now I remember!
This was a test. And a kind of shot across your bow, you poor people out there reading this. I just found the “Press This” tool! One click and bang! Up pops my editor, I drop in a few pithy comments, and instant post!
Well, okay, so I had the ‘press this’ thing for a while now, but I didn’t actually use it because the one from Tumblr is so wonky it hardly works at all and I figured this one was probably going to be wonky too.
But it works!
Oh brother, you’re in trouble now…