Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Oscar the Cultural Archeologist

image from www.dltk-kids.com's Sesame Street craft pages. "Hey kids! Your trash speaks volumes about you!" [Image from dltk-kids.com craft pages]
"Though garbology remains a relatively unplumbed subject, several colleges and universities offer courses that look at what people throw away and how it reflects who they are." -- Tina Kelley; Class at N.Y.U. Looks for Deeper Meaning at Fresh Kills; The New York Times; Mar 23, 2000.
Garbage isn't simple refuse anymore. It's a cultural record. If you check over in the right column, you'll see (after scrolling down a bit) that I have a link for A.Word.A.Day. Today's word, garbology, is rather interesting. I had no idea there was actually a word -- let alone a course of study -- for such a phenomenon. Usually, the picture I have for someone engaged in rooting through trash is either one of the "dumpster diver" or the identity thief. Garbologists may change that presupposition. There is an Official Garbology Webpage, a page dedicated to adventures in garbology, and even some suggestions for professional development. As we are living in the first society that is threatened to be buried by its own refuse, garbology is certainly a timely branch of study.

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