Oprah on Thurs--What would you dare live without? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 26 Old 04-16-2008, 06:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I hope it's OK to post this here (as opposed to the TV forum) as I thought readers here in particular might like to watch this show tomorrow.

The question being asked is "What does it take to live comfortably?" Two families overhaul their daily habits to cut back on wastefulness for a one week experiment. Ways for all people to cut back their consumption are going to be examined.

I think it will be interesting to watch the changes in these families (if my toddler lets me that is ) and to feel good about continuing my own simplification journey.

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#2 of 26 Old 04-16-2008, 06:22 PM
 
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Sounds interesting.

Thanks for posting this. I usually don't even have the TV on in the afternoon, so I sometimes miss things I'd like to watch.

Although, even though I sort of like Oprah, I wonder how far they are going to take it. I think our view of 'living without' is far different than the average American's view of 'living without' - and that is the audience they are going to try to cater to.

So I wonder if it'll just be not using paper plates and eating leftovers, or if it'll be more. I'm already very familiar with the latter. I hope they can dig deeper.
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#3 of 26 Old 04-17-2008, 12:50 AM
 
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Oprah is hit and miss - for me.
I hope she can really get into the real way of living without the 'wants' and realizing what 'needs' really are. I'll watch to find out.

I am all too familiar with living without. We have both been out of work for 8 months...ran out of savings...sold nearly everything we own...had to move in with relatives (2 adults and our 2 sons)... My husband has had one temp job that lasted a month and then has provided a little unemployment for the last 3 months but only enough for the basics - diapers - TP - soap - resume paper - diapers - baby wipes - launry soap - You get the idea.

I have discovered over the last year that most of the things I used to have were optional, even though I used to see them all as nessesary. I have always been thrifty but an extended unemploymant has brought me through the most challenging times I could ever imagine. Everything I own in in a line of boxes along the wall in my relative's garage. Except the bunk beds for the kids and a mattress and chest of drawers for us. It is humbling but also feels liberating at the same time.
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#4 of 26 Old 04-17-2008, 02:06 AM
 
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Thanks for the heads up! I don't usually watch oprah but this sounds interesting!
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#5 of 26 Old 04-17-2008, 09:44 AM
 
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I saw this was going to be on tv, too. Thanks for posting. I love Oprah for bringing these and other issues to a wider audience. Sometimes the show is hit and miss, but I think overall Oprah covers many good topics.

I really like her approach to issues...I would be surprised if she didn't have a good show on this topic, as well.
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#6 of 26 Old 04-17-2008, 12:40 PM
 
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Thanks for the heads-up, lady! I will definitely check it out -- I'm very curious to see what they end up with
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#7 of 26 Old 04-17-2008, 12:46 PM
 
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we only get pbs here... so will miss this... please post about what happens!!!
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#8 of 26 Old 04-17-2008, 08:19 PM
 
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Well, it was just as I figured.

A lot of fluff that didn't even cover the 'living without' that most of us do.

I thought it was funny because in my pp I said it would be about giving up paper plates and eating leftovers, and Oprah took away the paper cups from her staff, and the lady with the 75 pairs of strappy sandals started brown bagging her lunch. Funny!

I would have loved to see a show where people REALLY take it to the minimun needed. That would be so interesting. I guess that's why I liked all those PBS documentaries like Frontier House.

I guess I should note that I missed the first half, but I think I got the general gist of it. No one was making their own laundry detergent or eating rice & beans.
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#9 of 26 Old 04-17-2008, 08:26 PM
 
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[QUOTE=zersha;11014925]Well, it was just as I figured.

A lot of fluff that didn't even cover the 'living without' that most of us do.

I was disppointed too. These were not examples of doing without. It was more of a reduction in wastefullness for the families. It really takes an extended period of time to use up those things that most homes have excess of to begin to realize what doing without and living simple really means.
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#10 of 26 Old 04-17-2008, 08:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by zersha View Post
Well, it was just as I figured.

A lot of fluff that didn't even cover the 'living without' that most of us do.

I thought it was funny because in my pp I said it would be about giving up paper plates and eating leftovers, and Oprah took away the paper cups from her staff, and the lady with the 75 pairs of strappy sandals started brown bagging her lunch. Funny!

I would have loved to see a show where people REALLY take it to the minimun needed. That would be so interesting. I guess that's why I liked all those PBS documentaries like Frontier House.

I guess I should note that I missed the first half, but I think I got the general gist of it. No one was making their own laundry detergent or eating rice & beans.
I know what you're saying...but that's what MDC is for...the more hardcore among us. We've been at this a little longer, or at least thinking about it a little longer.

I think to make it appealing to a larger audience, you have to present it the way Oprah did.

I actually think she did a pretty good job...it takes baby steps to get most people to even think about this (sad, but true).

I was impressed with how much change the families made in a week's time, especially when it came to the children's activities like tv and video games. This is major culture shock and deprivation for some!

I think Oprah was just planting seeds...

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#11 of 26 Old 04-17-2008, 08:30 PM
 
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I was disppointed too. These were not examples of doing without. It was more of a reduction in wastefullness for the families. It really takes an extended period of time to use up those things that most homes have excess of to begin to realize what doing without and living simple really means.
True.

I see what you're saying.

I just wonder if people can go from using paper plates, etc and buying Monolo Blahniks (spelling?) to eating rice and beans and making their own soap.

That's like going from zero to 60 in 2 seconds.

Changes like that take time.

Even the environmental shows Oprah did are kind of pea green in color, but then maybe people get a darker and darker shade of green.

I think it's about planting the seed, and making it appealing to people. You know, to get people actually thinking about it...because unfortunately most people don't even give it a thought.
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#12 of 26 Old 04-17-2008, 08:35 PM
 
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Yes, I suppose everyone has to start thinking about it from different levels. I guess I have never been where the featured families were to begin with so some of the changes they made seemed like they were just averaging out instead of making the whose step out of consumerism and wasteful ways of living. baby steps work for some people - others just jump in head first.
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#13 of 26 Old 04-17-2008, 08:38 PM
 
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Yes, I suppose everyone has to start thinking about it from different levels. I guess I have never been where the featured families were to begin with so some of the changes they made seemed like they were just averaging out instead of making the whose step out of consumerism and wasteful ways of living. baby steps work for some people - others just jump in head first.


:

I completely agree. I've never been at those points either, nor do I want to be, but I do know a few people who are. Trust me, they are out there!

So, Oprah took what were easy examples and made it easy for people to get interested and take baby steps. I'm sure her approach was well thought out and strategic. She is very good at capturing an audience.

What impresses me about Oprah is that she tries...she tries really, really hard...when a lot of mainstream media does not. She tackles issues and brings them to a wide, mainstream audience that maybe PBS or NPR or Anderson Cooper might do, but not too many other news outlets (other than print).

Oprah = credibility in this country. She got this country reading and now I think she'll get this country to turn greener, even if it's light green to begin with. I think it's fantastic that she is talking about this issue, as well as other green issues. I really like her and her message.
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#14 of 26 Old 04-17-2008, 09:30 PM
 
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So what does Oprah "do without" ?
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#15 of 26 Old 04-17-2008, 10:15 PM
 
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I couldn't believe how much food the first family wasted/threw away...I was ashamed FOR them.

I've always been what one might call a "semi-consumer". On occasion, I like buying nice things; at times, I spend money I shouldn't on items I don't really need...but come on, 75 pairs of anything is absolutely ridiculous. Watching today's Oprah show served to reinforce my determination to simplify and streamline many areas in my life.

As for the intent of Ms. O...well, I look at it like this: if she can make even a few people rethink the way they live and how much they consume, then the show was well worth airing.

Like a PP mentioned, the seeds of change are being sown...and the crisis of our planet was not created overnight, nor will it be solved without time and consistent effort.

Rome was not built in a day, y'all
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#16 of 26 Old 04-17-2008, 10:24 PM
 
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As for the intent of Ms. O...well, I look at it like this: if she can make even a few people rethink the way they live and how much they consume, then the show was well worth airing.

Like a PP mentioned, the seeds of change are being sown...and the crisis of our planet was not created overnight, nor will it be solved without time and consistent effort.


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#17 of 26 Old 04-17-2008, 10:25 PM
 
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So what does Oprah "do without" ?
I can't think of the exact things right now, but last year for Oprah's Earth Day special, she talked about what she was doing to green her life.

She's having another show on Earth Day this year...maybe she'll address what she herself does.

I know she is more interested in global issues now, including climate change. And she is trying to spread the word.

Many day time talk shows would not touch this subject.
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#18 of 26 Old 04-17-2008, 11:02 PM
 
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I'm going to agree with the general sentiment about Oprah. She has done a lot with getting mainstream America to stop focusing on themselves and spending all their money at the mall. Like a pp said - baby steps.

I did watch this show and was absolutely appalled at the general waste that these 2 families generated. I was also very proud of them for sticking to it for the week and making some life changes afterward.
I was thinking that the "severe" challenge that they all had such a problem with was how we live all the time. We do watch more than one hour of tv a day....but there's lots of days when it doesn't get turned on until nighttime, and my 4yo doesn't complain about it. We always eat our leftovers, we rarely go out to eat, and almost never (only when there's no other option and we're not at home) buy bottled water. We recycle, and turn off lights/unplug small things when we're done with them. Seems simple enough!

I'm happy that Oprah - once again - has people talking about intentional living and what WE can do individually to help the whole.

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#19 of 26 Old 04-17-2008, 11:52 PM
 
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I'm happy that Oprah - once again - has people talking about intentional living and what WE can do individually to help the whole.


Exactly. I think she is changing American mindset in a big way.
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#20 of 26 Old 04-18-2008, 03:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I couldn't believe how much food the first family wasted/threw away...I was ashamed FOR them.
Me too, I was literally at the TV!

I thought these families were ridiculous caricatures of over consumption, but I guess they were chosen for shock value and it worked. I sure hope they are not an accurate representation of an average American family : It's just shocking to me how people could live that way and be OK with it.

It was good to see some awareness develop in the families after just one week--especially the second family with young children. Those kids were like little Zen masters after being unplugged from tons of media and listened to and loved instead, hope that wakes up a few parents out there!

I do appreciate Oprah's efforts to elevate public consciousness and glad she got people thinking about these issues--first with the Freegan show a few weeks ago (http://freegan.info/) and then this.

She is one of my sheros

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#21 of 26 Old 04-18-2008, 03:42 AM
 
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Well, you know, its funny. You guys mentioned what a culture shock it was for the family to be without some much and all I could think was "Geez, maybe they should have gone Survivor-style. They maybe they'll really appreciate what they have" Especially food That was crazy!
These people really don't have a clue. Especially the children.


I wonder if part of Oprah's weight problem is due to her disdain of waste? I grew with a similar attitude, I hate waste, it drives me nuts! Consequently, I end up eating a lot of food, in an effort not to waste it. KWIM? It makes it very hard for me NOT to clean my plate. And leftovers the next day, and any open boxes/cans/ perishable goods, asap. \
hmmm food for thought.

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#22 of 26 Old 04-18-2008, 04:07 AM
 
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I do appreciate Oprah's efforts to elevate public consciousness and glad she got people thinking about these issues--first with the Freegan show a few weeks ago (http://freegan.info/) and then this.

She is one of my sheros

Oh, thank you! We no longer have cable and I didn't know such a thing existed. But, lo and behold I am a freegan and didn't even know it!!! Now I can show this to my husband and maybe my trash swiping won't embarrass him so much anymore. Okay, I doubt that. But, thanks all the same for posting that link!
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#23 of 26 Old 04-18-2008, 11:46 AM
 
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I missed the show on Freegans...it sounds like a good one too. I only watch Oprah occasionally, but her programming is usually quite good.

As I said in an earlier post, I really applaud her for showcasing this topic, and other environmental and personal growth topics. I really like what she's done to make people interested in charity work, literature, and the bigger picture! She is great.

One thing that is a bit incongruous about the reducing excess show is that Oprah has also done some shows on fashion, etc and reclaiming the better you type make-overs. While I think these are very valuable shows for women who are suffering from low confidence or low self-esteem or who aren't taking time to care from themselves (like a lot of us, myself included), I think it sends a bit of a mixed message. The fashion type shows always show the then and now improvements in the form of designer/expensive clothing that most of us can't afford.

So, if we can't afford it and then we try to live up to that ideal, only to have to go on Oprah's debt diet later on, it's kind of imbalanced. And can the planet ever really afford this?

I know that personally, I can project the image of looking good and investing in myself if I spend $$$. When I try to live frugally and shop second hand or don't spend anything on hair, make-up, etc then I probably look like what most people would consider frumpy or outdated or just not in style. I'm not saying it's impossible to look hip and beautiful without spending money...just harder to do on Freecycle alone, if you know what I mean.

I'm guessing Oprah is trying to promote balance, and intentional or conscious awareness of ourselves living with the rest of the world, which I totally understand.
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#24 of 26 Old 04-18-2008, 11:56 AM
 
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I could not believe people actually lived that way. My DH and I could not believe the waste and that the husband actually bought a new tv for his daughter.

Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.
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#25 of 26 Old 04-18-2008, 12:03 PM
 
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I meant to watch this but I guess I didn't miss too much. I was hoping to find more inspiration but it sounds like I'm not doing too badly . As long as it gets others thinking.
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#26 of 26 Old 04-18-2008, 09:39 PM
 
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I thought it was great. Although I'm really "hardcore" when it comes to birth/women's issues/no-circ/no-vax, I'm still kind of pea-soup green

Although, yeah, I think the families were picked for shock value; I'd hope the average family is not that excessive. The 100 tshirts and buying the dd a brand new TV and the dd being in her room with 5 electronic items going at once.

So... today the kids and I took the train to the library uptown, I packed us all sandwiches instead of buying food while we were out, I brought water in a bottle, and it felt pretty good!

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