The Guilt Industry

trees The Guilt IndustryFashion’s Night Out: did it make us feel good about buying stuff? Only time and Anna Wintour will tell. But we can all go back to feeling bad about consumption, because Colin Beavan’s No Impact Man opens today. According to the film’s website:

“A guilty New York liberal decides to practice what he preaches for one year. . . . and becomes a walking, bicycling, composting, tree hugging, polar bear saving, local food eating citizen.”

Of course, as A.O. Scott points out, Earth is perhaps not the sole beneficiary of Mr. Beavan’s travails:

“The year of doing something crazy to learn a lesson or prove a point is by now less a gimmick than a full-fledged publishing genre. Activities that would, in the course of ordinary life, count as modest or private undertakings acquire a special significance when they become the basis of book proposals.”

The American Dream! It lives.