The Story of Stuff

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The Story of Stuff is a short video by liberal activist and filmmaker Annie Leonard purporting to explain the consumeristic society in the United States and how it is environmentally unsustainable. The video also purports to demonstrate the life cycle of manufactured goods, from extraction to disposal.

The video has come under fire for multiple serious inaccuracies, and at times the video appears more like an anti-capitalist invective. Despite this, it is commonly shown public school classrooms in America, and it has been translated into numerous other languages.

Examples of Over-the-Top Rhetoric and Inaccuracies

  • When discussing production, the video states matter-of-factly, "We use energy to mix toxic chemicals in with the natural resources to make toxic contaminated products.”
  • When describing planned obsolescence, the film claims that the processor or CPU is the part of a computer that causes it to be obsolete. It also claims that new processors are made in different shapes to prevent them from being backward-compatible with older computers. This is essentially dishonest; almost all the parts of a computer eventually become obsolete, not just the processor. Furthermore, even if new processors did physically fit into old computers, it would be extremely difficult for manufacturers to make them backward-compatible. A computer is like a single unit, and one new part can't just be installed in place of an older part, because their software capabilities (e.g. architectures, interfaces, etc. are often quite different.

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