[Franke James] continues to encourage readers to…tackle the hardest thing first, which in James’ case was getting rid of her beloved silver 1999 Toyota 4Runner SUV. The decision was partly environmentally motivated, part practicality- her two children, David and Bronwyn, 26 and 21 years respectively had long moved out of the house and therefore didn’t need shuttling. For James, this was her first environmental sacrificial act, one which laid the foundation for her further feats of activism. (greenliving magazine, “There’s Something About Franke”, Fall 2009, p. 35)

Oh Franke. Oh please. Please, I can’t bear it. What did you do next? After getting rid of your beloved SUV? Oh God. Allow me to stab myself in the neck and let my blood pour at the tires of your beloved SUV, your greatest, hardest sacrifice. How could you? The SUV? Which still has purple sparkly hearts Bronwyn inked on the back doors, which still smelt (so sweetly) of David’s hockey gear? You sold it? For the environment? After twenty years of driving it? Oh no- but how- I can`t understand- what kind of woman- oh my god – a saint? Yes- an environmental crusader! Oh I feel so inspired- I shall sell my SUV tomorrow- no- right now- let me put an ad on Kijiji- oh I forgot- sorry – I don’t have a SUV, can’t afford one, can’t afford the gas bills (I shuttle my kids in a small ordinary non-SUV car)- sorry – no SUV sale for me- my life blood will have to do. Perhaps you can use it to enrich the organic compost you keep in your huge garden, by the side of your organic bed of kale.  But first, let us read about your “further feats of activism”. What more could possibly follow such a hard sacrifice? I personally think you have done your part for the environment. You don’t need to compost a single tea bag more(of organic chamomile and rooibos) – you will be allowed in green heaven.

No. Not Franke James. Not this amazing lady crusader.

“Any profile on James would be remiss if it didn’t tell the story of her driveway” (Yes! Please tell me the story about her driveway!) “It begins with James on a simple mission to break up her enormous 34-feet wide interlocking driveway” (What? Why so big? How many SUVs needed to drive up that driveway? How big is the house that goes with that “enormous  driveway? OK- no more interruptions- let’s see what she did with the broken-up driveway- perhaps she donated the pieces to some poor black people living in an African village, to build a well or a school, or something else nice? Bicycles? Can you build bicycles from broken-up driveways? Or maybe sanitary napkins for black teenage girls?) – “and replace it with Japanese blood grass, dogwood and a stone path to her front door…”

Japanese Blood Grass! Dogweed! A Stone Path! Driveway! Front Door! Do you get it? Do you get what this amazing “environmental artist and activist” just did? “Creativity”! “Dazzling”! Giving up her SUV! Japanese blood grass! Poor People! Don`t have SUVs! Or 34-feet driveways! Rich people! Active for the Environment! Dazzling! Dogweed! Newspapers! Photogenic blond rich white woman! Plants dogweed in her driveway! Creative! Saviour!

“James asks ‘Can social pressure  bring about real and lasting environmental change?’ ”

Just water those dogweeds in your enormous driveway, honey. Just water the dogweeds.


One comment

  1. thenewcomer

    Disclaimer: I do not know Franke James personally, and I don’t know anything about her beyond what I read in this article. This blog post should not be read as a personal attack. It is a gut reaction to the depiction of this woman in particular and environment activism in general, as portrayed by the frankly nauseating magazine article referenced above.

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