no experts, no bibles

The term “dumpster diving” was coined by gonzo journalist John Hoffman in his 1992 book The Art and Science of Dumpster Diving, a how-to guide that has become the committed diver’s bible.
-Kamilla Pietrzyk in her article Freegansim: Food for Mind, Body and Soul

Damn it Peitrzyk, there may be a couple of metaphorical dumpster gods, but there is no dumpster bible. I shudder to see the word “bible” used to mean “tome of all-important knowledge on any given subject.” Shame on you.

Not only does this quote irritate me, but the quoted book does as well, even as it defiantly eyes me from across the table. (“You bought me!” it says. “Hahahaha. Got ya.” “Thank god I bought you second hand for almost nothing,” I spit back. And it is turning out to be about equal parts of amusing and irritating.) Point is, dumpster diving, as practiced by gorillas et al, is not something you need a guidebook for because that implies that you, the uninitiated potential diver, could not possibly figure it out yourself without the help of a published expert. This is ridiculous. Get on your bike and start opening lids. The rest will follow. Experts are highly over-rated. The cornucopias treasures to be found in the trash are not.

0 Comments on “no experts, no bibles

  1. While editing one part of the hitchhiking series I was like, “Dang, what if nobody believes us? I should interview an expert!” One second later: “..We ARE the experts!” Big grin. I then made a mini-pledge to only produce radio shows about things that couldn’t possibly have “experts.” I got so used to interviewing “knowledgable professionals” in their “chosen fields,” from politicians to scientists to environmental types to whomever. But obviously credability does not stem from how long you have been doing something (or how much you paid to go to school to get the piece of paper that makes other people believe you to have some sort of intimate relationship to the subject) but from the spirit which drives you to do it.

    Another thought: when I make silly how-tos about stuff like de-sleeving and sewing shirts, it’s obvious to me that anyone with two centimeters (metric!) of gumption could frickin sew. It’s more about presenting the idea that, “Hey, you can do this if you wanna!” The whole culture of DIY is… do it yourself, yo! Learn by doing! If the book had tons of rad history and/or interviews with people or nudge-you-to-the-next-step kinda prophetic advice, that’d be cool… but whole books advising on things that are supposed to be guerilla and spontaneous is kinda weird.

  2. As someome who fell in love with dumpsters during the 1960s, I lament the technological changes that had an irrevocable effect on my trashy life. I’m referring to the shift from large 10-20 yard, open-topped dumspsters to ones that were entirely enclosed and fitted with automatic compressors. Not only were the older dumpsters sources of untold loot, but they were a form of entertainment as well. When we encountered one that contained mostly dry goods (cardboard, paper and such)it became our gymnastic playground. I fondly remember practicing my front and backflips off the dumpster rim into the cushioning and forgiving depths of the iron clad abyss, while companions lounging on pillowy detritus passed judgement on my performance. Or re-enacting the classic scene from every hokey Robin Hood movie ever made – the one where Robin and Little John battle one another with cudgels on the log bridge across a stream – yield to me ye knave! Doesn’t anyone know how to have fun anymore?

  3. i remember how i used to be afraid of dumpstering alone…and then i finally went and it was glorious. i didnt need anyone and there were no dumpster monsters. when my new housemate sue moved in, the same fear grabbed her. she couldnt go without me or someone else, until i finally convinced her.then there were cake fights FOREVER

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