Well, tennis first. I saw a real live tennis match last night. The "Bank of the West Open" was going on at Stanford U., where I was visiting my parents (my dad was teaching in a "trial academy" there last week). My dad likes tennis a lot, so he took us to the match that was going on last night, which was a semifinal match. It's an all-women's tournament. The match was between Samantha Stosur (an Australian who beat Serena Williams the day before) and Marion Bartoli (a Frenchperson). We rooted for Stosur, because Bartoli is apparently kind of a jerk, and also a Frenchperson*. She lost, 6-3, 1-6, 6-1.
*You should know that the Frenchpeople are out to get my dad. Their leader is Al Gore. It's like a gang of villains. Al Gore and the French. See, as bears are to me, Al Gore and the French are to my dad, in that they're things we hate and are terrified of, while everyone else thinks we're nuts. (I'll let you draw your own conclusions.) I should draw some cartoons about this sometime.
I had only seen a tennis match once before, I think. It was fun to watch. It's very different: everyone is quiet the whole time! I mean, if you made a loud noise, I guess you'd startle the tennisers. The stadium is pretty small. It's kinda genteel, but my game of "count the not-white people" actually turned out a pretty high number. And tennis itself has a lot of quirky rules and stuff, which is kind of fun. (for the record, I think I'd enjoy 43-Man Squamish.)
Also, I can't post a thing without linking a few times, so here's a Good article about fair-priced ipods. Would I pay more for a fair-trade ipod? Super yes. See, consumption is difficult nowadays (I mean buying stuff, not tuberculosis). Either you consider not only price and surface attributes but also all the effects of your purchase (which is hard), or you just add to the problem (which sucks). If you had the option to know that you're not adding to the problem, that would be really nice, and it would make buying things easy.
Which sort of leads into my Grand Theory of Economics, which is slowly congealing: markets are The Best, but you shouldn't be allowed to "cheat" (where I will define "cheat" myself in a bit). I mean, I believe a free market would give us the best mp3 player for the best price, and the best company would win. This is great. But then, if one company starts using sweatshops and another isn't, the sweatshop one can offer mp3 players cheaper, and they'll win, even if their mp3 players are worse. Eventually this will lead to everyone using sweatshop labor or else going out of business. This is bad.
What does "cheat" mean? Do something unsustainable to the environment or dehumanizing to people. Sweatshops: obv cheating. Using unrecycled paper when recycled paper will do: also cheating. Dumping toxic waste when a non-toxic option exists: cheating.
Okay, arguers: yes this leads to a ton of super gray areas. And no, this will probably never happen. I can't refute either of these arguments. But I will refute the "but poor people can't afford things if they get more expensive" argument here: people being poor is a separate problem. Things (and particular food, if you couldn't already tell that this was part of the argument) should cost what they cost to produce ethically, cleanly, etc. If poor people can't afford food, we should give out more food stamps or whatever; solve poverty separately from the food supply. If poor people can't afford mp3 players, tough.
I'm a little caffeinated right now (bought a coffee from an airport stand where "small" meant 16oz. what.) so my argument is a little jumpy and I'm a little idealistic; and I don't want to continue this post now. Just, you know, throwing out some sustainably-produced food for thought.