It's a big weekend for the smug and self-congratulatory. Saturday is Record Store Day, a celebration of crass consumerism and the fetishization of impractical and outdated technology. Sunday is Earth Day, when big-money corporate marketers will exploit our best intentions and smiling children in face paint to gin up interest in their products. Which is better? Let's review the facts.
The first EARTH DAY was founded by U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson in 1970. Nelson is also known for presiding over politicized hearings about the "danger" of birth-control pills. Only men testified at his hearings, feminist activists disrupted them, and the pill stayed on shelves.
Metallica kicked off the first RECORD STORE DAY in 2008 with a concert at a Northern California record shop. The band's drummer, Lars Ulrich, would like you to give him your money and will sue someone if you don't.
Celebrating two decades in 1990, EARTH DAY organizers split into two rival groups, each sniping at the other's corporate sponsors. The more honorable group set its big party in Washington state and tapped noted environmentalist John Ratzenberger (Cliff from Cheers) to emcee.
By 2010, RECORD STORE DAY was both a cultural touchstone and a cash cow as stores doubled profits from a typical Saturday. Sensing opportunity, organizers launched a spinoff, "Black Friday Record Store Day," to get a piece of holiday shoppers too cool to wait in line for $49 Blu-Ray players.
Bridgestone, one of the world's largest tire makers, is sponsoring a big EARTH DAY party on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The company operates rubber plantations all over the world and manufactures tires primarily for gasoline-powered automobiles.
Katy Perry will release a special remix of "Part of Me" on pink vinyl for RECORD STORE DAY. It will be delivered on a big truck and will never decompose. (It is also available on iTunes for 99 cents.)
GO: Earth Day events are listed throughout this week's paper. Record Store Day events are here.
THURSDAY, APRIL 19
FRIDAY, APRIL 20
SATURDAY, APRIL 21
SUNDAY, APRIL 22