That Stephen Colbert is dishing it out again… Because many of my friends know I’m a dumpster diver, or “freegan,” I heard from multiple sources that Colbert was making fun of my ilk on his show this week, saying, “I’m not going to stand by and let these human rats live off our waste.” Since I don’t have cable, I didn’t see the segment until I watched it online today over a tasty lunch that included smoked trout and chevre (goat cheese, that is—I had been eating lobster bisque all week and was kind of tired of it) all courtesy—you guessed it—of my nocturnal scavenings. And yes, the irony was also delicious.
But I haven’t been so outraged since Colbert mocked our presidential candidates forum. And by outraged, I mean gratified by the free satirical publicity—which is second only to imitation as the sincerest form of flattery.
Now, as a person who gets 95 percent of my groceries from dumpster diving, I’m used to misunderstandings about the safety and legality of this lifestyle, but Colbert cut right to the heart of the matter, citing a recent New York Times article and taking issue with those who are “living off consumer waste in an effort to minimize their support of corporations and their impact on the planet.” (Sorry, you can’t read the article for free online anymore—maybe you can find it in your neighbor’s recycling bin.)
Colbert may mock our efforts to “stick it to the man,” but maybe he’d be more sympathetic if he read my article in last year’s Sojourners special issue on food. In it, I cite Jesus’ teachings on simple living as one of the motivators behind my dumpster diet. Is Colbert going to argue with Jesus? Actually, I’d like to see that.
And Stephen, there’s still plenty of smoked trout in the freezer, and you’re always welcome to come over for dinner … if you dare.
Ryan Rodrick Beiler is the web editor for Sojourners/Call to Renewal.