Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

Song of the Week: "Paper Bag," for the City of LA's Bag Ban

Heal the Bay's
Heal the Bay's "A Day Without a Bag" attracts the attention of everyone from high school students to LA County Sheriff Lee Baca.
Heal the Bay

This is probably the most metaphorical song of the week ever here at Pacific Swell. It's for the on-again, off-again, will-they, won't-they, when's-it-ever-gonna-happen bag ban that's been plaguing LA City Council and its committees this week. "Paper Bag," by Fiona Apple.

I was staring at the sky, just looking for a star

To pray on, or wish on, or something like that

I was having a sweet fix of a daydream of a boy

Whose reality I knew, was a hopeless to be had

But then the dove of hope began it's downward slope

And I believed for a moment that my chances

Were approaching to be grabbed

But as it came down near, so did a weary tear

I thought it was a bird, but it was just a paper bag

I love the way that the paper bag represents false promise in this song. And not just because I, like a other people, waited around thinking something might happen at hours of committee and council meetings. The City of Los Angeles first said it was thinking of planning on doing something about single-use bags back in 2008. Mark Gold of Heal the Bay and 60 other people testified Wednesday they want to see that happen on the soonish side.

On the flip side, people who testify on the regular from worry that they're going to lose their jobs if single-use plastic bags get banned. Which, in the company's defense, they make a case for source reduction on their website.

Now the whole thing is going to come up for the last time in 2011 tomorrow at a special meeting of the Energy and Environment committee. The issue could roll into the full council meeting that follows too. Best case scenario for bag ban lovers is a spring 2012 ordinance...4 years after the first time they said this was really important. 

Also, today, countywide, is Heal the Bay's declared "A Day Without a Bag," which as a title sounds sad to me, mostly because I cleaned out my car recently and removed all the reusable bags (along with rechargeable batteries, pens with and without caps, a toothbrush, glitter, concert flyers, extra shoes of unknown provenance, a bb gun), and I had a real day without a bag, and I paid the idiot penalty by carrying my merch out of the grocery store in my arms. But that's not what "A Day Without a Bag" is about. Heal the Bay is giving away a lot of free stuff around town, check their site for more details.

But I digress. This song is really not about paper bags at all. It's about wanting something to happen really badly.

Hunger hurts, and I want him so bad, oh it kills

'cause I know I'm a mess he don't wanna clean up

I got to fold 'cause these hands are too shaky to hold

Hunger hurts, but starving works, when it costs too much to love

So, you might have been there anyway, regardless of where you are on the bag ban.

Listen to the whole increasingly-insane song of the week playlist.