Magazine article The Christian Century

It's the Real Thing

Magazine article The Christian Century

It's the Real Thing

Article excerpt

The New York Times reported (August 6) that several cities are now bottling and selling water from the municipal supply, and people are buying it. Houston, for example, is packaging its water in bottles labeled "Superior Water." The market for bottled water is $4 billion a year. Never mind that some of it is impure (remember the Perrier scandal of a few years ago?). Never mind that most bottled waters do not contain fluoride, which is added to many public water supplies for the sake of dental health. Mind that officials in Kansas City and North Miami Beach may charge $1 a quart or more for bottled versions of tap water.

Nothing is wrong with the tap water in these cities, officials insist. And nothing is done to improve the water when it is bottled. Municipal leaders in Houston, who laughed at people who bought brands of bottled water that might not have been as good as the town's public supply, now want to get in on the action. "We just note that for whatever reason, people seem to like to get their water out of bottles these days."

I remember reading once that more people in Washington, D.C., watched an eclipse of the moon on TV than looked out the window at the plainly visible real thing. Perhaps, for whatever reason, people seem to like to get their vision of the world from the television screen, not from the world.

Sometimes practicality dictates ersatzism. Howard Reich observed in the Chicago Tribune (August 17) that "the savviest listeners" at the city's outdoor concerts relied on headphones. …

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