Source – filmsforaction.org
– AFFLUENZA is a groundbreaking film that diagnoses a serious social disease – caused by consumerism, commercialism and rampant materialism – that is having a devastating impact on our families, communities, and the environment. We have more stuff, but less time, and our quality of life seems to be deteriorating. By using personal stories, expert commentary, hilarious old film clips, and “uncommercial” breaks to illuminate the nature and extent of the disease, AFFLUENZA has appealed to widely diverse audiences: from freshmen orientation programs to consumer credit counseling, and from religious congregations to marketing classes.
With the help of historians and archival film, AFFLUENZA reveals the forces that have dramatically transformed us from a nation that prized thriftiness – with strong beliefs in “plain living and high thinking” – into the ultimate consumer society.
The program ends with a prescription to cure the disease. A growing number of people are opting out of the consumer chase, and choosing “voluntary simplicity” instead. They are working and shopping less, spending more time with friends and family, volunteering in their communities, and enjoying their lives more.
Other films by John de Graaf are ESCAPE FROM AFFLUENZA,BUYER BE FAIR, SILENT KILLER: The Unfinished Campaign against Hunger, THE MOTHERHOOD MANIFESTO, BEYOND ORGANIC, ON NATURE’S TERMS, HOT POTATOES, FOR EARTH’S SAKE: The Life and Times of David Brower, DAVID BROWER: A Conversation with Scott Simon, and WHAT’S THE ECONOMY FOR, ANYWAY?.
A Texas teen claims “affluenza” rendered him blameless in a fatal DUI crash
His story made national headlines after a witness claimed Couch was a victim of “affluenza” — the product of wealthy, privileged parents who never set limits for the boy:
A judge on Wednesday ordered that Ethan Couch — who drove drunk and caused a crash, killing four people and injuring two — go to a lock-down residential treatment facility.
State District Judge Jean Boyd had already decided the Texas teenager would serve no jail time. He was sentenced last year to 10 years’ probation.
His story made national headlines after a witness claimed Couch was a victim of “affluenza” — the product of wealthy, privileged parents who never set limits for the boy.
That particular defense, however, played no part in the judge’s decision, Couch’s lawyer told reporters on Wednesday. Court proceedings were closed to the public.
“She (Boyd) said it (affluenza), and specifically mentioned that that was not a basis for her decision,” said attorney Reagan Wynn. “She heard all the evidence and she made what she thought was the appropriate disposition.”
The judge ordered that Couch’s parents pay for the treatment facility, which was not identified. It was also unclear how long Couch might stay there.
As part of his probation, the teen must refrain from using drugs or alcohol. He will also not be allowed to drive. If Couch violates the terms of his probation, he could face up to 10 years behind bars.
“I think he can be rehabilitated given intensive therapy and I hope that he gets it,” Wynn said about the teen. “The juvenile system is about rehabilitation and if it’s going to be about rehabilitation, she (Boyd) absolutely made the right decision.”
Eric Boyles, who lost his wife and daughter in the crash, disagrees.
He told reporters he has no doubt that money played a role in the case.
“Had he (Couch) not had money to have the defense there, to also have the experts testify, and also offer to pay for the treatment, I think the results would have been different,” he said Wednesday after the proceedings.
Last June, his wife, Hollie Boyles, and daughter, Shelby, left their home to help Breanna Mitchell, whose SUV had broken down. Brian Jennings, a youth pastor, was driving past and also stopped to help.
All four were killed when the teen’s pickup plowed into the pedestrians on a road in Burleson, south of Fort Worth. Couch’s vehicle also struck a parked car, which then slid into another vehicle headed in the opposite direction.
Two people riding in the bed of the teen’s pickup were tossed in the crash and severely injured. One is no longer able to move or talk because of a brain injury, while the other suffered internal injuries and broken bones.
According to prosecutors, three hours after the crash, tests showed Couch had a blood alcohol content of 0.24, three times the legal limit.
“There has been nothing from Ethan from these proceedings with regards to remorse on his part at all — that I do think would have helped. It would have helped the victims. No doubt about it, it would have helped,” said Boyles.
Prosecutors were similarly disappointed with the judge’s decision.
They had asked for the maximum of 20 years behind bars.
“This has been a very frustrating experience for me,” said prosecutor Richard Alpert. “I’m used to a system where the victims have a voice and their needs are strongly considered. The way the system down here is currently handled, the way the law is, almost all the focus is on the offender.”