What’s Wrong with a Plastic Pink Flamingo? A Q & A with Jennifer Price

Here’s a post that took me quite a while to put together for Grist, but which I forgot to include on my own site! Sometimes I’m so thick. Take a look…

Jenny Price is a nature writer, but unlike most of the species, she insists on writing about nature as it really exists in our lives. If that means writing about plastic pink flamingos asnd concrete-bound rivers; well, this is the nature we see in the 21st century.

Her dissertation from Yale she published as the remarkably thoughtful but witty Flight Maps. On the site LA Observed, she has a very popular guide to the half-secret access routes to the beaches of Malibu. For The Believer, she recently wrote a spectacular essay on the Los Angeles River, and in November published a tribute to the late great plastic flamingo for The New York Times ($) that concluded: "Rest in peace, my pink plastic friend. It was fun while it lasted."

She is a Guggenheim fellow whose writing takes chances, and can open minds. For Grist, she graciously consented to an interview via email, which went back and forth for nearly two weeks. Take a look:

KS:    Last month the Union Products factory that has been making the plastic pink flamingo for nearly fifty years shut down, and the inventor Don Featherstone said he thought his creation would soon become extinct. Can we use that word for something that was never alive in the first place?


JP:    Well, I think it’s more accurate to say it’s stopped reproducing.


Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

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