Re: Linda Tirado

1

Oh, thank you for putting that up -- I sort of vaguely wanted to, and didn't get around to it.

All the "hoax" and "scam" stuff seems way out of line. She wasn't actively trying to raise money with the initial post; people just started sending it to her. And pretty much nothing she wrote was at all contradicted by the stuff people found out about her to say that she wasn't really poor: having been sent to private school as a kid doesn't make you not poor as an adult.

Some bits of the original essay looked hyperbolic in a bullshitty way to me, but being hyperbolic in a bullshitty way doesn't make you a con artist.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-12-13 9:06 AM
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1.last is pretty much my take. She was making a point and using her own life as an example. The fact that things have gotten better (due to her preexisting social capital) isn't really relevant. People do fall from solid middle class status into poverty, so it's not like she's some extreme outlier. My own family had a bout with poverty that was mitigated only by the fact we could stay with my grandma. Without that we'd have been royally hosed, and as is we were eating government cheese and food bank food.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 12-12-13 9:14 AM
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The fact that things have gotten better (due to her preexisting social capital) isn't really relevant.

Although she does go on about the hopelessness and certainty that for all generations to come, they will be trapped in the poverty cycle.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-12-13 9:16 AM
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Well, you can feel hopeless without being correct that there actually is no hope for real, and you can also be pulled a bit out of grinding poverty into functional workingclassdom without being safe going forward -- the reports that she was doing just great now still sounded very precarious to me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-12-13 9:24 AM
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I'm glad to see that. I liked the original piece, was aware that there's been a bit of a storm about it, which I have only half followed, but I'd been somewhat suspicious because the caveat that she appended to the original post felt awfully cagy:

Because I am getting tired of people not reading this and then commenting anyway, I am making a few things clear: not all of this piece is about me. That is why I said that they were observations. And this piece is not all of me: that is why I said that they were random observations rather than complete ones.

That doesn't actually make much clear.

But skimming the posts at gofundme that are linked in that article they seem much more open (they still set off my "verbal slight of hand" detector occasionally, but not much). That's reassuring.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12-12-13 9:40 AM
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Since I think I was the one who originally linked the counter-narrative here, am glad to see that the counter-counter-narrative is being aired.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-12-13 9:42 AM
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The counter narrative is the one about skewering cockroaches on the counter. The counter counter narrative is the as-yet unwritten one about enumerating the skewered cockroaches.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 12-12-13 9:46 AM
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Interesting! The big takeaway is that a safety net that doesnt protect against fucking up is no safety net at all.

Incidentally, I think The Nation has been generally very good recently, probably the best magazine around currently, up from (my perception) generally a low point 10-15 years ago.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 12-12-13 9:55 AM
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9

and before i could argue him
out of his philosophy
he went and skewered me
on a counter
i did not agree with him
myself i would rather have
half the happiness and twice
the longevity

but at the same time i wish
there had been something i wanted
as badly as he wanted to skewer me


Posted by: zombie archy | Link to this comment | 12-12-13 9:55 AM
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The counter-narrative's main point was about the fundraising, though, right? They argued that the extra detail she appended to the fundraising page (which they acknowledged, and discussed) really didn't make it very clear that she was not, in fact, particularly poor at the moment, thus making the fact that she raised like a hundred grand on the basis of that essay a little shady.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-12-13 9:56 AM
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11

A little shady is a funny thing to say. I mean, it didn't occur to me to send her money myself, because on the internet no one knows you're a dog, I sort of assumed that it was more personal history than her immediate circumstances, and she wasn't specifically asking for it. I don't mean so much 'let the giver beware', but if someone's reaction to that essay was to want to give money to the writer, it seems out of line for a giver to react by saying that their misunderstanding of Tirado's circumstances means that Tirado scammed them.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-12-13 10:11 AM
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The big takeaway is that a safety net that doesnt protect against fucking up is no safety net at all.

This is well-put, and something I run up against in conversation all the time. The intense desire to ferret out who deserves help and who deserves punishment: let me show you Texas.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-12-13 10:14 AM
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11: well, the question I guess would be whether she had a sense that people would take that essay to describe her current circumstances but didn't do everything she could do to correct that impression.

I don't really have a dog in this fight -- I don't have a dog at all -- but that seems like the question that the debunking raised, and seems like a question that the de-debunking-bunking doesn't necessarily specifically or fully address.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-12-13 10:38 AM
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but didn't do everything she could do to correct that impression

Obviously she didn't. No one ever does everything they could possibly do, and if you start judging people by that standard we're all conmen.

But people who donated on the fundraising page were donating on a page saying "Poverty Thoughts -- The Book". It was presented as money to help her write, rather than so she could get the first good meal and warm bed she's had in her life.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-12-13 10:42 AM
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"Poverty Thoughts" makes me think of "Art Thoughts with Hennessy Youngman". I would totally buy that book.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-12-13 10:46 AM
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16

"Deep Thoughts, With Linda Povertey"


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12-12-13 10:55 AM
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17

You know what this reminds me of, a bit? The Elizabeth Warren Native American flap. What it seemed to come down to is that she'd said something accurate about her ancestry, readers had interpreted it really aggressively, and had then decided she was a scam artist because her truthful statements were misinterpretable.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-12-13 10:59 AM
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18

9 wins the internet forever.

This whole kerfuffle leaves me feeling that people have run out of stuff to talk about on a cosmic scale.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 12-12-13 11:01 AM
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16 made me laugh.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-12-13 11:42 AM
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Incidentally, I think The Nation has been generally very good recently. ... up from (my perception) generally a low point 10-15 years ago.

My impression matches the second part of that -- I swore off The Nation in 2000 when they were awfully close to the "no difference between Bush and Gore" position. I'm glad to hear that they've gotten better.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12-12-13 11:51 AM
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