## Re: Snark This

1

So why is she not the poster child for "Stuff White People Like"?

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 10:57 AM
2

All I'm saying is, if you're going to troll your own blog, at least do it consistently.

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 10:59 AM
3

Hey, at least it's not a swimming post.

Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:00 AM
4

Ok, what's wrong with this post? Do you people even try anymore?

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:02 AM
5

The lesson--one you once imparted, back when you posted well--is that we don't understand "smart" all that well, and, whatever it is, it isn't quite as valuable as we'd like to believe. (How's that for snark?)

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:03 AM
6

This is Kotsko-bait.

Posted by: Pliggett Darcy | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:03 AM
7

Actually, it's Emerson bait - onward with the North Dakota diaspora.

Posted by: spaz | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:06 AM
8

4: this woman is exactly the kind of "do something useless but do-goody seeming for the poor" honky that you would -- were she to display a more cogent sort of intellectual pretension -- mock the heck out of.

I mean, she works in sports marketing, and has managed to get a story on cnn.com about all the good she's doing helping mentally ill homeless to take up jogging? Really? Is that so they can run away from the cops better?

She's the vimeo of charity work, is what she is.

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:07 AM
9

As Clive James says somewhere, "Throughout history, the thoughtful onlooker has been astonished at the man of action's empty head."

Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:08 AM
10

Tweety, I'm starting to think that you're a bad person.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:09 AM
11

8: I have a hard time believing that it harms the homeless, or that whatever discipline is gained by running doesn't help them, however little. She seems to be doing a good thing. It certainly doesn't seem like a bad thing.

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:10 AM
12

"Throughout history, the thoughtful onlooker has been astonished at the man of action's empty head."

That's pretty great.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:10 AM
13

They are doing job training, it doesn't seem useless to me. I supposed I was expected to feel cognitive dissonance about someone doing something objectively decent and yet lauding the brilliance of Friedman. So, after all the hullabaloo, maybe decentness is in a positive correlative relationship with anti-intellectualism.

Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:10 AM
14

OK, wait, let me try:

She's initiating the lumpenproletariat into a culture of hegemonic care of the self!

Posted by: Pliggett Darcy | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:12 AM
15

Oh I'm sure it's vaguely helpful in terms of providing mentally ill people with better cardiovascular health. That's wonderful, really. Helping the hard-core indigent -- those who've already managed to make a 30 day dent in drug and alcohol addiction -- to lay off the cigarettes will totally be a bonus, since they don't have the health insurance to pay for treatment for emphysema.

She's totally perky, too! Look at her leading that pack of grateful looking black men on the banner of her web site! What a hero!

Seriously if she was really committed she'd teach them pilates.

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:13 AM
16

Joggers are all morons, but it's cruel to just assume that the homeless are morons too. Many of them are perfectly sensible people who've had a bit of bad luck.

Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:14 AM
17

I am kind to children and animals, honest in my business dealings and charitable to strangers. I think ogged is a wise observer of the human condition.

Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:15 AM
18
"Do we need homes? Yes. We need jobs? Yes," she says. "But imagine if you didn't have anybody in your life who said, 'I'm really proud of you.' Back On My Feet does just that."

I'm going to start a services organization that goes to trash dumps in Lagos and hands out special gold stars that say "You're a winner!" to all the ten year olds picking through the garbage.

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:16 AM
19

Except I won't get my picture on cnn.com because I'm not adorably! perky!

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:16 AM
20

Some homeless guys were found burned to death recently at a vacant lot next to the place where I work. Another, rival group of transients supposedly killed them.

One of the guys at that encampment gave me the coffee mug I'm now using; he was afraid that the FBI was using it to eavesdrop on his conversations.

Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:17 AM
21

15: Are you seeing some harm?

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:18 AM
22

21: You mean, besides jogging?

Thanks for keeping the FBI confused, Michael.

Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:20 AM
23

Many people who do good works like Carlos Castaneda, too, or that fucking Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance book. Hell, my own dear dad was into The Da Vinci Code for a while. It's okay. No judgment.

I have to say that Sifu has it pretty much right, though. One of the most persistent features of the landscape of homelessness is the very well-meaning folks who show up from time to time with sweet, heartfelt but inane notions about helping out the poor. They serve more as distractions than anything else. In the 19th century there were church dances, now there are whitebread jogging clubs, even complete with a larding of "you can get a job if you just go out and try, Mr. Homeless Person!" sentiment. It would arguably be a lot more impressive to see someone devoting all that energy to working for the construction of an actual social safety net.

Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:21 AM
24

After our divorce, my ex started a nonprofit teaching art to the homeless.

I'm paying you so you can work for free teaching art to the homeless?!???!?!

Ok, maybe I was a little bitter.

Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:21 AM
25

21: only insofar as people are able to justify not thinking about the core problems that lead to hopelessness because Look! Somebody's Doing Something!

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:21 AM
26

that fucking Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance book.

I really like that book, DS. I'm not ashamed to admit it.

Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:22 AM
27

Is that so they can run away from the cops better?

She's training them to run so fast they'll be able to dodge rain drops. Plus, let's be honest about our shallow society: nobody buys pencils from the blind pencil-seller if he's also a big fat-ass.

Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:22 AM
28

And seconds to 15 and 18. Sifu's on fire today.

Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:22 AM
29

Come on! My ex story wins! Doesnt it?!?!?!

Art to the homeless?!?!? On my dime???!?!?

Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:23 AM
30

25: Oh yeah, that's what's stopped effective action on that front.

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:23 AM
31

26: It's... it's okay, Will. We'll... we'll get through this.

Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:23 AM
32

19: It's ok, you can rent adorably perky cheap.

Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:23 AM
33

She seems to be doing a good thing

But the question is, is it good enough to justifying saying things like, ""Running really is a metaphor for life... You just have to take it one step at a time"? And is this just an elaborate personal snarkproofing scheme?

Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:24 AM
34

DS knows what I'm talking about. Why it takes Nick Bantock to understand American social problems I'll never know.

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:24 AM
35

Couldn't jogging be rather harmful for people who don't get enough to eat?

Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:25 AM
36

Sifu's on fire today

On fire like a bitter old homeless man, maybe. There are two phenomena here: 1) media focus on feelgoodism, as opposed to structural problems and 2) a pretty neat thing this woman did. That 2 is fodder for 1 doesn't make 2 bad or even worthless; it seems to be doing some bit of good for the people involved and good for her for doing it.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:26 AM
37

CNN can be ridiculed for declaring this an act of heroism, perhaps. But y'all who want to take the bait and bitch about the uselessness of what this chick is doing, I hope your other browser window is open to the new Operation Safety Net you are rolling out. She's not being sanctimonious about what she is doing, cnn is just insipid.

Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:26 AM
38

Running would be so much more difficult if the world were not so flat.

Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:26 AM
39

I'm paying you so you can work for free teaching art to the homeless?!???!?!

Bitter or no, it's net positive (or at least net non-negative). More than many can say.

Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:26 AM
40

I really like that book, DS. I'm not ashamed to admit it.

Yeah sure, lot's of people own up to liking that one --- but do you like Lila, that's the real question?

Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:27 AM
41

ogged pwned.

Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:29 AM
42

There are two phenomena here: 1) media focus on feelgoodism, as opposed to structural problems and 2) a pretty neat thing this woman did.

She's a sports marketing consultant. She's doing 2 because of 1.

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:29 AM
43

If I understand this correctly, five-sixths of the running group is composed of non-homeless people:

Today, Back on My Feet has teams in three Philadelphia shelters, including 54 homeless members and more than 250 volunteers.

Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:30 AM
44

You know what would make this project entirely awesome? If they held a massive fund-raising marathon (or whatever) to raise money for institutional mental health care. And then it spread to other cities, like a Terry Fox run without the sympathetic icon.

Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:30 AM
45

Give a man a fish, and he eats for a day. But put a man in a jogging club and his cardiovascular health will improve for a lifetime.

Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:32 AM
46

Bitter or no, it's net positive (or at least net non-negative). More than many can say.

Shame on you, Soup!!!

A better solution would have been for her to work for pay, and I donate that money to a shelter or a job training program.

I am also impacted by the fact that the article that slandered me as a deadbeat dad was an article praising her for her volunteer work. I'm the bad guy when I am paying her and, thus, allowing her to do this?!?!

Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:32 AM
47

I am also impacted by the fact that the article that slandered me as a deadbeat dad was an article praising her for her volunteer work. I'm the bad guy when I am paying her and, thus, allowing her to do this?!?!

Ouch. Ok, that part sucks a lot.

I wasn't saying there weren't better solutions. Just that the net impact could have been a lot worse. She could have taken up swimming, for example.

Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:35 AM
48

that fucking Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance book.

That book is much better written than most of the stuff in its niche. Pirsig's positive ideas are crap, but as I remember there are one or two good discussions early on about the idea of rational philosophical analysis -- or more specifically just the concept of an analytical distinction -- that I've found useful sometimes in teaching.

Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:35 AM
49

37: I hope your other browser window is open to the new Operation Safety Net you are rolling out.

I think it's just not that hard to find charity groups that are actually focusing on the core issues, and are doing hard, constructive work every day -- including keeping up the pressure for general social change. There's a Food Not Bombs chapter active in my neck of the woods, for instance.

She's not being sanctimonious about what she is doing

Oh, please. "I'm moving my life forward every day -- and these guys are standing in the same spot." "There is always another mile. You just have to take it one step at a time." I'd be more sympathetic if she weren't churning out these kindergarten-esque platitudes.

I mean, okay, it's non-evil. She could be organizing an Objectivist Bridge Club or something. But come on.

Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:35 AM
50

37: no, seriously, I've been learning in some detail about how this practice of giving special little prizes (woohoo! Running shoes! Woohoo! Art lessons!) to the homeless is completely insidious in terms of thinking about actual poverty and actual steps to actually e.g. provide long-term housing for poor families.

It's a self-aggrandizing publicity stunt which also does a little bit of good, which puts it way ahead of most other self-aggrandizing publicity stunts, but in terms of actually helping people it's pretty thin gruel.

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:37 AM
51

Somehow Will with a messy divorce seems so obvious and heavy-handed. That kind of irony really doesn't fly in the twenty-first century.

"Ironically, Will is collecting alimony from a woman who dumped him to become a major Hollywood star....." That would work.

Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:40 AM
52

Somehow Will with a messy divorce seems so obvious and heavy-handed. That kind of irony really doesn't fly in the twenty-first century.

"Ironically, Will is collecting alimony from a woman who dumped him to become a major Hollywood star....." That would work.

Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:41 AM
53

Objectivist Bridge Club

"House rulesguiding principles: ♦ > ♥"

Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:41 AM
54

I think it's just not that hard to find charity groups that are actually focusing on the core issues, and are doing hard, constructive work every day

Not that hard for cnn to find them and to profile them in lieu of this, sure. But to suggest that this fact negates the value of what this woman is doing is like saying that my money does more long-term work as a charitable donation than when I buy a homeless person dinner and therefore I should be ashamed of doing the latter instead of the former.

Posted by: | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:47 AM
55

54 was me

Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:47 AM
56

I agree with Sifu.

These kitchy little things are not bad in isolation. But they detract publicity, money, and effort from more concrete solutions.

Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:51 AM
57

Sybil is a perky runner. That is why she is defending her.

Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:51 AM
58

google search for"Throughout history, the thoughtful onlooker has been astonished at the man of action's empty head":

Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:59 AM
59

Oh, ouch. Sifu, DS et al. are right, of course, that what the woman's doing is open to objection in a variety of ways. And the reading of Friedman makes her not just empty-headed but hypocritical (or perhaps really, really, really empty-headed).

(The Clive James quotation in 9 is excellent.)

But revisiting the SWPL controversy; there's no right place to land there. Yes, socially or environmentally sensitive practices are hypocritical and arguably self-congratulatory ... no, that doesn't make them wrong or stupid, to be avoided on pain of subjection to mockery.

Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 12:04 PM
60

The vapidity of virtue.

Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 12:05 PM
61

I believe in teaching homeless people poor jogging form, and donating unsuitable footwear to them, so as to heighten the contradictions.

Posted by: felix | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 12:09 PM
62

59: part of it is also probably reaction to the seemingly unavoidable fact that a person like this is about a gazillion times more likely to get an article about her, even if the effort is pretty superficial, than someone who has been slogging away on the front lines of the problem effectively for 20 years, but isn't photogenic or perky or from the right background, etc.

Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 12:14 PM
63

That Clive James book should be titled AOTW.

Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 12:16 PM
64
Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 12:22 PM
65

Most people, so far as I can see, actively ignore the homeless by refusing to make eye contact with them or speak to them. I therefore would imagine that as a homeless person the experience of having other people interact with me as a fellow human being, while not nearly as important as food and shelter, would be one thing that I'm looking for out of life. Admittedly, I'm not a homeless person, and it's also likely that some homeless people aren't looking for other to interact with them because it's outside interference, but I do take it that something this basic does some good, and I'd need to see the argument for why and how it's substituting for some greater good.

Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 12:25 PM
66

A college friend had a habit, when he encountered homeless people asking for money on the street, of offering to take them to a local place for soup and a sandwich. He did this as a matter of routine, a few times a week. Sometimes they told him to fuck off; very occasionally they accepted.

I admired this friend very much, for the asking, opening himself again and again to being essentially shown (when told to fuck off) to be a privileged asshole who couldn't figure out how to respect another's dignity, in that other's view. You don't know unless you ask.

Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 12:43 PM
67

There really have not been enough people putting down my ex-wife. I'm very hurt.

Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 12:48 PM
68

Most of them probably told him to fuck off because the soup-and-a-sandwich response usually implies a judgment that they're going to blow the dough on drugs or drunk. Which often they are, but still, you know? (Really good panners will often try to defuse this with a line like "I promise not to spend it on anything constructive.")

54: Ain't nothing to be ashamed of in kicking down to a panhandler or buying someone dinner, as long as you recognize the limitations. Using the homeless as a marketing op through vapidly-framed charity? Ickier. But again, I wasn't saying she's evil per se, just inane. Sifu's right that on the whole this sort of thing is insidious.

Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 12:50 PM
69

Will, your ex sounds very un-Zen. She probably couldn't repair a motorbike to save her life.

Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 12:51 PM
70

So, for one thing, addressing "homelessness" as a problem per se is distracting attention from "poverty" and "mental health" two much bigger and (for lack of a better word) realer problems. Homelessness is the end state of endemic poverty and untreated mental illness, and the idea that you just need to get homeless people "back on their feet" and then all will be well is symptomatic of not understanding the vastly greater number of people who are trying to get back on their feet -- and are in fact managing to keep themselves housed, however marginally -- but are unable to get the services they need. By addresses homelessness, especially in as superficial a way as this, you're putting a band-aid on the little tiny surface portion of the giant, festering wound of inequality and poverty. Insofar as doing that convinces people that they're actually helping things it makes them less likely to understand the nature of the systemic problem and the ways that they can hope to address it (e.g. through supporting higher taxes and greater levels of government service).

I mean, look at the press this has gotten vs. the press that John Edward's anti-poverty speeches got. This is exactly the kind of program that is designed to get press because it makes people feel better about themselves without requiring any sacrifice whatsoever -- even from the people running the program.

I would think the fact that the website prominently features cleverly posed pictures of the go-getting (white, young, female, attractive) founder, who not incidentally works in sports marketing should have made this obvious. It's nigh-miraculous she didn't manage to work a mention of the brand of running shoe they distribute into the CNN article.

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 12:52 PM
71

70 to 65, mostly.

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 12:52 PM
72

I've been learning in some detail about how this practice of giving special little prizes (woohoo! Running shoes! Woohoo! Art lessons!) to the homeless is completely insidious in terms of thinking about actual poverty and actual steps to actually e.g. provide long-term housing for poor families.

It's a bit more complicated than that, innit?

The vast majority of homeless or temporary, 1-6mo, right? That sort of situation, people can benefit from exercise, structure, just having something to do, and *most definitely* from positive reinforcement.

For the small % who are chronically homeless, no, running and whatnot isn't probably going to do it. Some people it's really hard to help, and some people can't be helped. Sad but true. There are a few in my family. And there have been experiments of giving the chronically homeless jobs and free housing.

Just b/c something won't help everyone is no reason to damn it.

Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 12:55 PM
73

"vast majority ARE temporary" not"or"

Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 12:56 PM
74

also, running club is a way to social network, right? Few things are more important in getting jobs than a network, so i am told.

Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 12:58 PM
75

73: I just figured that was in a cockney accent to go with the "innit"

In any case, you're perfectly right in 72. What bugs me is that she's doing this for publicity: she's getting way, way more value from this than any of the homeless people she's (sure, maybe a little) helping. Yet everyone here is sort of taking this "well that's so laudable you're not doing anything like that!"

Yeah well I'm not endowing dance companies in NYC either, still doesn't make RJ Reynolds a paragon of corporate responsibility if they are.

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 1:00 PM
76

Will, your ex sounds very un-Zen. She probably couldn't repair a motorbike to save her life.

Thank you, DS. We can go back to being fake friends again.

OT: Canuks. Is Canada worth visiting in the summer?

Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 1:06 PM
77

Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 1:08 PM
78

68: Most of them probably told him to fuck off because the soup-and-a-sandwich response usually implies a judgment that they're going to blow the dough on drugs or drunk. Which often they are, but still, you know?

I know. It implies that, and my friend knew that, but (a) it was a genuine offer to engage in some contact for a little while, and (b) a veiled question about whether the person was dedicated to drink or drugs, or not really. An exit offer? It's obnoxious from one angle; on the other hand, my friend was Costa Rican and had a different perspective himself. "Just leave people/them alone" didn't make sense to him.

Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 1:12 PM
79

67: Will, you're a divorce lawyer. People are silently gloating.

Except for me, and I've never even been divorced!

Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 1:16 PM
80

A cost-effective improvement would be to allow the SROs that used to house the unstable. No substitute for public transport connecting cheap housing to workplaces, but better than shelters. There was a recent neighborhood protest at a local government effort to buy a foreclosed property to use for low-income housing, this in suburban DC; couldn't find the article in the WaPo, though.

The perkette is an unpleasant person, but so was FDR. Imagine a crazy blind date between the two of them for revenge.

Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 1:23 PM
81

So when is Ogged going to start a swimming club for the homeless?

It's far better than running -- free bath and showers! Running just makes them sweaty and smelly, which can already be an issue.

Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 1:23 PM
82

It's ok, you can rent adorably perky cheap.

Isn't that what got Eliot Spitzer in trouble?

Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 1:24 PM
83

||

I just got an e-mail from the Little Hippie U. Alumni Association about an "intellectual forum" at Reunion Weekend next month:

Four distinguished thought-leaders, two of whom are [LHU] alumni, will explore what a university education should be in a global society.

Panelists:

"Innovation guru"
John Kao

Historian and political pundit
Victor Davis Hanson (Cow\ell '75)

I FEEL UNCLEAN.

|>

Posted by: Magpie | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 1:28 PM
84

All the objections in this thread are rational enough; but with all due respect, fuck all of y'all. Seriously. I've quoted it before & I'll quote it again, from Charles Burnett's To Sleep with Anger: "Nobody ever jumped into a river to save 400 drowning people."

Sure, she could be doing something different if she were a different person. But what she's creating (with, indisputably, some measure of success) is a circumstance in which people who are invisible outsiders are treated with respect. I realize that alienation may not seem to be the most pressing problem for "the homeless"--but poverty means plenty of problems. I'd say ongoing engagement with people who care about you & want to see your life improve may not be sufficient, but it's sure as hell necessary.

Posted by: Rah | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 1:30 PM
85

83: Ask him technical questions about the amount of blood spilled at Marathon and how deep in bloody mud the Greeks would likely have been fighting at the end with their blunted weapons and dented, scratched shields. He loves that stuff.

Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 1:31 PM
86

Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 1:34 PM
87

85: Oh, I wasn't planning on going; the e-mail says it's likely to be an overflow crowd anyway. I just feel tainted by association.

Posted by: Magpie | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 1:35 PM
88

Rah!

Of course it's about the respect.

Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 1:37 PM
89

84: but with all due respect, fuck all of y'all.

Thank you, Ricky Bobby. Shake 'n Bake!

Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 1:38 PM
90

87: Get him going on the bloody mud and the crowd will likely diminish. Potentially less divisive than asking him why he think the Hitchensesque use of adjectives like "mendacious" and "reprehensible" constitutes cogent argument for the deification of George W. Caesar Tokugawa.

Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 1:38 PM
91

70: look at the press this has gotten vs. the press that John Edward's anti-poverty speeches got.

CNN covered it with one story today, a local news channel covered it March 5. Otherwise there are 20 stories in Google News's archive for the search "An/ne Mah/lum," seven of them appear to be about this organization.

Reading this article, it seems like she started Back on my Feet and then became a sports marketing consultant. Actually, that article doesn't mention her being one at all, but based on its chronology of her career it sure sounds like she wasn't a sports marketing consultant when she started it.

Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 1:39 PM
92

In 84 I utterly failed to note how much likelier I am to enjoy a conversation with a homeless person than a conversation with a sports marketer. But even so.

Posted by: Rah | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 1:41 PM
93

but with all due respect, fuck all of y'all

She's doing more for the homeless than I've done today, certainly, but I took the post title to be an explicit challenge and responded as such.

Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 1:45 PM
94

it sure sounds like she wasn't a sports marketing consultant when she started it.

Does that matter? The point is that media coverage provides a jumpstart for a marketing movement. Jesus, the Emo Boy article DS linked in the other thread quoted people in the 'trend-spotters' industry a million times.

It's like we're so bored and blind that we need people to point things out to us: oh, homeless people! That's worth noting. (Hire that woman, she noticed something.)

Insofar as marketing or advertising both construct and reflect back our needs and desires, it's a piss-poor reflection.

Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 1:49 PM
95

Please, people, gloat over Will's divorce less silently. He's feeling unloved.

Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 1:51 PM
96

93: Oh dear, let's not be that couple (especially since I'm still chuckling a bit over 53). I rant, but I rant with love!

Posted by: Rah | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 1:55 PM
97

84: Nobody ever jumped into a river to save 400 drowning people

Seriously, though, the whole objection to privileging charity as a response to poverty is that basing your approach entirely on what individual solutions people can cook up is stupid. In terms of the big picture, I don't care all that much what one person jumping into a river would do.

Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 1:57 PM
98

...also, I honestly can't find the troll in this thread--which probably means it's me.

Posted by: Rah | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 1:58 PM
99

97: I realize it's flip, but I must note that your not caring is pretty seriously dependent on the assumption that it's not you in the river.

Posted by: Rah | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 1:59 PM
100

99: Quite the reverse. If I'm in the river, I want a crowd of people fishing me and fellow drowners out, dig?

Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 2:01 PM
101

She's doing more for the homeless than I've done today, certainly, but I took the post title to be an explicit challenge and responded as such she's not being knowingly sardonic about it and the inevitable limits of her efforts.

Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 2:02 PM
102

Stuff White People Like: Problematizing.

Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 2:05 PM
103

I also liked 53, but it reminded me too much of that Eagles song to comment.

Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 2:06 PM
104

I rant, but I rant with love!

Oh, sug, I know; just sayin'. C'mere, you.

Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 2:06 PM
105

DS is a socialist. Sifu will soon be figuring out who he is after all.

There's no troll in this thread because it's a genuine question: in the absence of a decent social safety net and the presence of a system that actively impoverishes people, is private charitable action a cause for disgust at its forced necessity, or is it all we can do? (This doesn't have to be spelled out, does it? Jesus christ, "a thousand points of light" was floated during the Bush I administration, and it's won the day.)

Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 2:12 PM
106

Dammit, I was going to post 82 verbatim, but decided it was stale. I should know by now that low-hanging fruit never gets stale.

Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 2:12 PM
107

Quite the reverse. If I'm in the river, I want a crowd of people fishing me and fellow drowners out, dig?

True, but you absolutely don't want someone standing there saying "Why should you even try to pull someone out until the put a rail up on the bridge to stop more people from falling in?"

Ogged is the troll on this one, and he gets 8 out of 10.

Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 2:12 PM
108

94: The last two paragraphs of 70 suggest that the motivation behind the program was the marketing, and that this is one reason to be snarky about it. I'm arguing that this is probably false. The first paragraph of 70 says a bunch of true things and then makes a "heighten the contradictions" argument for why those true things should be held against this program.

Plus, she's so blonde and perky-looking. How can you not want to argue in her favor?

Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 2:17 PM
109

100: I hate to harp, but I feel we're talking past one another. To stick with the river: yes, you'd rather have a crowd. Who wouldn't? But if all you get is a perky, ambitious blonde, I really wouldn't recommend that you throw rocks at her and yell "Hey, bitch, why don't you come back when you've got some help! Also, your mother dresses you funny!"

Posted by: Rah | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 2:17 PM
110

109: pwned by 107

Posted by: Rah | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 2:19 PM
111

108: I'm pointing out that the motivation behind the program is irrelevant, and that I'm more interested in its outcome, and how that outcome reflects on society at large.

But point taken: I'm focusing on one of its outcomes only, that the woman has a new job in sports marketing. Perhaps other outcomes, more jobs (and housing, and health care) programs for the homeless and other people in need, will follow.

Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 2:24 PM
112

A perky ambitious blonde and, instead of throwing you a line, she's saying "Swim! Swim! Yay!" and she's got a camera crew filming her and then she leaves and everybody else leaves with her. And then the government paves the river.

Hooray!

Really, my objection is more to the media coverage than to the woman per se, but given that the woman is actively seeking the media coverage she's (possibly unintentionally) part of the problem.

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 2:27 PM
113

109: Does that sound to you like the strategy I'm advocating? I'm saying that the people on shore should get organized, not prescribing what the people in the water should or shouldn't reject, and that the odd person paddling by to give someone a pep talk is not impressive in this regard.

Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 2:28 PM
114

Tweety-pwned.

Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 2:29 PM
115

OT: Canuks. Is Canada worth visiting in the summer?

That's pretty much like asking Is the US worth visiting in the summer', you're really going to have to be a bit more specific geographically.

Climate wise, there are some bits that are hot and sticky midsummer, others that are wonderful, etc. What did you hav e in mind?

Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 2:30 PM
116

The misogyny in this thread is truly awesome. Damn that uppity, perky, blonde, stupid bitch dumb enough to think she knows anything about books, trying to do some good in the world! Disgusting.

Her website may make it seem like she's doing it as a publicity stunt, but she's actually trying to raise a lot of money, and looking polished and professional, and having a website and media coverage, is really really important when you are trying to get people with money to give you money, assholes.

Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 2:43 PM
117

115- Also, DS, I think you missed the bleg for an invite.

Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 2:46 PM
118

112: We're much closer on the media coverage. Personally, I believe that people who are personally engaged in action become more engaged over time (which is what fitness people keep saying about exercise, come to think of it).

The media coverage is more problematic, because it can potentially encourage the reader to feel vaguely better & go on ignoring the problem. I don't really think that's the inevitable or even intended result, but I can't deny it.

Posted by: Rah | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 2:46 PM
119

I do love you all, despite your intractable querulousness and the fascination on the part of some with perkiness. ogged really wants to talk about public policy and the dominant culture, but he's embarrassed.

Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 2:47 PM
120

116- Damn. Fuck us all and we're all assholes. We must be on the right track. I'm real sure that if this person was a Troy, we'd be feeling similarly.

Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 2:48 PM
121

I hereby offer a comprehensive tour of Calgary's dive bars to anyone who happens to be visiting the area this summer. Act now.

If 116 isn't a joke, the flamewar has arrived!

Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 2:49 PM
122

The media coverage is more problematic, because it can potentially encourage the reader to feel vaguely better & go on ignoring the problem.

That's my only concern with the whole thing, because I've seen that happen a few times in detail. I think issues of sex are irrelevant to it --- could just as easily been a chipper young guy --- which is why m.leblancs comment surprised me a bit. But then again, I hadn't been reading the thread, so probably missed a bunch of comments that read that way.

Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 2:49 PM
123

I hereby offer a comprehensive tour of Calgary's dive bars.

I'm not sure I've quite ever recovered from the last time I bounced along the 8th avenue mall and environs (am i remembering the name right). And that was mumble-mumble years ago.

Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 2:53 PM
124

116: Isn't this more misanthropy than misogyny? I'm pretty sure the snark proceeds much more from the "sports marketing" (and the Friedman!) than anything gender-specific. The oversupply of gendered insults in English is notable, but I'm sure we could have found plenty of condescension for a dude.

Posted by: Rah | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 2:54 PM
125

All I know is, this woman is a monster. Periodically.

Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 2:58 PM
126

Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 3:01 PM
127

I hereby offer a comprehensive tour of Calgary's dive bars to anyone who happens to be visiting the area this summer. Act now.

I love to scuba dive! Count me in.

Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 3:01 PM
128

I think issues of sex are irrelevant to it --- could just as easily been a chipper young guy

Of course it could. That's not the point. The point is that y'all are sexist, and are criticizing her as such, as a woman. Shall I spell it out?

"She's totally perky, too! Look at her leading that pack of grateful looking black men on the banner of her web site! What a hero!"
"I won't get my picture on cnn.com because I'm not adorably! perky!"
"And the reading of Friedman makes her not just empty-headed but hypocritical"
"The vapidity of virtue."
"vapidly-framed charity"
"I wasn't saying she's evil per se, just inane."
"the website prominently features cleverly posed pictures of the go-getting (white, young, female, attractive) founder"
"perkette"
"she's so blonde and perky-looking"
"a perky, ambitious blonde"
""Swim! Swim! Yay!""

Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 3:06 PM
129

125: But what do you know the rest of the time?

Posted by: Rah | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 3:10 PM
130

The point is that y'all are sexist

Careful where you aim that ya'll'.

Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 3:10 PM
131

Many people who do good works like Carlos Castaneda, too, or that fucking Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance book.

or the fucking Bible.

btw, Ogged, have you noticed that in the early days of that relationship when the sex was really fantastic, you were agreeing with me all the time, but now that it's just kind of settled down into the beginnings of a rut, you're overcompensating by becoming a bit of a sappy do-gooder? I blame oxytocin.

Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 3:12 PM
132

129: That the claws are coming out.

Okay, so apparently 116 isn't a joke. I'll throw Sifu to the wolves since I don't have time for that convo, but I'll just note that trying to claim that "vapid," "inane," "hypocritical" or "empty-headed" are gendered insults is weak in the extreme.

Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 3:13 PM
133

I blame oxytocin.

Well, in every relationship the oxytocin eventually gives way to the oxycontin.

Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 3:13 PM
134

`y'all'

There's a good argument for selective use of double quotes.

Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 3:14 PM
135

a bit of a sappy do-gooder

I'm still all for killing that teacher.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 3:24 PM
136

by the way:

A college friend had a habit, when he encountered homeless people asking for money on the street, of offering to take them to a local place for soup and a sandwich. He did this as a matter of routine, a few times a week. Sometimes they told him to fuck off; very occasionally they accepted.

cunt.

Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 3:24 PM
137

131: At least the Bible has some porn, war and nihilism to offer.

Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 3:27 PM
138

136 reminds me, if he did this as a matter of course I'm a little surprised he never got his ass handed to him. Maybe he was selective.

Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 3:29 PM
139

dsquared, I thought surely someone was going to say that long before now.

Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 3:29 PM
140

128: If you want me to cop to blurring the "use-mention" distinction on sexist language, I guess I will. But I maintain that the snark is circumstantial & that gender is essentially irrelevant to the objections I've seen.

Posted by: Rah | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 3:29 PM
141

I'll just note that trying to claim that "vapid," "inane," "hypocritical" or "empty-headed" are gendered insults is weak in the extreme.

I wouldn't claim that hypocritical is a gendered insult, I don't think. The rest vary in levels of genderedness. But "vapid"? Come on.

Given your response, I guess you'll concede that "perky" is gendered. Good.

Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 3:33 PM
142

138: And dude, he was probably selective, but he also had a look about him, was very quick to smile, and his name was Charlemagne -- Carlo. Carlomagno.

Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 3:33 PM
143

142: Yeah, that would help. But a random sampling of homeless people will turn up a few really twitchy ones which is what I meant.

Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 3:35 PM
144

But "vapid"? Come on.

Actually, "vapid" and "inane" are just as weak as "hypocritical." The key is in usage, not etymology: do you hear people use it specifically in reference to one gender? I certainly can't say this of "vapid." It doesn't even retain any sexualized freight in the way that, say, "bitch" still does despite its usage having broadened.

141.1: Actually, I just said I don't have time to argue the point.

Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 3:39 PM
145

The rest vary in levels of genderedness. But "vapid"? Come on

I think I most recently used that adjective to describe Thomas Friedman, author of "The World Is Flat".

Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 3:41 PM
146

vapid and inane, used within a discourse that has already indicted the woman in question for being perky, are gendered. Unambiguously. Sexist homeless haters who can't see the forest for the trees, that's what this thread is all about.

Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 3:44 PM
147

141, 146, etc. are inclining me to gender "trollish".

Posted by: Rah | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 3:49 PM
148

But that would be wrong!

Posted by: Rah | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 3:49 PM
149

147: Although, technically trolls are an ethnicity, so that would make you a racist.

Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 3:50 PM
150

Sexist homeless haters who can't see the forest for the trees, that's what this thread is all about.

And we're off in the weeds again.

She's doing something probably harmless and perhaps even helpful in a way thats generated a lot of publicity. There's a jaded way of looking at that as: oh boy, yet another project that helps privileged people feel better about underprivileged people. There's a more optimistic way: hey, neat, she's doing something.

But somehow (big surprise) we're heading off into levels upon levels of navel gazing.

Par for the course, I guess.

Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 3:51 PM
151

I think we should settle these questions of whether any given word is sexist with google image searches. "Perky" is indubitably gendered, since you have to go three pages before you see a picture that isn't of breasts. "Vapid" is decidedly gendered female, but "inane" seems to be neutral. Of course, any given search is likely to turn up pictures of hot women, because this is the internet, but this method seems as fair as any.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 3:53 PM
152

I think we should settle these questions of whether any given word is sexist with google image searches. "

That is genuinely awesome. Funny and (to me, anyway) credible.

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 3:54 PM
153

150 was too damn earnest.

Posted by: | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 3:55 PM
154

Of course, any given search is likely to turn up pictures of hot women, because this is the internet,

Surely you can normalize for that.

Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 3:56 PM
155

151: "Monster," it turns out, is--if anything-- racist, not sexist. If bragging stereotypes can be racist.

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 3:57 PM
156

This is all you're willing to concede? Like I said from the start, insuring that homeless people have ready access to food and shelter is far more important, and I should have added in mental health counseling, but of course it's providing at least some benefit to the participating homeless, and I don't see any reason for thinking it's causing more harm than this benefit, or really any harm at all.

Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 4:02 PM
157

Google Image for general usage, and Flickr searches for Unfoggedtarian usage?

Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 4:03 PM
158

153: It was not!

I have noticed that I seem to really dislike being called a sexist homeless hater who can't see the forest for the trees.

Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 4:09 PM
159

This is all you're willing to concede?

Opportunity costs are tricky in this sort of thing, so I won't assume it's a net win. I don't know anything about this particular case, so that's all I could say.

Sometimes there is a genuine problem with ineffectual efforts with profile drawing resources away from more effective efforts.

Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 4:09 PM
160

158: wait, it was. or maybe i'm just sensitive about that.

153 wuz me.

Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 4:10 PM
161

I don't think I was calling you that, parsimon.

Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 4:11 PM
162

161: I really dislike it, too, but obviously the racist endorsers of ineffectual neoliberal lifeguarding techniques don't care.

Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 4:13 PM
163

any given search is likely to turn up pictures of hot women, because this is the internet, but so this method seems as fair as any perfect

Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 4:17 PM
164

136 reminds me, if he did this as a matter of course I'm a little surprised he never got his ass handed to him. Maybe he was selective.

The homeless aren't so tough. Wave something in your left hand like a dollar or a flask. They'll never see the right hook coming.

Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 4:18 PM
165

Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 4:19 PM
166

165: I could have sworn you weren't new here, eb.

Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 4:20 PM
167

Sweeeeet. I was hoping somebody would call me sexist (and, really, leblanc, you're just talking to me, let's be honest here) by the time I got back.

So: the reason that this woman is getting any coverage at all on cnn.com is that she's an adorably! perky! blond, white woman. The media coverage of her, and her whole organization, is incredibly sexist, which fact she's exploiting for publicity.

But, sure, lay it on me if you want.

Also, I am totally not going to drop my trump card of what I've been doing all day (well, commenting, but other than that), but yeah, g'wan ahead and call me a homeless hater, suckers.

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 4:21 PM
168

The part about leaping on beggars at the behest of Socrates Demon was about as far as I got, though.

Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 4:22 PM
169

166: *cough*.

Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 4:22 PM
170

Also, I am totally not going to drop my trump card of what I've been doing all day

Sifu wins a gold star best recent twist on the lurkers support me in this scam.

Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 4:23 PM
171

168: To the extent that the link is worth reading at all, the end matters.

Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 4:24 PM
172

I am totally not going to drop my trump card of what I've been doing all day

Panhandling. We know, Sifu. It's OK.

Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 4:24 PM
173

169 never works.

Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 4:25 PM
174

I've been randomly attacking hoboes in order to build up their self-defense skills and their awareness of the value they truly place on life. Bet Sifu can't beat that.

Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 4:25 PM
175

171: yeah, i got there but didn't want to spoil it. It keeps going into next bit though.

Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 4:26 PM
176

Once in DC I had bought two sandwiches, because there was a special where the second one was drastically reduced in price and I was planning to have it for dinner, but it meant that I had no money on me. I walked past a guy who was asking for money, and I told him that I didn't have any, but that I did have a sandwich if he wanted it. And he did want it.

Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 4:26 PM
177

Also, I am totally not going to drop my trump card of what I've been doing all day

I'm pretty sure this counts as dropping it.

Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 4:27 PM
178

Sifu organizes Bum Fights because he loves.

Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 4:27 PM
179

Yeeeah I suppose. Okay! Dropped!

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 4:28 PM
180

177: Better than dropping it, since snorting blow off hookers' asses really isn't quite the trump card he thinks it is in this particular discussion.

Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 4:29 PM
181

Let's say you are right that the woman is getting coverage solely because she looks like she does. Let's agree this is sexist. How does that make the use of the same sexist terms as part of an argument intended to dismiss here any less sexist? If this chick were actually a white dude, we'd have zero condescension in this thread about his appearance.

Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 4:30 PM
182

If this chick were actually a white dude, we'd have zero condescension in this thread about his appearance.

Ok, this I really don't believe at all.

Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 4:33 PM
183

181: If this chick were actually a white dude, we'd have zero condescension in this thread about his appearance.

Comments like this always seem to come from a parallel universe to me. Granted we could always make more fun of white dudes, there's infinite room for improvement on this score, but making fun of how white guys look is pretty well established comic trope by now. I could see it if we were living in a world pre-"Eddie Murphy as an undercover White Man," maybe.

Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 4:34 PM
184

Further, I obviously don't think any of you are actual homeless haters. More exactly, I think this woman's whole thing (and the woman herself) are being problematized too aggressively, which is itself being enabled by some sexist rhetoric.

Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 4:35 PM
185

If he was a white dude he probably wouldn't have done it. If it was anybody other than a twenty-something white person we never would have heard of it. Oh, wow, let's like, help the homeless through jogging: still lame.

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 4:35 PM
186

If the lady was a guy and looked like Sife, I for one would have mercilessly ridiculed him.

Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 4:36 PM
187

Sifu.

Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 4:36 PM
188

Strangely enough....

Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 4:36 PM
189

I wonder how many times people have called the cops to report a gang of homeless guys chasing a white woman around the city.

Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 4:38 PM
190

If he was a white dude he probably wouldn't have done it. If it was anybody other than a twenty-something white person we never would have heard of it.

Sifu! Wrong for the first time this thread! The yayo is getting to you, man. Tell the hookers to go home!

Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 4:38 PM
191

Sifu, now you are really just digging in.

Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 4:39 PM
192

Sometimes there is a genuine problem with ineffectual efforts with profile drawing resources away from more effective efforts.

On the one hand, this is scrupulously fair, since I also don't know what other efforts people would have expended their time or money on if this one hadn't existed. On the other hand, my view is that they (the volunteers) would have mostly spent their time and money on acquiring consumer goods and watching television, so of course diverting their efforts towards this project is helpful. Seriously, how much can we reasonably expect someone to know about these matters before they can decide it's a good idea to start a new program/organization?

Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 4:41 PM
193

190: shouldn'ta come back after drinking wine.

To be honest, leblanc's comment pissed me the hell off.

Yeah, good point, all the points I've made in this thread about poverty and the ways media is complicit in our failing to think about it can be boiled down to "you called her perky!"

The point is, the reason this woman is on cnn is because cnn just fucking loves the cute young white kid doing what's right. Insofar as people buy that narrative, they just aren't thinking about the real issues. Why did this woman have to start her own homeless services organization? Were there none in Philly before? Why, exactly, is jogging the best route to reach people? Is it really the care and approbation of a 27 year old marketing consultant that's needed to get people off the streets? All elided in the chorus of "aw, she's doing a nice thing."

Call me McManus, but fuck that.

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 4:46 PM
194

I think this woman's whole thing (and the woman herself) are being problematized too aggressively, which is itself being enabled by some sexist rhetoric.

Sybil, this is unfogged. We problematize things here; it's what we do, and what academics in general do. We don't have to do it, but then we'd be hard pressed to find things to talk about, given various bizarre house rules against earnestness and so on.

Second, there are more than a few valid things being said about what's problematic in a society in which help for the homeless is made especially possible by a, yes, perky white chick with the media savvy necessary to raise the money necessary. In other words, the discussion went meta.

Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 4:49 PM
195

I'm going the hell home now, but can't resist a final glib metaphor: it's not that those objecting to this project can't see the forest for the trees; it's exactly the other way round.

Posted by: Rah | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 4:51 PM
196

I, for one, am merely interrogating. I have not yet begun to problematize.

Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 4:55 PM
197

(Rah at 195 insists on stating the obvious.)

Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 4:57 PM
198

Will no one defend the pointers and hooters on the sidelines?

Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 4:57 PM
199

I'm going the hell home now, but can't resist a final glib metaphor: it's not that those objecting to this project can't see the forest for the trees; it's that nobody, starting with cnn, can.

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 4:58 PM
200

Sifu, I merely disagree with your point about her endeavors being worthless and/or counterproductive. Of course the media is part of the problem, but frankly, saying that cnn.com is sexist isn't very interesting, because it's so obvious on any given day you read the damn website.

No one said jogging was the "best route to reach people", what the hell? This woman just thought "hey, maybe even I can do something to help these people out," and did it.

all the points I've made in this thread about poverty and the ways media is complicit in our failing to think about it can be boiled down to "you called her perky!"

Of course they can't. You were making some valid and well-argued points about why what she's doing is unhelpful and/or Part Of The Problem (which I disagree with, but fine). You made them using sexist language. That, I was pointing out. 'Cause, you know, not everyone is either a Bad Evil Sexist or an Enlightened Feminist Ray of Light.

Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 4:59 PM
201

hooters on the sidelines?

Now NPH, you know that's not going anywhere good.

Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 5:00 PM
202

Problematizing is an instinct many academics have and a skill that is honed in graduate school. It is not really an end in itself and when it is it is wankish.

Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 5:02 PM
203

Consistent with my earlier pseudonynomous comment in these pages, I submit that any program that helps the privileged to see the homeless as fellow humans makes a welcom contribution to building a political constituency for more widespread reform.

So it serves ulterior motives? Salves the consciences of people who haven't done anything meaningful? Represents a drop in the bucket against the real need? Who gives a fuck? Not I.

Put another way: how many people do you know who (A) regularly work with the poor or homeless in any capacity; (B) are not evangelical Christians; (C) vote Republican?

Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 5:02 PM
204

Ogged demanded that we problematize this and we obliged, because he had cancer. We're his personal Make A Wish foundation. Sybil is heartless.

Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 5:05 PM
205

You didn't say I'd used sexist language; you said that I was sexist. To quote:
The point is that y'all are sexist, and are criticizing her as such, as a woman.
Which, in fact, I wasn't doing. I was criticizing her for being a soulless marketing droid who was exploiting the homeless (by helping them in a telegenic, but fairly meaningless way) and her own appeal in the (sexist) national media to further her business. I was further saying that the media currents she was exploiting were actively harmful to the twin causes of effective response to poverty and mental illness in this country. I used sexist language because it was an effective way to make a point about the implicit sexism in the coverage of what this woman was doing and, with a little (as it turns out, nonexistent) luck shake people out of their good-hearted cooing over how nice she was being.

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 5:06 PM
206

I submit that any program that helps the privileged to see the homeless as fellow humans

And not glorified children? Look at some of the language in that article again.

Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 5:07 PM
207

201: Be vewy quiet, we're hunting wabbits!

Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 5:07 PM
208

Sifu hates good-looking young people almost as much as Althouse does.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 5:09 PM
209

206: now, now, scooter. We'll have you on your feet again in no time! Here, put on these Nike brand running shoes, and just put one foot in front of the other!

I bet she ties their shoes for them. Why? Because she's helping.

In other news this:

Also, I am totally not going to drop my trump card of what I've been doing all day (well, commenting, but other than that), but yeah, g'wan ahead and call me a homeless hater, suckers.

Was so, so lame. I wish I could take it back. Oh well!

I spent my day setting fire to SRO hotels!

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 5:09 PM
210

I'll note without judgement that there is often a fine line between:

program that helps the privileged to see the homeless as fellow humans

and

program that helps the privileged feel better about the homeless

Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 5:11 PM
211

193

"... they just aren't thinking about the real issues ..."

I expect most people don't care about what you believe to be the real issues so why should they be forced to think about them?

Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 5:11 PM
212

yeah, it was pretty lame Sifu. We figured you'd pick that up without help though. Oh wait, I lie, we mocked.

Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 5:12 PM
213

I want to thank Shearer for elegantly making my point. Did you see the video, James? Isn't she cute?!

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 5:13 PM
214

I expect most people don't care about what you believe to be the real issues

Fixed that for you.

Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 5:13 PM
215

202: Problematizing is an instinct many academics have and a skill that is honed in graduate school. It is not really an end in itself and when it is it is wankish.

Good, then I call upon you to call people on their urges to problematize merely as an end in itself, and distinguish that from when they're problematizing to another, more fruitful end.

Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 5:14 PM
216

I used sexist language because it was an effective way to make a point about the implicit sexism in the coverage of what this woman was doing

Seriously? That's why you used sexist language? Okay, I'm willing to take you at your word.

Anyway, the distinction between saying "y'all are sexist" and "y'all are using sexist language" is, to me, pretty unimportant, but if it's important to you, I'm happy to revise my original statement.

I don't think people were cooing about how "nice she was being." I think people (including me, although I didn't comment) thought it was a cool and interesting idea, and were giving kudos to her for attempting to actually do something to help people.

I'm all for programs to help people. As many fucking programs as we can get. And honestly, having had a fair amount of experience with programs that work with poor people in environments like shelters or detention centers, that are sort of feel-goody like this one, a huge amount of them are geared towards women and children. Because feel-goody people find helping women and children to be more feel-goody. And because I hate sexism, and I think it sucks that funders are the least enthusiastic about funding programs directed at poor black men, fr'instance, I'm happy that this program exists.

Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 5:16 PM
217

will, Western Canada is gorgeous in the summer. Drumheller if you like hot, deserty & dinosaur bones; everything between Banff & Jasper if you like mountains; Kananaskis Valley, too.

The woman seems to be doing, on balance, a good thing, and while it doesn't address any of the core problems of poverty and homelessness and I'm skeptical on the lifeskills bit, there's something charming about how the program does at least acknowledge the homeless as human beings, which doesn't often happen.

Still, you want snark?
"Cher, I'm sure they don't need your skiis."
"Daddy, some people lost everything. I'm sure that includes athletic equipment."

Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 5:16 PM
218

We haven't come to be clever [yeah right]
Lets make it now cause this could be never [sure, Ted]
Were gonna problematize ya tonight
Were gonna problematize ya all night
Problematize, problematize up on your feet
Lets see ya dance, dance, dance

Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 5:18 PM
219

There is no shortage of people with ideas about how to help homeless people. There is a huge shortage of people actually willing to do anything. It's inconvenient that going out and jogging with a few homeless folks helps them more than posting comments on blogs or writing letters to the editor about how everyone should do more, but it's true nonetheless.

Sure, CNN provides pointless coverage, but I don't see how what this woman does is any worse than the likely alternative of her thinking "man, homelessness sucks" and going on about her life.

Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 5:21 PM
220

Problematizing is an instinct many academics have and a skill that is honed in graduate school. It is not really an end in itself and when it is it is wankish.

Isn't blog commenting kind of an entirely appropriate arena for wankery, in fact one that almost demands it?

After all, very few people will read this, hence no impact on the real world. What the critics of the critics are doing is also problematizing stuff, and hence wankery. If they really wanted to improve the world they would have left the initial critics alone to wank in peace.

I found "perkette" a useful addition to my rhetorical vocabulary.

Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 5:23 PM
221

It's inconvenient that going out and jogging with a few homeless folks helps them more than posting comments on blogs

I KNOW! I fucking hate it, but you're right.

Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 5:24 PM
222

Yeah, I agree with PGD. Accusing someone here of wankery is meta or self-refuting or something awful like that, sort of like using emoticons. Wankery R Us.

Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 5:25 PM
223

There is no shortage of people with ideas about how to help homeless people.

These is somewhat a shortage of people with *good* ideas though. I mean this in an empirical, not judgemental way. Of the people actually doing things, some are almost completely ineffectual for systemic reasons, which is unfortunate.

Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 5:25 PM
224

And of the people with good ideas, there is a tremendous shortage of resources.

Which of these problems is she helping?

Whichever! Free shoes!

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 5:28 PM
225

I KNOW! I fucking hate it, but you're right.

this is true, but probably irrelevant.

"Is what she's doing more effective than what you did today" easy answer, probably yes for most/all of us.

"Is what she's doing less effective than other things that could be done" easy answer, yes.

"Is what she's doing detracting attention/resources from something that could better use them". tough answer, I dunno.
But I don't think it was sexist to suggest the answer might be yes.

Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 5:28 PM
226

I would like to emphasize that I don't blame the critics of the critics for entering the fray. It's hard to keep wankery going for very long unless someone comes in and criticizes you for wanking. There's nothing worse than seeing things subside into boring comity. This is also why I think we should occasionally link to outside sites to get new trolls circulating through the body of Unfogged.

Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 5:29 PM
227

226: otherwise our immune system will weaken

Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 5:31 PM
228

A perpetual wanking machine, like a perpetual motion machine, cannot sustain itself permanently as an entirely closed system.

Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 5:32 PM
229

And of the people with good ideas, there is a tremendous shortage of resources.

Which of these problems is she helping?

Lack of organizations which can motivate people to spend their time and money on good ideas. If you're sitting around Philly with a good idea on how to help the homeless, go tell her, and maybe she can use her organization to support it.

Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 5:39 PM
230

If you're sitting around Philly with a good idea on how to help the homeless, go tell her, and maybe she can use her organization to support it.

Isn't one of the objections in this thread that this is what she should have done (with some already existing organization)? Perhaps she did.

Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 5:43 PM
231

And of the people with good ideas, there is a tremendous shortage of resources. Which of these problems is she helping?

What resources, exactly, is she diverting? The attention of CNN? Are there thousands of people out there who were ready to vote out their representative in favor of someone who will magically create massive changes in the social services infrastructure, but will now shrug their shoulders because Perkette is on the job? No.

Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 5:46 PM
232

Face it: she's doing a nice thing, so cut it out with the hating on niceness. (Repeat as needed for any future posts on niceness.)

Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 5:59 PM
233

Haven't you seen the bumper sticker? Nice people suck.

Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 6:01 PM
234

Parsimon in 232 provides us with an example of the bleak desert blog commenting would become if no one was allowed to be cynical, bitchy, and misanthropic.

If we can't hate on perky jogging for the homeless!, then I propose the blog just shut down right now.

Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 6:04 PM
235

Remind me of that next time I'm overly earnest on this blog.

Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 6:07 PM
236

I'm earnest sometimes too. The crowd always needs straight lines to play off of. Besides, you should always just be how you feel. People are allowed to be earnest and nice too. A thousand flowers blooming and a thousand people pissing on them, that's my blog vision.

Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 6:13 PM
237

I think that came out wrong.

Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 6:15 PM
238

237: It's okay, it's charming. I may be tired.

Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 6:24 PM
239

167: Also, I am totally not going to drop my trump card of what I've been doing all day

White people Sexist homeless haters love a perky paralipsis. Why? Because they're vapid and inane.

Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 6:55 PM
240

Sexist homeless

Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 7:02 PM
241

It would arguably be a lot more impressive to see someone devoting all that energy to working for the construction of an actual social safety net.

Really, it's not impressive to see someone doing what they can, in their own small way, to help?? Every one needs to work on a macro level to be useful and valid? How many people have you helped out today?

Posted by: Fleur | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 8:33 PM
242

Jogging with the homeless is goofy and mildly lame, but sure, also an example of doing something in one's small way to be friendly, helpful, and kind. As a venue for self-promotion it is somewhat offputting. As a concept, it is a wonder of self-parody. And CNN creaming themselves over its fabulous giving goodliness is lame++.

Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 8:41 PM
243

I think RFTS has provided us with a beautiful and comprehensive summary that is fair to all sides.

Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 8:56 PM
244

Ditto 243.

Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 9:02 PM
245

I would like to point out that gswift and Emerson have each cracked me up at least twice in this thread.

Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 9:03 PM
246

231: Well, like I said before I have no knowledge of this particular situation so no judgement.

Typically the way it works in the bad scenario though is some high profile or media darling fundraiser happens, which is overwhelmed by infrastructure costs, or pisses away it's resources. 4-6 month later some people with a much better program in the same area try and raise money for it but a lot of their target audience doesn't contribute, or contributes much less, because they believe they already did that. Really, is this a new concept? It happens a lot in practice.

Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 9:04 PM
247

More than jogging, giving new shoes to the homeless is not an insignificant deed.

Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 9:42 PM
248

Typically the way it works in the bad scenario though is some high profile or media darling fundraiser happens, which is overwhelmed by infrastructure costs, or pisses away it's resources. 4-6 month later some people with a much better program in the same area try and raise money for it but a lot of their target audience doesn't contribute, or contributes much less, because they believe they already did that. Really, is this a new concept? It happens a lot in practice.

It's not a new concept. But I question the overall correctness of the lump-of-compassion theory, especially when the case at hand seems to involve a not-very-high-profile and not-very-hugely-funded organization that is targeting a specific group of donors (runners).

Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 10:30 PM
249

231: What resources, exactly, is she diverting? The attention of CNN?

A million and one painted Iraqi schools later, do we really need to run down how the dissemination of bullshit via mass media as a panacea for concrete action is deleterious? I hope not.

241: Really, it's not impressive to see someone doing what they can, in their own small way, to help??

Hi, Fleur! You can see the link in 49 for one example of the sort of people who do what they can, in their own small way, to help. Sans self-aggrandizement, and with a view toward the big picture. And yes, that does impress me, and I admire it immensely, and feel guilty for not volunteering more. The jogging thing, by comparison, not so much, no. Although as I've said, there are worse things one could be doing.

Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:24 PM
250

Are contributors to Food-Not-Bombs really doing more to help homelessness than Miss Jogger? Really?

"The only group providing hot meals to the survivors of the Loma Prieta earthquake?"

"Food Not Bombs volunteers provided meals to protesters at the tent city protest outside the Ukrainian Parliament during the Orange Revolution. The tent city caused the Prime Minister to step down."

I snort.

Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:37 PM
251

250: Yes, who needs food when you can have paternalistic, patronizing pep-talks? I see what you mean.

Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:39 PM
252

Although it's pretty cool than FNB actually manages to feed some people amongst all of their getting together to discuss global capitalism and stopping the war in Iraq and agitating for the release of Leonard Peltier. Good for them.

Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:40 PM
253

Yeah, it's pretty ridiculous to discuss global capitalism and stopping the war in Iraq, what with how great those are turning out. And that sonofabitch Pelletier deserved what he got. More great points.

Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:42 PM
254

FNB actually manages to feed some people a remarkably large amount of people in many, many cities.

Hey, I hate the hippies, too, but the kids work.

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:42 PM
255

Okay, the standard Hating On Teh Hippiez bullshit prompted me to go overboard a bit: "paternalistic, patronizing pep-talks" is probably unfair to the joggers, and I retract it.

Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:44 PM
256

I have so very not followed this thread, and I am glad for it, but I can't resist popping in to ask what's wrong, really, with a woman who jogs regularly (1) recognizing the homeless people on her route; (2) talking to them; (3) asking them if they want to join her on a run sometime, just as if they were Normal People. And maybe even (4) publicizing her doing so as evidence that The Homeless are People Too.

(That said I'm sure such a thing could be done in an insufferable and self-aggrandizingly condescending fashion, which is maybe the case here, but the thing-in-itself doesn't seem offensive at all.)

Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 11:46 PM
257

Discussing stopping global capitalism and stopping the war in Iraq are all well and good, but I'd classify them as nearly the exact opposite of "dealing with the real issues."

But I'm not out there giving food to homeless people, or writing checks to those who are out there doing so, so I'm not going to tell them what they should be doing instead or that they're making the problem worse.

Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 04- 4-08 12:10 AM
258

Discussing stopping global capitalism and stopping the war in Iraq are all well and good, but I'd classify them as nearly the exact opposite of "dealing with the real issues."

So... you were trapped in suspended animation in the early Nineties and just thawed out, then?

Whatever, dude.

Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 04- 4-08 12:20 AM
259

FWIW, I view the core issues surrounding homelessness to be primarily a combination of a crappy mental health infrastructure for those with no money and a crappy recreational drug policy, along with a lot of misguided local politics. I don't see FNB *doing* much of anything about those.

But those problems are pretty intractable so not being able to make progress against them is no great failing, and treating the symptoms of homelessness is a lot better than doing nothing.

Dirty hippies with questionable politics they may be, but good on them for getting out and actually doing something.

Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 04- 4-08 12:20 AM
260

So... you were trapped in suspended animation in the early Nineties and just thawed out, then?

No, I just don't think sitting around talking with your friends about how bad the man is or arguing international political theory with members of the Vancouver police who are trying to kick you out of a park is "doing something".

Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 04- 4-08 12:24 AM
261

Before snorting at the Ukrainian "tent city" protest claim, it would probably be a good idea to know just what FNB's involvement was. It could be that the "tent city" protest was a minor sideline to some larger protests; it could also be that FNB was instrumental in feeding people involved in the protests that really did contribute substantially to the "Orange Revolution"; and it could be that they'd have fed themselves anyway and the protests would have gone on regardless. But the protests, unlike many American protests, had a real effect on that election.

Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04- 4-08 12:26 AM
262

a crappy mental health infrastructure for those with no money

Suppose this could have some connection to rampant corporate greed and its entrenched opposition to socialized medicine? And that that rampant corproate greed could in turn have connection with the military industrial complex currently soaking up hundreds of billions, if not trillions, of dollars in resources? Given the events of the last eight years, is speculation along these lines supposed to strike us as somehow automatically ridiculous or naive?

About "misguided local politics," I suspect in a lot of cases I'd have to agree. Alberta's the centre of plenty of misguided local politics, for instance, a lot of it based around greasing the skids for corporate greed. Could this be connected to larger, systemic problems? I think so, and my Communist Party credentials aren't even up to date.

Of course, those big, systemic problems are even more intractable than the symptomatic ones that you misidentify as the "core issues." I give FNB points for at least trying to think at both the macro- and the micro-level.

Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 04- 4-08 12:28 AM
263

FWIW, I view the core issues surrounding homelessness to be primarily a combination of a crappy mental health infrastructure for those with no money and a crappy recreational drug policy, along with a lot of misguided local politics.

Well, there are also veterans. I think they might be related to war in some way.

Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04- 4-08 12:28 AM
264

260: No, I just don't think sitting around talking with your friends about how bad the man is

Canned Hippie Stereotype #56! I estimate you were frozen in 1993. Don't be modest, you strangely charismatic Man of the Past. The future is a strange and wonderful place.

Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 04- 4-08 12:30 AM
265

"Jogging for the homeless" will from now on be my standard snark line for ridiculous policies aimed at helping the poor to be more middle-class through poking them with sticks. What you are short of if you are homeless should be obvious.

In the UK, the same tendency manifests itself in annoying second-rank government ministers inventing brilliant schemes to help the poor, so long as they submit to all kinds of authoritarian bollocks, and just fill in this 79-page form and crack on down to their weekly caseworker interview in an office park out on the A329(M). Therefore, considerable charitable energy goes into helping the desperate fill in the fucking forms, which is tough if you're chaotic and/or semiliterate, and deal with the perky bureaucrats hired to administer the whole fuckadiddle.

I am not completely convinced that someone in the Blair government hasn't actually proposed making welfare conditional on jogging. It's the kind of thing they'd have done.

Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 04- 4-08 4:26 AM
266

Well, on canvassing my coworkers, all of whom have done more for the homeless than I ever will, they universally think it's sort of sweet. So step off, haters! That means you, Sifu!

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 4-08 7:22 AM
267

265 is right.

Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04- 4-08 7:24 AM
268

Speaking of sexism, back when I was college there was a seemingly ditzy and academically sloppy female student named Ma/rion E/dey. Not perky, but seemingly not completely together. If you Google her, you'll find that she got involved in environmental issues quite early and put together an impressive record of accomplishment.

What I remember of her is that she didn't speak academic language, political-realist language, hip cynic language, or leftist language very well. So she seemed flaky, but in the early environmentalist world she was just right because she spoke that language.

My own Googling also revealed that she was an heiress and the daughter of a famous eccentric.

Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04- 4-08 7:30 AM
269

I believe that homelessness also has a lot to do with housing. Sounds like a cliche, but there was a time when hopeless alcoholics lived indoors in horrible little apartments rather like storage units. One way or another, the cheap SOR apartments disappeared, to be magically replaced with lofts. In Portland this process was well under way in 1970.

Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04- 4-08 7:34 AM
270

It's inconvenient that going out and jogging with a few homeless folks helps them more than posting comments on blogs

Well, no it's actually hurting them more than helping them, because it builds up their hopes for a quick and easy fix for their problems through jogging, only to be cruelly awakened when their problems don't disappear and this woman has lost interest. Meanwhile the media has a heartwarming story, homelessness is being shown as a simple problem that only needs the magical ouch of a patronising git to solve and half the viewers of that story go away thinking all homeless people are lazy gets who only need a good jog to sort their problems out.

Commenting on blogs doesn't help, but doesn't hurt either.

Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 04- 4-08 10:26 AM
271

When I was homeless, I would have though she was goofy (benefit of doubt; condescending is likely too).

But now I build houses. I wonder if she'd trade her jogging shoes for a hammer.

Posted by: Jimmy Carter | Link to this comment | 04- 4-08 10:47 AM
272

horrible little apartments rather like storage units. One way or another, the cheap SOR apartments disappeared

Many "urban renewal" projects were specifically aimed at removing this "blight" on the neighborhood. The fact that the people who lived there would then have no place to live didn't enter into it. Those people were supposed to move into better housing, not the street. I wonder why that didn't work?

Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04- 4-08 10:56 AM