Saturday, March 27, 2010

Hipsters on Food Stamps.

This is a fascinating read, or at least I thought so, given my current preoccupations with poverty and the artist's life. Two quintessentially American but seemingly unrelated attitudes dovetail nicely: Americans' general disdain for and suspicion of artists and Americans' belief that poor people deserve to eat crappy food.

(Be sure and read the response by one of the subjects of the article. He expresses most of the thoughts I had while reading the piece.)

I've thought about food stamps recently. Not thought about like "I'm gonna march down there and get me some," but thought about like, "What would it mean for someone like me to be getting food stamps?" I've been looking for work for months, and I don't have enough savings to live on for more than another few weeks -- why is it I seem to have a basic assumption that people like me (white, single, middle class background) don't really deserve public assistance? Why is it I assume that since I chose to be an artist I deserve financial insecurity? I'm not eligible for unemployment (the sort of respectable welfare for middle-class people), even though I've paid taxes all my life and even paid double in most years because self-employed people have to pay self-employment tax.

I don't intend these questions to imply that I feel I'm not getting something I'm entitled to. They're genuinely confusing questions to me.

1 comment:

chavisory said...

I have had many of the same conflicting feelings about food stamps. And I'm glad you wrote about this article, because I would like to, but my own feelings about the pair of articles, and all the responses, are still too volatile to be very easily articulated. If you have the time on your hands...all of the comments (I know, there are a few hundred) are worth reading, for the sake of witnessing how other people actually think about this issue. I was fairly upset at Salon for what seemed like a purposely inflammatory portrayal of the subjects of the first article.

(Emily)