Sunday, October 23, 2005
I have a favor to ask: If you find this offensive, can ya send off a note to firstname.lastname@example.org and say so?
This is a 1/4-page "feature" in local small rag. This guy is one of our local "panhandlers." "Help out the Homeless" he calls, as he walks by, followed by a crisis du jour: he burned his finger, it's his birthday, he hasn't eaten in 3 days. He annoys us, but we admit he's imaginative, and wonder which of his tales profit the most. Sometimes we give, sometimes we do not.
Tongue-in-cheek humor and satire have their places. I cackle at Jeff Foxworthy's Rednecks and Carlos Mencia's Beaner-humor poking fun at generalized aspects of human nature. However, I find nothing funny about this "trading card." Highlighting one human being, printing his name, and making fun of his homeless/mental/financial situation...ugh. They surely had permission to take this photo, and maybe they gave him a few bucks in exchange. Does that matter? Not to me; I'd rather have given him the $5 to walk away from this tasteless trading card deal.
We worry that Margaret, our "Two-Dollar Lady" (Hey, luv, do you have two dollars?) is next up. It's enough she has to ask in the first place, gets yelled at and shoo'd off, and shuffles back to try again. I'm sickened at the prospect of her being on Card #2.
ON THE FLIP SIDE:
THIS is a photograph by David Hagen, of Cleveland OH. He took this photo of a homeless Twila Felder, a few years ago, for an exhibit he called "Face to Face" a project to raise awareness of the homeless situation in his city.
"I wanted to photograph the homeless population in a way that might make them look like you, your father, mother, brother, sister, friend or neighbor," Hagen said. (http://www.lawrence.com/news/2003/aug/24/photographer_finds/?print)
Here's an excerpt from that article:
"Look at all that joy just busting out of me," Felder said as she proudly showed off the picture next to a more serious one.
They were taken two years ago, just before Felder says she sought help for crack and alcohol addiction that caused her to lose her home.
"When I saw both of these pictures, I knew what I had to do. I had to go through the storm to reach sunshine," the 38-year-old Felder said.
"My whole life has changed. Just seeing the two different mes helped me."