We can’t allow the Christian Science Monitor to frame homelessness as a “cool” lifestyle choice
Well, they can frame it any way they like. Free press, free speech, and all that. You’re powerless to intervene.
I know you’re probably rubbing your eyes and wondering if you’re missing something, but let me assure you that you’re not. This is homelessness.
Is it? If she, as you put it, when she leaves her office:
“dines with friends, goes out dancing, or sees a show. Sometimes she hits her swanky gym.”
….that sounds more definitely like lifestyle choice to me. I would prefer a small travel trailer in an RV park, but if you want to live light and retire at 40, her way is probably the way to do it.
Mendoza frames it as a decision freely made by a quirky millennial, rather than a choice forced by a series of systemic failures in the structure of our economy.
Systemic Failures? Interesting theory. Looking forward to you defending that thesis.
She’s presented as a freewheeling bon vivant, living life without many of the household burdens that the rest of us face.
I didnt’ get that out of the article at all, the purpose of which is not to biography Nelson, but to ‘splain to us that even decent salaries are often out of wack with the cost of living in various places. San Francisco has been struggling with this for decades, seeing how their teachers, cops, firefighters, et al, are more and more having to endure frightening commutes in order to work in the city or on the Peninsula.
Presenting Nelson’s experience as a hip alternative lifestyle is a reckless decision that justifies an increasingly unequal system. Someone enduring financial hardship who reads Mendoza’s piece could easily be convinced that the “cool” glamor of Nelson’s life is an appealing alternative. It transforms homelessness into something attractive, thereby guiding readers into an onerous cycle of poverty and neglect.
A couple of things need to be pointed out here. First, the title of the article is not just that it’s cool to live out of your car (full disclosure: I did the same after college, and into my first job), but to discuss how minimal living is not all that horrible, since we’re essentially unburdening ourselves from stuff that we didn’t really need anyway.
Secondly, it should ALSO be pointed out that the average American lives in a lot larger square footage than their peers in Europe. We’ve been McMansioning for some time now, and although being forced from a huge living space (by world standards) into a more modest one does indeed represent a decline in our living standards, we were very fortunate to have living standard to burn without inconvenience.
<Finishes reading your post>
Tease. You said that situations like this were caused by “systemic failures in our economy.” Then, you didn’t bother to defend that thesis, moving on to talk about welfare spending and homelessness instead, which is related to but tangential to the issue.
So, your “systemic failures in our economy” is just opinion stated as if it were fact. Pooh. I thought I was going to get to write something about economics. :-)