Tuesday, April 1, 2008

How am I supposed to feel?

So, if you pay any attention at all to what Kaya and I say, you'll have noticed that we both live in New York City and, as people not from the East Coast (Midwest, what-what!) we sometimes have an interesting, or at least different perspective on things that seem to be just the norm around here.
One of those things is the very visible presence of the impoverished and the homeless in the city. Sitting on corners, shaking cups or performing for bits of money, it's easy to see that not only are this city's apartment buildings and projects overflooded, but also the homeless shelters and mental illness facilities. Those of us living and working in the city are all too familiar with the occasional (and on some lines regular) subway begger or performer, coming through the crowded aisles and telling their story, singing a song, doing a dance or in some cases just flat out crying in order to get a bit of change or the grand prize of some actual paper money. And let's be real, I bet on more than one occasion you've stifled a laugh during a particularly crazy/funny/strange performance or tried not to be too obvious while rolling your eyes during a repeat performance of your local train woman's story (I swear this one girl had her speech down pact, word for word weekdays on the downtown 2 train).
So yeah, we all have our thoughts, jokes, annoyances, whatever with these situations, but now someone has actually created a video as a reaction. Take a look below.

So when I first saw this I'll be plainly honest, I thought it was kind of funny. No, more like pretty hilarious. I mean come on, satire is always good fun- and if you get into the layered nature of this joke you could make all sorts of comments on those in power taking money from the middle class workers, the suffocatingly crowded yet simultaneously painfully isolating nature of the subway and the at times ludicrous accounts given by people in order to shame tourists into pulling their quarters and dollars out of their pockets/purses. But, like all good things, this enjoyment of mine while watching this video abruptly came to an end about 10 or 15 seconds into it, turning into a strong annoyance, then a quiet, bubbling rage and finally solidifying into a sinking pit of shame in my stomach when the actual homeless man comes into the cab singing a song and the actor claims that he "can sing better than him."
I'm all for conversations on these sort of awkard and depressing social phenomena, but jokes like this, while generally amusing, don't seem to do much more than providing a cathartic release- not for the people suffering from poverty but for those "suffering" from having to look at them.
And that, my friends, is pretty problematic. :/

1 comment:


this video is borderline hilarious & sad at the same time, the actor makes a good point by giving you another perspective of the begging/con game-these corporate entities really are giving you the i-just-need-to-feed-my-family speech with their false advertisements plastered everywhere you turn begging for your dollars..i hope he gave that homeless man some money for cockblocking his hustle