Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Exquisite Pain Of The Dwindling Bourgeosie Spreads To Willamette Week

The double-edged sword of modern times just keeps writing my blog posts for me.

For instance, a few posts ago, I mocked The Oregonian for their quaint, dear idea of what down-market means. I found it terribly, terribly dear ... in the way the mortal whistles as they pass the graveyard.

It shows a certain decadence amongst the decreasing members of the middle class that they regard some things ("staycations", economy packs, cheap beer and the like) as a big discovery when the underclass that supports them sees them as everyday life. It's like telling that awkward joke in the hopes of "identifying" with some "underpriviledged class" and makes them look, well, kinda silly.

I don't mean to take the piss out of them so much. It's tough in the newspaper biz these days. But its just kind of galling when you see people who voted for Republicans and waxed on their intellectual offal for years panic when the bill comes due and break their own arms patting themselves on the back for surviving so brilliantly when the shell game is a way of life for most everyone who hasn't even gotten their chances.

Nobody was ever poor before they were poor, you see. They're redefining poor. Poor people just ain't been doin' it right.

And that brings me to Willamette Week. I am very reluctant to kick someone when they're down (remember, they got layoffs and deep salary cuts very recently), but their latest interactive initiative just comes off as a little out of touch in the above ways, as well as simply cribbing something the New York Times is already doing.

Picturing the Recession is a call for readers to send in their photos of how everyone around them is coping. WW's version is called Shuttered Portland, and since people love being intarwebs-famous for at least two minutes, I'm guessing they'll get a good amount of photos (even though the NYT version already accepts photos from just about anybody), but the text punched the same buttons on me that The Oregonian's gently-condescending attempt at humor did.

Just because I'm an irritated curmudgeon, I'll cherry pick some rhetorical questions from the article and answer them, and maybe my point will become clear:

Are you playing Wii at home with friends instead of meeting them at bars? You can afford a Wii and friends? This is hard done by to you?

What’s in your refrigerator now? Leftovers, bargain buys from Food 4 Less, and stuff past its expiry. If we're feeling flush, we chill up some water (at the rate Portland bills us, it's pretty much a luxury anyway

What used to be there? See last question.

Has your favorite store closed? Food 4 Less? No, it's still open.

What’s become of it? It's gotten more crowded with middle-class people who never thought they'd be poor, and whose faces alternate between the self-congratulatory look of being brave enough to shop with the black, brown, and white proles and a momentary glaze of terror that maybe this isn't a temporary economic reset for them.

Is the store vacant? No.

If not, what moved in? See the answer two questions back, chump.

Okay, so I'm sour grapes and all, whatever. I never got the chances that some have gotten and all that, call me what you will. But this bizarre fascination with being Newly Poor and the strictly bourgeosie way of looking at it (by newsers that expect me to lend them crediblity) just sticks in my throat like a bone.

What I'd like to see from the news is more actual serious reporting on the deteriorating economy and the dwindling middle class (and consequently, the dwindling chances to become part of it) and more riding on the people pulling the levers to do the right thing and stop playing games, and less droll ironic commentary on what it's like to be poor these days.

I can save you a lot of tedious work.

Three words: being poor sucks. There. Your job's done for you.

I'm not saying you shouldn't take pix and send them to WW. Hell, why not? Sounds like fun anyway.

(Hat tip: Carla "The Unimpeachable" Axtman at BlueOregon)


  1. I'm unimpeachable? Oh...I think that depends upon who you ask. LOL

    Thanks for the hat tip.

  2. Well, legally speaking anyway.

    And I'm sure your past is overflowing with awesome.

    And, you're welcome.