Monday, 6 September 2010

You Just Know There’s A ‘But..’ Coming…

Pem Charnley on an experiment he would rather have not seen carried out:
Any piece of journalism that focuses attention on the hardships facing those on the streets is to be commended.
Bold statement…
Insights into why people end up being homeless often leave the reader with an uncomfortable feeling – a mixture of relief (it isn't me), epiphany (the root cause of homelessness rarely is addiction or the person's fault), coupled with a reminder that yes, we really do still live in societies where homelessness continues to exist.
So, about that ‘But..’?
Rarely, however, does that sense of discomfort stem from some undercover journalist prodding around in a bid to ascertain street-level morals, in what comes dangerously close to being entrapment.
It seems he objects to a study being carried out that didn’t meet with his preconceived ideas about the homeless.
I am referring of course to Jim Rankin's piece in the Toronto Star, which is currently receiving a fair bit of attention after going viral. If highlighting homelessness is to come at a cost, in this case it came as prepaid credit cards given to beggars in order to analyse their spending habits.
And that, it seems, was too high a cost to bear.
I think we can all concur that this is a rather tasteless piece of exploitative journalism.
No, we can’t.

You don’t speak for everyone. You don’t even speak for the ‘homeless community’. If you object to this, fine. But don’t assume everyone else is in agreement.
We aren't witnessing people's inherent moral compass when their survival instinct is bound to skew the results.
Actually, it may well prove to be the case that those with nothing, those at the bottom of the heap, who nonetheless still act in a moral way, are the norm.

Fancy that, eh?


Shug Niggurath said...

If ever a Guardianista shows just how far removed from reality they are, just show them this:

'Still, I did at least learn one thing: the Vietnamese noodle bar on Spandina doesn't take Visa. If you're planning on eating there, do make sure you have enough change on you.'

JuliaM said...

Oh, yes. That was just a classic!