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Nov 20, 2013 05:11 AM

Why the 'Food Stamp Challenge' isn't as progressive (or informative) as some think

I know there are those who have taken great pride in trying out a limited budget or a food stamp budget. They make use of their surfeit of time, energy, and money for transportation, in order to make some kind of point (the likes of which I'll refrain from surmising here).

Well, here's a piece that takes the progressive gloss off this game, to uncover the neoliberal assumptions about food insecurity.

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  1. Thanks for posting this. I haven't gotten into the fray at the NPR Foodstamp map thread because of so many reasons. This article pretty much sums up a lot of what I feel.

    1. I don't understand how this argues against any progressive position. The progressive position would be that it's hard to live on food stamps, that it's hard to casually understand poverty. That's what this article says.

      It reminds me of a manager I had when I was unloading trucks on overnights. We would, reasonably, gripe about the work and the grind, and he decided to show us how wrong we were. One night he came in, worked with us for four hours unloading, all pep in his step, and scolded us as he left about how easy our jobs were and what a sacrifice he had made by staying up all night to show us what was what.

      Now overall he was a decent guy and wasn't meaning to be a dick. But he was ignoring that we lived our lives in a constant grind, barely seeing daylight let alone our families. It's one thing to take up a task for the experience, but that's nothing to do with taking that task as a livelihood.

      4 Replies
      1. re: ennuisans

        What I mean is the faux-progressive that veils the neoliberal impulse. Apologies for confusion.

        1. re: Lizard

          I'll have to take your word that "faux-progressive" and "neoliberal impulse" mean something. Then again i'm a progressive libertarian, so what do I know?

        2. re: ennuisans

          That's like the Postmaster who is one man short that day and decides to show the rest of his carriers how easy their job is. He steps out of his air conditioned office and comfy chair and has a clerk slide the big box up to the mail slots and starts throwing mail. He grabs his coffee after 10 mins. He takes a bathroom break after 20 mins. Then he goes back to his office to make a few calls. An hour later the casual comes in off the street and finishes the job. The Postmaster goes home around 4. Next day, he tells the carrier that was out sick how easy his job is.

          400 houses a day, in 6 hours. Light, dark, all terrain.

          1. re: HillJ

            Why, anyone can just step in and take over for a skilled worker!


        3. Might wanna post that over there, too.

          3 Replies
          1. re: linguafood

            I'm scared to go over there. Last time it made me kind of ragey.

            1. re: Lizard

              Ha. I know how you feel. Keep the BP meds nearby '-D

              1. re: linguafood

                I just did. Nothing frightens me anymore :)