Heart Happy (cathy_edgett) wrote,
Heart Happy

What I Didn't Mention -

Yesterday was a beautiful day for me, as I said, but what I didn't mention is that we literally walked by people sleeping on the street, sleeping under plastic or a blanket.  We were not in a poor area of the city.  We were by the financial district, by the bay, near the acclaimed ball park.  We saw women pushing shopping carts filled with their belongings.  Plastic bags hung from the sides. My son Chris was in Chicago last week to speak to the Sierra Club about energy storage, and he saw homeless people there, and was shocked.  How do people survive on the streets in Chicago?  But it isn't exactly warm here either, especially if you're sleeping on a sidewalk.

The New York Review of Books has an article this week by Ian Frazier called "Let Us Now Praise James Agee".  It's about the book Cotton Tenants: Three Families written by James Agee and Walker Evans.

In 1936, the editors of Fortune magazine sent Agee and Evans, a reporter and a photographer, to do a story on the tenant farmers in the South's Cotton Belt.  Frazier writes,"Henry Luce, who founded Fortune as a business magazine with a target audience of tycoons and millionaires, had recently noticed the Depression. The then-widespread notion that straight-ahead, free-market capitalism did not always work had begun to make inroads upon his mind."  Agee and Evans stayed with tenant families about a month and Agee wrote a piece of about 30,000 words which was never published. This introductory piece of the article may explain why it didn't exactly fit Fortune's intent.

Agee's words:

  A civilization which for any reason puts a human life at a disadvantage; or a civilization which can exist only by putting human life at a disadvantage; is worthy neither of the name nor of continuance.  And a human being whose life is nurtured in an advantage which has accrued from the disadvantage of other human beings, and who prefers that this should remain as it is, is a human being by definition only, having much more in common with the bedbug, the tapeworm, the cancer, and the scavengers of the deep sea.

This seems rather insulting to the scavengers of the deep sea, but how do we respond when a ten year employee of McDonalds is jailed for speaking out for a living wage?

We do, of course, have money for this: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Line-of-palms-mark-beginning-end-of-Bay-Bridge-4930992.php#photo-5375660

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