Vox Political: American Kids Sneering at the Homeless with Selfies

Mike has another piece worth reading on the latest trend amongst the fatuous and affluent in America. This is taking ‘selfies’, pictures of yourself with the destitute, and then laughing and jeering at them. The article’s entitled An import we DON’T need: homeless ‘selfies’, and begins

There a new fashion craze sweeping America’s rich, bored and – let’s face it – stupid kids, and it’s one that is sure to hit these shores at any time.

It involves – as the Addicting Info website puts it – “finding a homeless person and snapping an oh so outrageous selfie to post on Tumblr or Instagram. Then other youngsters come along to laugh and heap scorn on the mostly sleeping, ragged, destitute stranger”.

Oh how clever. How witty. How socially conscious.

The trouble is, as the site rightly pegs it, “the kids are reflecting the value our society places on homeless people. All it takes is a person to become dirty, smelly, and unkempt – and they become detritus, vermin – of no more note or merit than a rat or a pigeon”.

Given IDS’ own contempt for the poor and desperate, he wonders how long it will be before IDS’ teenage children or even IDS himself appears in one.

In fact, this kind of stupid exploitation of the poor for cruel laughs has been going on for a decade or more. I’d say it began with a set of videos called Bumfights. This was made by a rich, White kid, who would find vagrants and then make them perform degrading stunts and acts for trivial amounts of money. It was called Bumfights, because he’d get them to fight each other, in return for which he’d buy them a burger. In one case, he got one poor unfortunate to pull out a tooth with a pair of pliers. The video was heavily condemned, but it does seem to reflect the attitude of the vain, pointless and materialistic young, attitudes that have been fostered by decades of Neo-Liberal, Thatcherite propaganda.

Mike’s absolutely right in that sociologists have noted that we are less generous as a society towards the poor and unemployed. Jaynelinney in her blog has pointed to similar academic studies showing that people are more intolerant towards the disabled, and that abuse and violence towards them has risen in line with these attitudes.

It’s Yuppie values, the sneering attitude of the type of people Harry Enfield sent up with the character Loadsamoney. And there were and are people exactly like it. I can remember working briefly – for all of three days – for an independent financial consultancy in Clifton here in Bristol. Right in the middle of an exam to test our knowledge of insurance practice and law, the member of staff invigilating looked out the window to laugh at the sad state of a tramp in the park outside. ‘Too bad you can’t see it,’ he said.

This crew really did have the complete, yuppie attitude. I left on the third day there. Later on I found out through a friend that they’d been closed down by the two financial regulatory authorities, FIMBRA and LAUTRO. I was spectacularly unsurprised.

Unfortunately, although that company went, their attitudes remained and spread to the rest of the industry, and are now poisoning our society and our attitudes to the very poorest and most vulnerable.

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4 Responses to “Vox Political: American Kids Sneering at the Homeless with Selfies”

  1. Colin Glazebrook (@Boromoor) Says:

    This unpleasant attitude to the poor & homeless is the same nasty attitude that Cameron, Osborne & Johnson displayed when they burnt £50.notes in front of of beggars when in the Bullingdon club. They haven’t changed much since then, just doing the same on a bigger scale.

    • beastrabban Says:

      You’re absolutely right, Boromoor. I didn’t realise Cameron and the rest of the Bullingdon boys did that. I just assumed they smashed up restaurants like the Assassins Club (another bunch of privileged wasters). One of the other bloggers – Mikes? Johnny Void? Guy Debord’s Cat? I can’t remember who, mentioned a Facebook page for the young and stupid, where they did exactly the same kind of antics. Their money’s wasted on them.

      I wonder if the people of Papua New Guinea haven’t got the right idea. In some of the Papuan ‘big man’ cultures, there are no hereditary chiefs. The tribes are led, however, by wealthy men, who have gained power and social prestige through judicious loans to their fellows. However, this wealth dissolves at the death of the ‘big man’, and does not continue to the next generation. There are similar systems amongst some African peoples, like the Dowayo studied by Dr Nigel Barley.

      At the risk of getting into the ‘Noble Savage’ patronising view of primal cultures, it does make you wonder who the real ‘savages’ are. Tribal agriculturalists in mud huts, or the ultra-privileged scions of the rich and pointless?

  2. amnesiaclinic Says:

    The selfish yuppie culture started with Reagan/Thatcher when it became acceptable to be thoroughly selfish without any apology.
    Fortunately there are thousands if not millions of young who do care and help out with feeding the homeless and other initiatives. I like Bombass who make and sell excellent socks and for every pair that you buy they donate a pair to the homeless.
    Unfortunately the selfish, stupid and crass will always be with us.
    Let’s just get them out of power!!

    • beastrabban Says:

      Thanks, Amnesiaclinic. I hadn’t heard about Bombass and didn’t realise some manufacturers were so generous. Good luck, and all kudos to them.

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