Over at Change.org, Shannon Moriarty led a raging conversation about Michelle Obama’s stint at a DC soup kitchen, a PR op that was tainted by a homelessness man using a cell phone to snap a pic (poor people are supposed to having nothing, dontcha know?).
The cell phone was all the juice some knee-jerker types needed to derail the moment, dusting off tired old stereotypes of the selfish poor who mooch their cell phone minutes from the rest of us.
One common question, which I honestly found completely techno-ignorant, was how a homeless person could manage to maintain a cell phone contract if they don’t even have a home. The fact that these critics had never heard of pay-as-you-go plans, which are advertised in every drug store and nearly every other storefront in any city or town, was flabbergasting. But maybe they willfully ignored that inconvenient little fact of modern life.
Worse than the cell phone joke, though, was the ridiculing of the food that Michelle chose to dole out. Mushroom risotto? How could she?
Kerry Trueman has an awesome take down of some conservatives’ veggie-paranoia and apparent fear of health. Responding to a back-and-forth between Kathy Shaidle (who apparently went to the Ad Hominem Attack School of Blogging after getting rejected by the Academy of Relevance) and Salon’s Alex Koppelman (who Shaidle tarred as being a bike rider; gasp!) Kerry writes:
When did such wholesome and innocent things like riding a bike or liking vegetables turn into symbols of liberal decadence? Then again, take a look at the de facto head of the Republican Party, a man who evidently hasn’t been on a bike or eaten a bite of fresh produce in decades. The Obamas, with their in-your-face fit physiques and ostentatiously heathy eating habits, must drive him crazy.
Truly. I can’t for a minute believe that eating green vegetables is a liberal or conservative thing, or that riding a bike grants automatic admission to the Democratic Party. As Kerry says, I think conservatives are responding to a perceived ostentatiousness, the idea that those darn liberals always have to shove broccoli in their faces, that tree huggers need to protest the carbon-based fuel economy by shamelessly parading around in bikes.
If that’s what people were doing, I would agree. But when you’re being ridiculed simply for trying to live a thoughtful, sustainable life, it’s the bullies who look crazy. Especially when you’re, um, on the winning team.