Friday, September 4, 2015

"Human Waste"

Check out this 8-minute documentary, posted by Jason Sondhi on Short of the Week about a bus that homeless people use as an informal shelter. It's beautifully done, and never feels polemic or propagandistic. Give it a watch.

Hotel 22 by Elizabeth Lo from Short of the Week on Vimeo.

In his post, Sondhi remarked on the irony that in the very same city as this shelter-bus runs, there's been an uptick of startup buses, where for like thrice the price you can take a bus that feels more like a hipster coffee shop than public transportation.

I followed that link to the piece on hipster-buses and found the following phrase:

"All three companies argue that privatization can fill gaps in the public transit system. MUNI buses are notoriously slow, unreliable, and over-crowded. At some point, you’ll end up next to an unhinged individual or human waste,"

[emphasis mine] which I first read as suggesting that people who ought to be categorized as "human waste" tend to ride public transit (as opposed to the actual, literal human waste to which I'm assuming they meant to refer).

Although I was troubled by my initial misreading of the passage, I wasn't surprised.

After all, it is just this sort of Us-Them thinking that both creates and perpetuates the conditions of extreme poverty that afflict the world.

We're wealthy and deserve it, so let's cloister and let the rest of the world (which also deserves it) burn.

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