[lit-ideas] Re: [lit-id] The Poverty of Heritage

Look.  Lots of pragmatics, minutiae, are being ignored here.  I  can go to a 
garage sale and get a used Microwave for $5.  It might or might  not work and 
if it does, its life-span is predictably short.  I might pick  up a colour TV 
at the Good Will -- it likely would have a 12" screen and a bunch  of 
reception problems.  The on/off switch might likely not even work.   But I'd 
own it.  
Americans (poor) are exceedingly good at "gerry-rigging"  appliances (which is 
not infrequently dangerous).  When Lawrence thinks of  the "poor" owning 
various appliances, homes, etc., my suspicion is that the  quality and 
functionality of those objects is vastly inferior to what he is  accustomed to 
and 
assumes.  My daughter used to have a class-mate who lived  in a run-down 
trailer.  
There are literally holes in the sheet-rock  allowing otuside air in.  She has 
tried several ways of fixing it.   She cannot pay for repair.  The woman owns 
the trailer,  hence she  "owns her own home".  I gave her a couple extra 
space-heaters I had.   So she has heat.  She has a computer the ex-husband 
picked 
up somewhere  which  has, I believe, roughly has 512 KG (not MB) of RAM and no  
internet access.  But she owns a computer.  The child and Mother each  sleep 
on a bare mattress on a floor.  The child has half a dozen items of  clothing. 
 She is clothed.  The Mother gets part-time jobs handing out  food samples at 
groceries; minimum wage, maybe 10 hours a week.  She is  trying hard to 
obtain her GED.  The Mother either is too proud, too  unaware, or does not 
qualify 
for, welfare like food stamps and medicaid.   The child subsists on generic 
cheetos, hot dogs, rice, cereal, and peanut  butter.  The child eats.  Now.  
Asked by a polster if the Mother  owned a house, a tv, a computer, adequate 
food, 
and clothing for the child, the  answers to all those questions would be 
"yes".  IF a poor family qualifies  for state assistance, the wheels grind so 
exceedingly slowly that by the time  all the red-tape is accomplished (we're 
talking months, here), illness, lack of  nutrition, lack of heat in the winter, 
have debilitated the family to the point  that even getting to the social 
services office to sign the papers is  impossible.  There are miles from 
residences 
to bus stops.  Children  do not have the stamina to walk them.  Taxis are very 
costly -- a taxi  round trip to a grocery 2 miles from me runs $20.  People 
have a choice  between paying for their electric bill and having lights or 
paying for their  water bill and having running water.  It is not because they 
are  
lazy.  It is because logistics prohibit their obtaining temporary help to  
stand on their own.  How do you find a job when you have to walk 8 miles to  
get 
to an interview, in Good Will clothes?  Some of you guys just don't  have a 
clue how a whole bunch of Americans live.  Oh, and if the Mother I  mentioned 
requested social services aid, her child would be placed in foster  care.  
Wanna hear some horror stories re. foster care here?  I'll  spare you for now.
 
Julie Krueger

========Original  Message========     Subj: [lit-ideas] Re: [lit-id] The 
Poverty of Heritage  Date: 5/24/06 8:21:55 P.M. Central Daylight Time  From: 
_judithevans1@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx (mailto:judithevans1@xxxxxxxxxxxxx)   To: 
_lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx (mailto:lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx)   Sent on:    
LH>But the evidence  doesn't agree with your assertions. 
LH> Statistics  don't support your prejudices. 
 
You've given no  statistics that support your prejudices.  You've quoted a 
statement  that
your "poor" (who are  financially poorer than our "poor") have more living 
space  than
people ("average"  people) who live in certain major and very expensive  
European
cities. That statement  is meaningless given that the European cities are 
very  expensive
and (London apart) very  crowded.  (I hope that's clear.)  You've quoted  data
on their possessions  plus medical care that I said I found *surprising* given
a *maximum* income of  $18,400/ 23,000/ 21,160.  And I do find it  
*surprising* that a family
of 4 on that kind of  *total* income can afford all that even given that many 
goods 
are cheaper in the  US.
 
LH> Anecdotal  evidence doesn't trump statistical fact.  
 
I don't recall offering  anecdotes (not that stats are not anecdotes in  
aggregate...).
I've queried various of  your statements *given the stats*.
 
LH>In my current  reading about Western Europe I have encountered 
LH>several authors  who believe Europe is a disaster about ready to 
LH>happen.  It  is doomed.  We may as well give up on it.  It is well 
LH>on its way toward  becoming a collection of failed states with a 
LH>few  exceptions.  They donât know how to run their  economies. 
LH> They arenât  managing their entitlements. They donât know how to 
LH>integrate their  immigrants.  They donât know how to defend
LH> themselves,  and they are in serious danger of reverting to something 
akin to Fascism.  
 
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
 
LH>I read one author  who argued that America should rescue Europe once 
again.  I donât think  so.
 
particularly given how  late you tend to leave it.... 
 
Gary Younge says some  people in the US tell him if it weren't for them, he'd 
be speaking German 
now.  No, he says, he'd be  speaking Yoruba.
 
Judy Evans,  Cardiff
 
 
 

Other related posts: