Sunday, February 23, 2014

Barackburgs, Hope and Change

Late readers may not know that I lived homeless and gut-shot for a time, entering the unmapped global neighborhood of Great Depression.

Thought a photo essay might be in order. We were 1930's there; we are twenty-first century here.

In an echo of the Roaring Twenties, glitz bonuses have dazzled the corporate world, meteor-like, the reward for off-shoring jobs to third world gulags and sweat shops.

Those "let go" by bottom line downsizing, run out of safety net and cash, and may run out of hope, hundreds of job applications later. Barely able to buy food and school clothes for the kids, some lose their homes.

Bank fraudsters foreclose as they did in the first Great Depression, acquiring properties for a song.

In the early 1930's US President Hoover oversaw the aftermath of Wall Street's greed: an effluvia of the dispossessed. Shantytowns were called, Hoovervilles:

Hoovervilles have segued to modern-day homeless.

The pix which follow are of forest-dwellers outside Baltimore, Maryland, an amoeba-pod of the Eastern seaboard Washington DC megopolis.

Didn't catch it on the nightly news? A paper in the UK printed the pix, the Daily Mail,  "Baltimore's people of the woods."

Many families and disabled Vets are broke, and now pay no mortgage, rent, or property taxes. Their make-shift living apparently feels safer than homeless shelters in urban ghettos.

In any case, big city mayors are forcing the unsightly homeless out, with one way bus tickets and dump-off elsewhere:
People are sleeping rough in shacks, tents in the outback, most anywhere out of the wind, rain and sleet: heat vents, parking lots, subways, overpasses, in culverts.

Despair of this magnitude echoes the 1930's. Nouveau riche excess of Wall Street echoes the Roaring Twenties, but also, the out-of-touch aristocracy of 18th century France.  Many aristocrats of the day had their portraits painted with a pet silly dog on a silk cushion.

The US First Lady, she of the million dollar holidays, tweeted the lifestyle of the rich and famous White House First Pets: 
Moi, I've dined from a tent. The tableware is generally tin, enamel or plastic. I've been handed campfire coffee in a tin cup. Good company, pinyon wood fire and quiet talk about what's real.

P.S. In the 1930's Great Depression, President Hoover, of "Hooverville" infamy, did not have a mediamatrix controlling public perception. Consider Barackburgs, and this long-term planning backgrounder:
Storyteller's book site:


At February 25, 2014 at 8:17 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

RDR here ... all true and hidden in plain sight. I recently read an article of a woman who was evicted and froze to death sleeping outside; heart wrenching. I've been wondering if a "Chicken Soup for the Homeless" will be written but then again, the homeless would not have the funds to purchase it. It's all being ignored by MSM and many of our churches. Nonetheless, the Lord is getting the word out via alternative news sites (and your blog). Unfortunately, so many are asleep in front of their TV and computer screens. It's all being swept under the rug (outta sight, outta mind). Thank you for this truthful article. Those with jobs, warm homes and food aplenty need to remember "But for the grace of God go I." God bless you Wayfarer!

At February 25, 2014 at 9:20 AM , Blogger Wayfarer said...

RDR, a treat to hear from you! Yes, a problem hidden in plain sight and it's hard to look a despairing person in the eye, let alone Food Pantry lines of them. Some of our societal avoidance is shameful: cities throwing homeless out, shutting down soup kitchens, even charging permit fees to charitably feed the homeless.

You know, when I was researching for this story, I pondered the old sepia photos of Hoovervilles. They were like poor villages, people in groups, from a time in history when more folks lived in small towns.

So many of the homeless now are desperately alone.


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