Real Change
April 5, 2014 11:23 AM   Subscribe

Homelessness in America Award-winning documentary by Michael Becker. (Vimeo)
posted by vac2003 (4 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Interesting, especially when seen between the two post that came before and after it. Thanks, vac2003.
posted by Houstonian at 3:51 PM on April 5, 2014

The guy with the dog and the truck was shown parked in pioneer square, which for those not familiar with seattle is like gastown in vancouver in a lot of ways. The difference being that there's no strip of hip new quirky bars and galleries... the entire area was pretty much just fucked off and abandoned front to back. Yea, there's a toy shop and a few bars... but entire beautiful huge historic buildings are completely 100% unoccupied, or unoccupied besides one store on the 1st floor in the corner and just left to decay. And most of the area is just completely abandoned and empty feeling like that, other than homeless shelters and stuff(Of which there are more down there than anywhere else in the city). It feels like a different city, and there are more homeless people there than anywhere else in town.

I was actually surprised on two fronts by this video, with that said.

1. that it didn't feature more people from that area
2. that it didn't feature any of the several very memorable real change salespeople. like Ed, for instance(which i realize, he probably passed before this was made, but still as an example)

It's a cool video, but i feel like it left a lot on the table by not shining a light on the fact that there's basically a homeless district of seattle. And i don't mean the tent cities. Sometimes you walk by occidental park and there are literally over a hundred homeless people just chilling in that bricked over public space. In a city that gives stats of people sleeping outside nightly in the low thousands, that area is a massive concentration. Not to mention the widespread rumors i've heard of cops harassing homeless people downtown and in other neighborhoods and telling them to move it along... to pioneer square.

I'm probably soapboxing or projecting or whatever here, and as i said this is a cool video, but when it showed that guy i was like "oh cool, this is a well produced video and now they're gonna shine light on that stuff" and it just kinda... didn't. This video feels very superficial to me. Not exploitive, but just like... video street photography. As a documentary it doesn't really do it for me, and it really makes my inner asshole who hates tumblry circlejacking grin that it won bronze in a social justice film festival when basically all it does is go "these are homeless people who i guess sell a paper, these are some tiny tidbits of their stories".

It just doesn't feel like it has a thesis, or really goes anywhere. I actually double checked to see if it was just a long trailer. I mean it's cool and well done, and i get why people like it... but yea. Just doesn't really do anything for me, and feels pretty superficial.
posted by emptythought at 4:10 AM on April 6, 2014 [2 favorites]

It was a lovely video, but my thoughts mirror emptythoughts.

The original skid row was in this neighborhood - it hasn't changed much in that regard in the last 100 years or so.

I'd love to see a post on the neighborhood.
posted by el io at 1:05 PM on April 6, 2014

This video feels very superficial to me.

Agreed. But that's how we humans approach homelessness. One little twinge of (at best) "there but for the grace ..." and then forgetfulness. "History will little note nor long remember." We quickly tear ourselves away from reality with laughs at the celebrities and cute pix of our overfed cats and their trials at the vet's.

It's not that we wouldn't do better in the US if we were good at anything but improvised solutions. Don't see "homelessness abatement scheme" on Kickstarter. No "Yankee ingenuity" for the down-and-out.
posted by Twang at 9:29 PM on April 6, 2014

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