We have Occupy Ventura starting today. It will take place in the Mission Park, across the way from San Buenaventura Mission, founded in 1792. This old plaza is very mellow, a fountain, ceramic tiles, bums on blankets -- why do we insist on calling them homeless? That term is too generic. We have unemployed people, mentally ill people, drug-addicted people, drunkards, life-stylers and wannabes, plus plain old criminals. And bums, especially beach bums, a Southern California specialty.
But they all go by the moniker of "homeless" and they all do the stupid pit bull and over-loaded shopping cart thing. There is a samelessness to this group, and a lack of aesthetic appeal. If circumstance or choice put me back on the street, I would be a lot more creative and inventive. This may sound trivial, but I think not.
I think they are called "homeless" because they are a living metaphor of society as a whole. They are the visible sign of our collective homelessness and our collective business.
Laura Wood would say, and I agree, that when the home-makers quit making homes and got jobs, that was when homelessness began. She would say that women are the home-makers and men are not.
I felt differently. When women wanted to go to work, I felt that an equal amount of men should or might want to stay at home and be a kind of masculine home-maker in place of the woman. This is what I did, and I have been the object of abuse and shame ever since, from men and women alike who applaud the careerist and mock the home-maker.
But the result can be seen in the mission park -- homeless people, bums on blankets.