Saturday, October 15, 2011

bums on blankets

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.

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