Like many people I know, my post-college years were interrupted by long periods of Dickensian poverty—missing rent payments, hawking old CDs and records to buy food, taking horrid jobs that paid subsistance wages, bouts of black lung from sleeping in the mines—while I tried to figure out how to "monetize" (to use that awful, trendy, but useful word) a history degree. What I never did, though, is ask the Clinton administration to underwrite my skinny jeans and "gourmet ice cream from Whole Foods" budget.
Salon reports on a wave of pretentious, talentless, ironic beard-wearing "artists" charging their stupid and expensive vegan diets to the taxpayer.
"She applied for food stamps last summer, and since then she's used her $150 in monthly benefits for things like fresh produce, raw honey and fresh-squeezed juices from markets near her house in the neighborhood of Hampden, and soy meat alternatives and gourmet ice cream from a Whole Foods a few miles away."…
"About half of his friends in Baltimore have been getting food stamps since the economy toppled, so [Gerry Mak] decided to give it a try; to his delight, he qualified for $200 a month."
"I'm sort of a foodie, and I'm not going to do the 'living off ramen' thing," he said, fondly remembering a recent meal he'd prepared of roasted rabbit with butter, tarragon and sweet potatoes. "I used to think that you could only get processed food and government cheese on food stamps, but it's great that you can get anything."
How innocent we were, back in the 1990s, to not know that there could be a species of rebel youth more loathsome than the "trustafarian." The Chomsky-reading son of the Connecticut industrialist is a worthy target of mockery and disdain, of course, but at least I'm not paying for his cage-free chicken breasts. One of the fools profiled in the Salon piece, an "artist" and "writer" named Gerry Mak (pictured), rails on his blog about those malevolent "people/employers who think because I enjoy art and writing, I will be happy to do it for free." That others partially underwrite Mak's failed career in the "creative fields" (his inelegant phrase), that he snacks on organic honey "for free," fails to provoke similar moral outrage.
Click here to view Mak's YouTube channel, which goes a long way towards explaining why the luckless foodie is forced to swipe a "Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program" debit card. A year old comment on his YouTube account—employing the grammar native to the site—sums it up rather well: "you seems always stay at home, get out and have some fresh air."