. . . Certainly, the discussion of welfare has always been bogged down by moralistic hand-wringing over the idea that the poor might scratch out some pleasure they don’t “deserve”, because it’s supposed to be reserved for what Sarah Palin likes to call Real Americans---white, middle class, politically conservative. A long time ago, I read an essay by a woman on food stamps that really opened my eyes to how much this is true. She was describing how she got glares from people in the supermarket for having items as innocuous as strawberries in her cart. I’m sure if those people were confronted, they would say that they don’t want to pay for someone who is wasteful and that strawberries are just too expensive and don’t go far enough. But this argument is bullshit, because strawberries are nutrient dense compared even to most fruits. You get a lot of bang for your strawberry buck in terms of fiber and vitamin C. I think they even have more calories than most fruit. Clearly, the objection to strawberries is that they’re so pleasurable, and someone on food stamps is viewed as someone who doesn’t deserve even the smallest pleasures.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009