Once again, conservatives show that they can’t get out of the 20th century. And that’s when they’re being cutting edge.
First Andrew Malcolm writes this blog post about the First Lady, Michelle Obama going to volunteer at a soup kitchen in D.C. She even brought some food. It was actually a great use of the celebrity that has accrued to the Obama family. Soup kitchens, as well as food pantries, need volunteers and donations. When times are tough both of those just get harder to come by. Just by showing up, she’s demonstrating a way that the most ordinary citizen can help. There are quite a lot of good folks who’d like to lend their fellow humans a hand but really don’t know where to start. So, nice gesture Mrs. Obama, and a constructive one, at that, right?
Not so fast. Let’s not focus on that. Let’s look at the photo. Let’s focus on the unidentified man in the photo who’s taking a picture of Michelle Obama with his - 0MFG - cell phone. This one photo, out of a number that were taken, spoils the whole vibe according to Mr. Malcolm. This, of course, let loose the rightwingnuts, who never like to miss an opportunity to advance their meme that America’s poor are actually rich. Alex Koppelman at Salon has the rundown and links to them. No need to repeat them here.
Never mind whether or not we know anything about the man in the photo. What I’d like to know is when was the last time anyone questioned the legitimacy of a low income person maintaining a landline? The early to mid-twentieth century maybe? Like back when, if you didn’t have a phone, there’d be some candy store or something in the neighborhood that might allow you to give out their payphone number in case of emergency or to prospective employers? Back when there were functional payphones everywhere and using them cost a dime?
The thing is, it’s the twenty-first century now and people have cell phones. To Malcolm and Malkin and the rest of the angry mob, I guess cell phones are something you have in addition to your landline. A small luxury. It is, however, very possible to have just the cell. Yeh, really. That’s been going on for quite some time now. Hell, even old farts like Mr. Yenta and I have given up the landline. Money was an issue – no need to pay for both. There’s also the fact that, not having our own secretaries, we actually find it more convenient to just have the one phone each.
Poor people, especially younger ones, just have the cell phones and they are no more a luxury than a landline ever was. They are much more practical than landlines if you are homeless or under the threat of same. If you can’t be reached by phone, good luck on ever being anything else but destitute. Over here, in 2009, not only does everyone need a phone, but you’re going to need internet access, too. Fortunately libraries are often able to provide that.