Saturday, 20 September 2014

Poverty p0rn

Stumbling and Mumbling is a brilliant blog I rarely read without coming away thinking about stuff. I was less sure about this bit though:

"(P)icture the 1930s depression. If you're like me, your visual images come from Steinbeck and Orwell, and the aural ones from Woody Guthrie and the Carter Family. Picture the 1980s recession, and we (I?) recall the Specials, Brookside and Boys from the Blackstuff. Now picture the recent Great Recession. What do you see? What do you hear? Nothing. Culturally, the recent recession didn't happen."

The images cited illustrate how history acts as a filter. Give or take "Broocckie", as time passes the mediocre and the average tend to be forgotten as those who write the past unavoidably impose their own current perspective and standards. But, that's by the by because the emergence of poverty porn (Benefits Street, the Scheme etc.,)  has already given us images of the recent recession, just ones characterised more by their gawping vindictiveness than the powerful notions of empathy we - like to think we can - see in the past.

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