“On Bummery: A Lesson in Etiquette, Pt. 2,” by Joe Keohane from

;There is a case for not getting the homeless off the street—not necessarily allowing them to starve and freeze, mind you, but not getting rid of them either. This approach ties in to our city’s collective self-esteem. What feels better after a stressful day than dropping a nickel into some maundering stinkpot’s paper cup? It just warms you right up, at least until you get home to your comfortable, heated apartment to take a nice nap before taking your soup and wine, you filthy gourmand. Naturally this tack would require a bit of juggling, a bit of regulation. You’d want the hobos to be desperate enough to make you feel good about helping them, but you don’t want them to be in such bad shape that they keel over and die.

Posted January 29, 2003

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