The other day I was catching up on my blog reading and ended up on one of my favorites Hey look, a chicken! written by none other than katdish. I really like katdish and enjoy her writing quite a bit. She's right up my sarcastic alley ;) If you haven't visited her site(s) yet I encourage you to get over there. I think you'll like her.
That days post was titled Pimp this Bum dot com and that title dragged me into her story. I followed a link she had included to her pastor Jeff's blog Convergence and a post he had titled Marketing Homelessness. (I would like to add that I include links in about 98/100 of my posts and I hope that you follow them and decide your own opinions on the stories I write based on the original stories.)
Both those posts are about an experiment in viral advertising and specifically about the website Pimp This Bum! (Yes, you can visit the website for yourself by following the link I included but it's a duel edged sword; to be able to reach an educated opinion it's necessary to visit the site but by visiting you will increase the counter that is keeping track of visitors thus creating a "win" for the people running it.)
Here's my issues with this site.
1. It says ALL the money goes to Tim (the man featured) yet Tim is still on the streets. IF he's actually receiving money through these people why isn't he sleeping somewhere besides under a bridge? And I wonder if they are telling him about the money? How much has been made "for" him.
2. It has a 'Wish List' with items such as a cheeseburger & fries for $3.50, a razor for $1.00 under which it says "Too good looking already" and laser hair removal for $130.00. Is that a joke? It seems like a joke and a really rude one. If they really wanted to help Tim why don't they just say here's this man that really needs some help what can you give? Why put things that he really doesn't need? It's so demeaning to me. It feels like one of those games you play. You know like "Coffee Buzz" where you buy ingredients to make coffee's. It's not right on so many levels I can't even put it into words.
3. The title itself is demeaning. A pimp is associated with prostitution and taking advantage of people and illegal activities resulting in lots of money for the pimp and usually a lot of pain for the other person involved. And 'bum' is just as bad. It's a hateful word to me. Someone who has gotten to the point of living on the street certainly doesn't deserve the added grief of someone calling them names. These people claim to be helping but again all I see is hurting.
There are actually a lot of things that bother me about this site but every time I try to write them down the anger fills my head again and I get nowhere. This is the furthest I've gotten with it and I can feel the anger in the pit of my stomach starting again.
So now I'm leaving it up to you. Tell me what YOU think about this. Is it a legitimate program that is helping people or is it something that is taking advantage of them? I need some help with this one. It's all I can think about right now. I REALLY want to drive into Houston and find Tim and give him a bag of food or something. It just breaks my heart.