Two incidences does not mean correlation but let’s just say my tin foil antenna are twitching.
Yesterday, the NYTimes posted an article on the unemployed who are 55 or older. They feature a picture of the subject of the article. Patricia Reid, to put it kindly, is overweight, with a double chin and is no longer a young blooming rose. Not only that but it looks like she’s taking a nap at her computer terminal. Then, there are the details of her demise: when she was first unemployed, she didn’t curb her spending, she took extravagant vacations to Turkey, she employed the use of a chiropractor, she tapped into her 401K and spent most of it, she’s got significant credit card debt and a 3000 sq ft house.
The portrait of this person is highly unflattering. She’s unattractive, foolish and lazy or so we are lead to believe. You come away from this article thinking that Ms. Reid deserved it.
Here’s another one from the NYTimes about exhausting unemployment benefits. In this one, the subject is a bit younger but still obese and past her prime. The article mentions she was on “disability” before she was laid off.
I take it back. There is definitely a trend here. Here’s a third article about exhausting unemployment bennies. Again, the subject of the article is a middle aged woman, obese, with bleach blond hair. More unflattering details in this one include the fact that the woman has grown children who have not offered her a place to live. She’s virtually homeless.
Now, none of the unemployed friends I know look or behave anything like these women. They’re all well educated, dedicated, hard working, responsible people who simply were in the wrong place at the wrong time. But if you read the NYTimes, you get the impression that the unemployed are fat, lazy, middle aged women who must have done something wrong or they wouldn’t be facing eviction. They don’t deserve our help. The unsympathetic characterization of the long term unemployed makes me think that Glenn Beck is editing.
Does anyone have a reasonable explanation for this phenomenon? Anyone? Bueller?