If you’re at SXSW right now and you’ve got some speedy WiFi access, you can thank your friendly neighborhood homeless person for allowing you to tweet about how shitty the WiFi is.
A marketing company by the name of Bartle Bogie Hegarty has equipped the homeless of Austin, Texas, with portable MiFi wireless connections, turning them in to roaming hotspots, and they even have a nifty little shirt that says, “I am a digital hotspot,” which is a nice change of pace from their usual depressing and unmarketable slogans, such as, “Family starving. Need food. God Bless.” Hipsters don’t respond to that kind of message, probably because it lacks references to internet connections.
The idea behind this initiative certainly isn’t malicious, and the homeless folks that are allowing you to easily access porn on the go are getting paid, but in the process the homeless are being objectified. They’re not humans that don’t have a place to call home, they’re now things that you get internet from, like little boxes with blinking lights and a shopping cart filled with treasures.
But why stop at internet access? The homeless are homeless because they’re chronic boozers, right? So why not give them publically funded liquor bars and have them stand on street corners, waiting for a raging fire to spur so that they may extinguish the flames with their mighty and pungent streams of homeless urine?
And since people are always tossing spare change in to the greedy hands of the homeless, why don’t we make them earn that money? Give them a stop watch and make them stand by our parked cars so we can drop change in to their mouths, like smelly parking meters. It would definitely be fun to watch a three-way argument in which a meter maid defers to a homeless person about the expired time on the meter as owner of the car being ticketed shouts, “But he’s wasted! He has no concept of time!”
The possibilities are endless when you’re treating the less fortunate like their less than human.