Let me start by saying I love the Daily Show. It's funny, it's insight and it's smart.
But sometimes it's not so smart; take last night's piece by new correspondent Dan Bakkedahl on "Bumvertising."
What the hell's bumvertising you ask? Developed by Benjamin Rogovy, bumvertising involves renting the space below the signs homeless people hold on street corners. Just under the "Will work for food" on cardboard, you'd see a glossy, green poster with "PokerFaceBook.com: Meet players, find games, get connected."
The ads work--PokerFaceBook's sign ups noticably increased with bumvertising--and since it's not much more work for the homeless, they gladly accept the three-dollars-a-shift pay. Rogovy even thinks there may be spillover benefits. "Bums will incur higher revenues from donations after showing the initiative to seek out semi-legitimate employment. Many of the vagabonds of PokerFaceBook.com's Bumvertising campaign remark that they are receiving more comments and questions than ever."
The new guy had a problem with this. He brought on some kind of homeless advocate to attack the idea of the destitute working for the money that goes in their pockets. He found it "exploitive" and not what they needed. With a mixture of seriousness and humor, Bakkedahl called the process "sucking the blood of the poor." (Granted, I'm paraphrasing, but it was something to that extent.)
What amazes me is that the homeless advocates clearly don't know what the homeless want. If it was degrading and evil, then why are the poor participating? If it is so horrible for them to do it, why are they doing it? Don't we want the poorest people to get jobs and contribute to society? Isn't this better than simply begging?
That's a "No" to Bakkedahl and the other guy (yeah, I can't remember the pro-homeless guy's name). They think the homeless are too stupid to make their own decisions. They think everyone else should give out of pity. How degrading.