Saturday, March 07, 2009

Homeless Man With Cell Phone

Searching for something (anything) to bitch about when it comes to the Obama's, Andrew Malcolm seizes on Michelle Obama serving food at a homeless shelter in order to point out that some filthy homeless person is taking a picture of the First Lady with a cellphone. Blissfully unaware of cheap disposable cellphones that can be purchased anywhere, Malcolm wonders where the disgusting parasitic poor have their phone bills delivered.

What homeless people have cell phones !?!?! Why don't they use fixed phones in their residences. Oh they don't have fixed residences.

But I mean why would a homeless person want a phone. Can't they just go get a job. You know when the guy says "Don't call us we'll call you" tell him to call a homeless shelter. Employers love to call homeless shelters to hire people.

It's very hard to live without a phone in the USA. Cell phones cost roughly nothing. Calling people with cell phones costs money, but, you know an SMS when one is late to an appointment, because the bus didn't come on time, costs very little. Receiving calls on a cell phone costs nothing.

All the poorish people I know (none of whom is homeless) save money by not having a fixed phone and relying on cell phones. They used to be a status symbol (really they were a status symbol once kids). Now they are, if anything, the opposite.

Of course *my* cell phone doesn't have a camera. A cell phone with a camera. Now that is tooo much.

Via atrios.

Update: I assumed that bit by TBogg about "phone bills delivered" was a joke, that is, I commented on Malcom's blog post without reading it (by bad). Now I find it ends as follows

And if he is homeless, where do they send the cellphone bills?

-- Andrew Malcolm

I am honestly dumfounded by Malcolm's ignorance. I have a cell phone. I don't get cell phone bills. it is a prepaid cell phone. I pay in advance (at an ATM or using, you guessed it, a cell phone). This means that Malcolm is not only ignorant about the homeless, he is also ignorant about anti-terrorism policy, FISA and NSA surveillance.

The geniuses who can identify an al Qaeda sleeper agent with only a tiny amount of data on known al Qaeda sleeper agents (as in less than 10 are known) tend to be secretive about their techniques (partly so al Qaeda doesn't know, partly because they were grossly illegal, and, probably, mostly because they were nonsensical). They do however, discuss pre-paid cell phones a lot. No bill, no address, no need to have a record of the customer's name for the system to work (although I'm sure the customer's name is supposed to be recorded somewhere).

I mean has he been hiding in a cave as long as Osama bin Laden. I *hate* cell phones and even I know that you don't need an address where they can send the bill to use a cell phone.

1 comment:

Bruce Webb said...

Robert someone should write a post about the paradox of communication and content in the 21st century.

I am struck when watching footage from overseas whether that be Africa or Asia that cell phones are almost ubiquitous in even the poorest neighborhoods. And while I suspect they don't have the same data plan I have in my iPhone we are not that far away from a world where remote villages and slums don't have access to secure food supplies or clean water but via a solar powered communal TV and a crank up PC have access to information from around the world.

Europe has a project to put all of its greatest cultural resources online and many government and major research libraries are committed to getting as much of their collections online as well.

Is this heaven or hell? I mean it is somewhat hellish to think of some Sudanese kid orphaned by rebels and hoping that the UN aid people will return one day still being able to wander the virtual halls of the Louvre and browse the stacks at the L of C. On the other hand I am on the verge of selling my 2 BR condo (in which I live alone) with plans to move to a small studio. Because as long as I have access to high-speed internet, a microwave, and a refrigerator my needs are pretty much met.

Part of this is a desire to get a little more green and reduce my carbon footprint, but a lot of it is because I don't need to have eight book shelves double stacked with books anymore, or a record collection, or racks of floppy drives, or boxes of pictures, and I can save a bunch of green by not having to set aside living space for such things.

Given the economy I too might end up living out of my car, but one way or another I will still have access to the internet. We seem to be entering an era where all things are flipped. Once only the wealthy could afford fine art and books and travel, these days those may all the poor can afford going forwards (admittedly the travel being virtual).