Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words: President Obama Visits Chicago and a Homeless Man Begs Him for Alms

How a story's narrative is flipped, when the picture framing the story is changed.

It really is a small world. As folks who frequent my blog here (and elsewhere) know, I live in Hyde Park, a few blocks away from President Obama. Because Chicago is a "city of neighborhoods," each comes equipped with its own cast of characters.

In Hyde Park we have Miss Joyce our blessed gospel singing wanderer; the intrepid 24 hour a day walker; the former steel worker who entreats passerby's for donations at Jimmy's Woodlawn Tap; know it all U of C undergrads who talk loudly on the bus about Strauss, Friedman, Ayn Rand, and others whose work they barely comprehend; and of course the old school players who "holla" at women passing outside the Starbucks on 53rd street.

One of our other neighborhood fixtures is the gentleman featured in the above photo from Reuters. He begs. He pleads. Good folk occasionally buy him a sandwich and a soda. And as of today, we now know that said 53rd street denizen does indeed reach for the stars (and 5 minutes of fame) as he begs for alms from The President of the United States.

In short, I like my 'hood.

There is no partisan humor to be had here (as I know some on the other side of the ideological divide will find in said tragic photo). Yet, I also cannot help but to think that there is no better symbol for the malaise of the Great Recession, a struggling middle class, and Barack Obama and the Democrats' impending day of doom on Election Tuesday if the pundit classes are to be believed.

A story is indeed worth a thousand words, is it not?


CareyCarey said...

My brother my brother, you did a fine job of setting the stage to bring us to your ending.

If you ever lose your day job, you'd be a great storyteller.

On a side note, isn't it great that we have all those wondeful characters in our neighborhoods. Really, I'm not being faceous. I can't imagine living in a neighborhood or place in which everybody looked and acted just like me. Would I then compare what I have and then try to "top" them, or would I rather look at what I have and then be grateful for that?

Yes, a picture speaks a thousand words. On that note, had I not read that the man was begging, I saw a man giving praise to our president.

chaunceydevega said...

You are gonna make my head swell with such complements ;)

Perspective is everything. If I didn't see this brother everyday I would/could be inclined to agree. Given that I do, trust, dude was either begging or praying/begging...not that I blame him.

question: as brother Dyson says, is Obama Pharaoh or is he Moses? Just pushing that savior meme.

CareyCarey said...

Ut oh, now you're working me. Is Obama a Pharaoh or a Moses. Well, since it's late, and I have noooo business being up this late, and I need time to think about it, I'll be back.

I am sure, in the interim, somebody might have an opinion on that question. It surely is a good one.

Paul Sunstone said...

I increasingly think Obama is a Pharaoh, although it can be argued he ran as a Moses.

He had so much promise, that man. He looked better than any other politician I've seen in my lifetime. I got my expectations up. Maybe too far up. For it seems now Obama is on the wrong side of the Red Sea.

I just hope I'm wrong about that.

Constructive Feedback said...

My friend Chauncey:

Why is it that you provide the "proper context" of this one man who is on his knees "begging the president" for some morsels, yet you appear to be hesitant to depict the large number of Chicagoans who functionally do the very same thing.

They already have a city that has the political representation that they STRUGGLE to hoist upon the entire nation. Despite having only 1 elected Republican on a panel of 50 Alderman they allow the embedded larval agents within our community consciousness to convince them that upon grasping greater power nationally against their ideological enemies that something will transpire in the nation that is different than that which is present already in Chicago.

chaunceydevega said...

@Carey--Awaiting your response.

@Paul--Come tomorrow he is on the wrong side of the river and the bridge may have been pulled up.

@Constructive--Good to see you again. I love your blogging by proxy. It is charming. What do you beg for Constructive? I bet I know...

CareyCarey said...

It's me, it's me, it's me oh lord, standing in the need of prayer. Not my mother, not my brother, it's me oh lord, standing in the need of prayer.

Chauncey, it's me, Moses. As you know, I never entered the promise land, but since the age of 40, I worked tirelessly for all my people. But in my last year, I spoke angrily to my God, I looked over the sea of Galilee on the north and the Jordan valley in the southeast, but I never entered.

Chauncey, it's me Pharoah. Why in the world would anyone call me Obama?!

**eyebrow raised**

That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. What idiot would even make such a comparision?

Blogging by proxy **snicker**