“Do you think I can pull myself up by my bootstraps?
- Why, I don’t even have boots!”
I had this unsettling feeling after watching “Pursuit of Happyness.” While the story was ‘heartwarming,’ I am concerned that it will perpetuate a lack of concern or initiative to help the poor. When Will Smith, newly hired, ends up tearfully amongst a sea of normal people, he narrates about discovering true happiness. Cinematography wise, Will Smith is amongst white upperclass Americans deligently working hard at their jobs. And when you contrast that to the scenes of him in the homeless shelter, I think the film’s message is too simplistic. During one scene of the movie, it not so subtly suggests that the way out of a homeless shelter is to be the one working hard to fix a bonedensity scanner, rather than being like the rest of the “lazy” homeless by sleeping.
I wish it were that easy,
That unsettling feeling had rested for a few weeks now, until I found the above quote from Job (in The Message), and this photograph by Ted Szukalski entitled State of Hope…I hope we can see the plight of poverty is a bit deeper and more complex than pursuing happiness through America’s idealized self-made individualistic work ethic.