Words on the Street

Homeless guy with sign: "unoccupied"


One of my New Year’s resolutions for Via Negativa was to bring back Words on the Street as a regular feature (I’ll try for weekly), in part as a way of commenting on, or at least acknowledging, the current global economic crisis (which I don’t expect to end in my lifetime, only worsen). Also, in recent years I fear Via Negativa has skewed a bit too far yin-ward on the yin-yang continuum. More satire might help restore the balance.

Incidentally, for some good, incisive yet non-preachy “poetry and prose for hard times,” check out the new online journal Cur.ren.cy (and consider submitting).

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).


    1. As if Diogenes would know! He tried putting his ear to the ground at one point, but all he heard was earthworms.


  1. there’s a pretty interesting integration of the homeless w/ activists at most (all) occupy happenings. One DC participant estimates the crowd is about 50% homeless. They were there in the park before the protesters showed up and they are the most likely to be able to stay there indefinitely day after day… of course there are some pretty clear connections between the two: 3.5 million homeless in the US, 17.5 million empty and/or foreclosed houses. But also disconnects — a homeless activist I spoke with the other day says about 1/3 of the homeless are homeless via drug/alcohol addiction and/or mental illness, 1/3 as a lifestyle choice, and 1/3 because “bad things happen to good people” — the last third having that clear connection, 2/3 yes worth being concerned about but not so clearly linked to Occupy themes.
    Nonetheless, in a way, your cartoon is incorrect; Diogenes on the street is perhaps for the first time ever, “Occupied.”


    1. Great point. Yeah, I’d heard this was the case, though I couldn’t have pulled those figures out of my hat — thanks. (Diogenes, having been an Occupant for 2500 years now, is perhaps a little set in his thinking.)


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