Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

January 23, 2005

Help the Poor; Support Wal-Mart

Filed under: — Different River @ 9:21 pm

Someone recently sent me an e-mail with a “joke” about a fictional new product: Wal-Mart’s own brand of wine. It came with a list of highly offensive names for this wine, along the lines of “White Trashfindel” and “Chateau Traileur Parc.”

I don’t think people realize how offensive this is. The term “white trash” (or its more economically explicit version, “poor white trash”) comes from Jim Crow-era idea that blacks are inferior to whites, but SOME whites are just as inferior as blacks. In that era, blacks were called “trash” and whites who were considered just as inferior were called “white trash” to distinguish them from what “everyone knows” is normal (i.e., black) trash. In other words, “white trash” is to non-rich whites what the “n-word” is to blacks. It simply boggles the mind that the term “white trash” is any more acceptable in polite society than the “n-word.”

The making-fun-of-trailer-parks is just as distasteful. Why is it OK to make fun of someone because they can’t afford as nice a house as you can? People live in trailer parks because they want to own their home instead of rent, but can’t afford a regular house. What’s wrong with that? I think it’s worthy of respect, that someone works hard and tries to build up assets even if their income is low.

Furthermore, this whole anti-Wal-Mart thing some people have is horribly anti-poor. I mean, what do they have against low prices? Which is another way of saying, what do they have against poor people being able to afford food and clothes and appliances? Whenever I hear someone (usually a rich college student or zoning busybody with an expensive house) inveighing against Wal-Mart “exploitation” of the poor, I think, how can they be so selfish that only they should be able to afford things? And claim that to deprive the poor of food and clothing makes them superior?

(By the way, did I mention that the e-mail came from a liberal Democrat who claims to object to Wal-Mart on behalf of the poor?)

This whole thing reminded me to two posts I saw on Cafe Hayek a while back, here and here.

And in looking up those links, I came upon this excellent article by Russell Roberts.

Tell a Lawyer Joke, Go to Jail

Filed under: — Different River @ 3:41 pm

There is at least one lawyer in this story who must have been absent the day in law school when they taught about freedom of speech.

Tell a lawyer joke, go to jail?

Pair arrested outside Long Island courthouse
The Associated Press
Updated: 3:03 p.m. ET Jan. 12, 2005

HEMEPSTEAD, N.Y. – Did you hear the one about the two guys arrested for telling lawyer jokes?

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It happened this week to the founders of a group called Americans for Legal Reform, who were waiting in line to get into a Long Island courthouse.

“How do you tell when a lawyer is lying?” Harvey Kash reportedly asked Carl Lanzisera.

“His lips are moving,” they said in unison.

While some waiting to get into the courthouse giggled, a lawyer farther up the line Monday was not laughing.

He told them to pipe down, and when they did not, the lawyer reported the pair to court personnel, who charged them with disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor.

It will be interesting to see if the ACLU weighs in on this one. :-)

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