The XX Factor

Victims of Their Own Decisions

Sorry, Amanda , but I feel zero sympathy for the part-time blogger delighted by his government-financed rabbit feast because he is “sort of a foodie” who’s just “not going to do the ‘living off ramen’ thing.” He doesn’t sound like a victim of the recession; he sounds like a victim of his own choices.

I have no problem with people “eating healthy food instead of junk food while on food stamps.” But organic-only grocery stores are not the only places that sell healthy food. It’s entirely possible to eat healthfully while shopping at Safeway and eschewing the marginally better-for-you organic fare that Whole Foods overcharges you for.

I don’t want to get into a food fight, though. I have about as much appetite for food moralizing as that blogger does for ramen. To me, this is less about a few individuals’ food choices than it is about the government’s benefits choices. I say a government has gone off the rails when it is providing underemployed thirtysomethings the werewithal to live in culinary luxury. Food stamps should keep people nourished, not keep their freezers stocked with gourmet ice cream.

I’m not saying there’s anything the government can or should do about this. I agree with you and Jess that this is a microtrend amplified for a piece that will generate lots of comments and lots of clicks for Salon. Surely there are more truly impoverished young people who benefit from food stamps than there are hipsters traipsing through the aisles of specialty food stores. But let’s not pretend that people who buy heirloom tomatoes and do the bulk of their shopping at Whole Foods are “victims of the recession” who “deserve our sympathy.”