Thursday, November 16, 2006

It's hunger. HUNGER, HUNGER, HUNGER!

I swear my next post will have something to do with fiber..... but having already been in a cranky mood (see previous post), I can't stop myself from bitching about the story I saw in this morning's newspaper. If you thought people who don't have enough food are "hungry," the Bush administration disagrees with you. They aren't hungry; they merely have "food insecurity."

Enough of this bullshit. People who don't get enough to eat are hungry. HUNGRY, dammit! And you can't disguise the way you turn your back on them, Mr. Bush, by removing from the report (conveniently held back until after Election Day) the unsightly word "hungry," with its negative connotations. That anyone goes hungry in this country is a disgrace. Let's face it, let's deal with it, instead of hiding behind ridiculous phrases like "food insecurity."

I'm done now. (skulking away to knit take kid to bus stop)

31 comments:

jill said...

And yet, those bastids accuse us of being "PC" in our use of language.

Oh, I forgot - it's okay to twist words to lie or divert attention from nasty or unpleasant truths so you look better (or just not as bad). It's just not okay to choose words carefully in order to show other human beings that you value them and try to honor their worth.

mindy said...

@$R#$^@!

(my word ver. was gwdbu- g.w. damn bush)

Jen said...

You're right - nobody in this country should go hungry. We have the safest, highest-quality food in the history of the world available to us at a DRIVE-THRU, and less than five minutes after most of us are hungry we can be snarking down more food than people in some countries get in a week, for a couple of dollars.

I think hunger is one of the problems that government SHOULD solve. Maybe it's one the Democrats will take care of now that they are in control? (I am not being snarky, I mean it - let's see what they can do.) But sheesh, it's a disgrace that anybody doesn't get enough to eat here. Really.

loretta123 said...

Sheesh, I don't get it. It's a positive report and you seem to be focusing on the verbage. Like disabled versus physically challenged, I don't care what they call it, I'm just glad the number is going down.

Anonymous said...

carol, allow me to reiterate just how much i love your commentary - if i weren't sitting here at work i'd yell, "damn straight, sister!" but since i AM sitting here at work, i can point out the unbelievable absurdity of the fact that in my industry (social and economic program consulting) we are hemhorraging funding left and right for HOUSING and gaining so much we don't know what to do with it in MARRIAGE INITIATIVES. don't get me wrong, i think folks who want to get married (whatever their persuasion) should by all means do so. but to over-fund these largely cosmetic programs at the expense of housing, food assistance, and home energy assistance programs, among other necessities, just kills me. not to mention raising public transit pass costs here in one of the coldest cities in the country (boston) just in time for winter heating costs to go sky-high and screw the people who need both the bus and a little heat the most. for the love of mike - give the people on the ground the money, we know what to do with it!! thank you again for your totally awesome, no-bull words of wisdom. ~gabriella

Karen said...

I agree with you-- the wording is important. Of course it's a good thing that the number is going down, but it's still WAY too high. And "food insecurity" is absurd, and only serves to mask the underlying hugeness of the number. I have to say, I'm surprised they keep using these euphemisms, which seem to me to be fodder for ridicule...

Carol said...

Well, Loretta, if the news is so positive, why put some kind of spin on it? Don't you think that calling it "food insecurity" is absurd? And when you think about it, yes, the number has gone down a small bit, but over 35 million -- MILLION -- people in this country still go hungry! I'm not going to be sheepish about being outraged by that.

Sherry W said...

Really, we can't afford to give food away? How wealthy are we as a country? Bullshit. I get so mad abotu this I want to break stuff.

My single Mom was laid off, then under employed and we couldn't even get into a food supliment program. People go on about obese children and education
about good eating habits, but many working poor can't afford food of the quaility other then ramen, Spam and hot dogs.

They all should have to face 'food insecurity' once in there lives and see how they feel. It sounds like a damn mental illness.

michelene said...

I think the appropriate words would be "brain damage". I wonder how many people could have been fed for how long with the amount of money spent on the study by the National Academies to come up with the phrase "food insecurity".

annie marie in philly said...

WTF?

back in the early 80s, I was living on $10 a week for food. I still can't look at ramen noodles without getting squeamish.

like everything else in this country, king george the w figures "oh, it's only poor people; screw 'em. I am part of the have-mores!" makes me sick.

no excuse for people in this country NOT to have food to fill their bellies.

one of my favorite charities is philabundance; this group picks up food from restaurants and groceries and distributes it where it is most needed here in my home town.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious about why the National Academies recommended the change. It seems to me that Food Insecurity With/Without Hunger is pretty descriptive of the situation too many people live with in this world. Low and Very Low Food Security are unnecessarily vague.

The reason I think Food Insecurity is descriptive is that the term covers people who aren't necessarily *hungry*, e.g. a family whose food stamps run out after 3 weeks and they cobble together the last week out of food pantries, friends and family. No one is exactly hungry, but no one is really fed either. It is descriptive of the precariousness of many people's lives.

The new terms, Low and Very Low Food Security, take that sense of precariousness out. That is troubling.

Ryan said...

I saw the article this morning and didn't think much about it--I just looked at is as scientific reporting--until I read your entry. Now I'm really annoyed with the phrase. Pretty soon they're going to start calling things like manslaughter "inadvertent life-shortening."

Debbie said...

Doublespeak, baby. It's sweeping the nation! Go on, try it!

Global Warming = Climate Change
Creationism = Intelligent Design
Fox News = Fair and Balanced
fenced in pen for protestors = Free Speech Zone
Invade = Liberate
Bigotry = Family Values

C'mon, play along, it's propaganderiffic!

Barb B. said...

To me, Food Insecurity sounds like you aren't too sure how safe the food you are eating actually is.

If you want to be fancy/shmansy with terms, Food Deprived would be a better description. Although if you've been there, HUNGRY pretty much covers it.
Of course there are those who aren't hungry because they filled up on fried cornmush and onions with fake gravy. I am here to tell you, that's Food Deprived. Back in the day, being told I was suffering from Food Insecurity would have enraged me. (come to that, it still engrages though I am now Food Secure)
Also, if the governments (including mine here in Canada) only want to look at the cost...it costs a country way more in the long run to not feed the kids. If you aren't nourished properly, you can't concentrate on learning, your nerves and brain suffer in their development, and there's a much larger chance that on down the road you'll cost them more money in health care, food stamps etc.
Debbie:
how about
Poor - monetarily challenged
Illiterate - alphabetically deprived
Barb B.

Lisa said...

Not to be shallow, but I love it when you are cranky. It is shameful that a country of our wealth has a single person in it that cannot afford to eat properly. W. has never experienced a moment of deprivation.

Carol said...

We-e-ell, I kind of think that maybe he experienced deprivation when they were handing out the brains...

Let's see:
sobriety-challenged = alcoholic
humility shortfall = hubris
compassion fatigue = heartless

oooh - double speak is fun!

M-H said...

In Australia we have Work Choices for labour market reform: now the govt has dismantled most of the protection for working people, it means that you can chose between taking the shit the boss hands out and becoming Food Insecure.

Cortster said...

"Last year, 35 million people suffered "food insecurity," meaning they didn't have enough money or resources to get food. The number was 38 million in 2004."

This is one of those times that I'd really like the stats from the year 2000 and before. But let's look at the breakdown more closely.

The statement "There were MORE people with VERY LOW food security - those who are WORST OFF. The number was 10.8 million, UP from 10.7 million in 2004." tells me that the number of hungry has NOT improved -- indeed, has worsened -- given that very low few security translates to "food insecurity WITH HUNGER". This is bad news, not good news. The title of the story should have been "NUMBER OF HUNGRY INCREASES BY 100,000".

Basically, they are saying that the number of people who had a hard time getting food but were NOT HUNGRY has gone down. (Yay?)
BUT the number of people who had a hard time getting food and ARE HUNGRY has INCREASED by 100,000.

The reason some of us get hot under the collar about "verbiage" is that those who create this verbiage do so not to increase clarity but to disguise incompetence. The title to the story pretty much illustrates this point beautifully; particularly since it happens to be incorrect based on the content of the story.

And, lastly, people: 35 MILLION HUNGRY PEOPLE in the US. There is nothing good to say about this. Nothing.

Mel said...

M-H's Work Choices sounds much like the US phrase "Right to Work", which of course means "No Worker's Rights." It's all double plus ungood, quite frankly. Perhaps if our politicians actually had to experience "food insecurity" for an extended period....

Carol said...

That's his advisor's words. He's not clever enough to substitute big words like that. He definitely doesn't know what the word hungry means.

Michelene said...

Ugh, I just heard this one come out of the mouth of the attorney for Spc. James Baker; the soldier who pled guilty to raping and killing a 14yo girl and her family because he "hated Iraqis".
rape and murder=combat stress

Cynthia said...

Disgraceful yes, but every one of us has a responsibility to end this, not just the government. Believe me when I say someone you know goes hungry. Someone in your kids class, or from church, or in the neighborhood, or the next town over. Figure out who in your community is in need of some help. Buy extra food when you are at the market and give it to them. Not just at the holidays--every week. If that is too much--try the end/beginning of the month when folks on a really tight budget have to pay the rent. Often that is when they go hungry, followed by a few weeks where things are ok as long as nothing unusual happens.

kmkat said...

Anyone else remember the "catsup as a vegetable" thing in the school lunch program? That was in the 1980s during the Reagan administration. Gee, he was a Republican, too. What a surprise. Although I wonder just how much better the Democrats will be; they seem to have lost all their morals over the past decade or two.

jill said...

Or, as my friend Julia puts it, "People who have 'very low food security' die."

But what a shame to mess up all that polysyllabic handwaving with a blunt monosyllable, eh?

Irish Clover said...

I agree with Cynthia's comments. Honestly, to see the emotion that this post has sparked and the engery people have put into responding shows that this is important to a lot of people. Because it is important enough for us to be upset by the article, it should be important enough for us all to take steps to end hunger in our community. Let's not wait for someone else to take it up. Thanks Carol for bringing the issue of hunger up to our attention.

Anonymous said...

The killer of it is, in this country there are lots of folks who are not hungry, maybe even overweight, who are malnourished, what with McDonalds and Wendy's and Burger King and all. Maybe that's why they changed the name of it. Only in America.

Bev in TN said...

I confess to having a very poor memory; nevertheless, I think back when gdubya's dad was president, a big row about of course a family of 4 can eat well for $30 per week (per George the Senior who did not so much as know the price of a gallon of milk. Need I say how glad I was to see your post! Our government! It sure has a way with euphemisms. Along the same lines, I expect they will do away with "poverty" in america. Last I knew a person was "poor" only if she had an income of $11,500 or less per year. Sigh, I'm getting all worked up now and wish I had a dart board with gdubya's face on it!

Norskybear said...

Here's a link to a related article on hunger in America: Who's Feeding Our Children?

Emano said...

Actually, I think it's better than the old terms. One was "Food insecurity with hunger," and the other category was "Food insecurity without hunger." How many people with food insecurity *really* didn't have hunger?

Norskybear said...

Time to break out the red and grey dyes...

Carol said...

Hah!