That Viral "Poverty Thoughts" Essay Is Totally Ridiculous
If you haven't read the "insightful" personal narrative that recently went viral, "Why I Make Terrible Decisions, or poverty thoughts," there's a good chance it's somewhere on your Facebook news feed. This thing is everywhere.
The essay, which is being touted as a poignant look at the "terrible" decision-making processes of the poor, is the product of writer Linda Walther Tirado's personal experience with poverty. Linda, a married mother of two, speaks of having to live in seedy motels, where there are roaches that she stabs with toothpicks. She can't cook for her family because she lacks a kitchen, and she's afraid of attracting more roaches, so they survive on junk food in said seedy motel.
Oh, and not only does Linda say she's living in seedy motels and stabbing roaches, but she's also working two jobs, taking a full load of college courses, and is banished to a life as a cook in the "back of the house" at a restaurant, as she is deemed too unsightly as a waitress -- or apparently a legal secretary -- due to an unfortunate set of teeth. She's in desperate need of dental work, and her body is full of infection, but she can't afford to spend the money on medical or dental care. It's a tragic, tragic story.
It's also tragically fictional.
You see, Linda Walther Tirado, or "KillerMartinis," as she's known on her Kinja screen name, wrote this brain-grating essay, and it's all about being subjected to the pitfalls of poverty. Linda's not actually poor, though, nor was she raised in what most would describe as poverty. Unless you consider a boarding school education as a marker for poverty, anyway.
The inferences on what it's like to be poor -- from the roach-infested living quarters to the lack of wholesome food -- would almost be laughable, if they weren't such freakin' gross stereotypes written by a person who has never experienced true poverty. That little fact takes it from laughable to infuriating.
What's also infuriating is that Linda -- who is panhandling for $100,000 worth of donations on GoFundMe -- wrote this piece, and the comments and rebuttals to it, while masquerading as a "poor person," but has now decided to clean up the mess by copping to her past as a person from a much different background.
The real Linda owns a home, thanks to some pretty generous parents. Her LinkedIn profile states she's been a freelance writer and political consultant since 2010, and has worked in politics since 2004, a claim backed by 27 decent connections.
She's married to a Marine, has met President Obama while interning for a politician (who obviously wasn't disgusted by those rotten teeth), and has plenty of time to visit Las Vegas on vacation. And blog about her privileged life on Wordpress.
She speaks both German and Dutch, and has a well-rounded political blog that ended in 2011. It's also a blog where she quite plainly references being paid to win races.
She didn't cop to any of that in her generalized disclaimer, though. She simply stated the following on her GoFundMe page, conveniently tucked away at the bottom:
"How is it that someone with such clarity and evocation has any right to assert that they are poor? It is likely untrue. Well, it is and it isn't. You have to understand that the piece you read was taken out of context, that I never meant to say that all of these things were happening to me right now, or that I was still quite so abject. I am not. I am reasonably normally lower working class. I am exhausted and poor and can't make all my bills all the time but I reconciled with my parents when I got pregnant for the sake of the kids and I have family resources. I can always make the amount of money I need in a month, it's just that it doesn't always match the billing cycles."
She's cleaned up her Twitter feed, removing any reference to being poor, and has added disclaimers to her essay to quell nosy naysayers or reporters. A well-hidden Facebook page from 2011 still exists, though. You might want to go check it out before it disappears as well.