Wednesday, February 27, 2008

"The American Dream" Still Exists

"Scratch Beginnings" (Adam Shepard, 2008) tells about a young man who tested the notion that the American Dream is dead: That anyone who is poor is doomed, doomed to an endless cycle of dark desperation and grinding poverty.

Adam Shepard started out with "a sleeping bag, $25, and the clothes on his back, and restricted from using his contacts or his education," and a year later had $2,500, a car, and a furnished apartment.

There's an interview with Adam Shepard, and a brief discussion of the much more politically correct "Nickled and Dimed", in "Scratch Beginnings: An Interview with Adam Shepard" (February 18, 2008).

Adam Shepard cheated, of course - by the standards I learned in college. He's

  • White
  • Male
  • Young
    (Remember ageism? Young or old, you could claim discrimination - those were the days)
  • Willing to Work
  • Smart
    (Sure, he wasn't allowed to use his educational credentials - but he still had an 'unfair advantage' over people who couldn't - or wouldn't - understand simple instructions)
What I think "Nickled" and "Scratch" show is that if you want to, no matter where you start,
  • You can fail
  • You can succeed
It depends on which outcome you want.

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