Everything about this project is so good. Using comics in journalism is I think a much underused thing. Joe Sacco is able to bring life to a subject in a way that mere photography seldom achieves and he can do things by drawing them that in writing would seem trite and melodramatic.
The subject itself, also is I think a timely and important one, poverty in America is something that rarely gets the attention it should. This country has convinced itself that it is founded on an ethos of ‘work hard and you will be rewarded well’, which has the inherent message that the poor simply didn’t or didn’t want to work hard enough.
And are therefore getting what they deserve and not worth our attention.
But of course the truth is that the history of America has always been about the struggle between the exploiters and those who oppose them.
We like to think that we live in a more equal society than our ancestors, and in many ways we do. However though civil rights have been extended and we have a much higher standard of living, we’ve let socioeconomic justice slide back to 19th century standards. There are many reasons why this happened, and I recommend Adam Curtis’ excellent documentary series The Trap if you’re interested in those, but the book by Chris Hedges and Joe Sacco does the heartbreaking job of showing the effects, right here in this country, of the is exploitation of people and our shared resources by the few and for the few (I hate using a term like ‘the rich’).
Okay, and now I’ll go back to drawing and posting cute little pictures.