Gay Talese Handing Signs Out to Homeless People Now


You know what we were just thinking the economy needed? The help of bespoke-suit-wearing essayist Gay Talese. Luckily, Talese had the same idea, and took to the streets recently to do a little grassroots assistance. Noting that the signage held up by several homeless people in his area was distinctly, shall we say, lackluster, the writer began handing out his own signs to every panhandler he came across. “Please Support Pres. Obama’s Stimulus Plan, and begin right here … at the bottom," read the new materials. "Thank you." Writes Talese over at the Times' City Room blog:

I handed out these boarded messages at random to people who approached me for money, explaining why I thought their economy would be stimulated by my street signs. I further pointed out that the big bankers and industrial leaders the government was bailing out had lobbyists and public relations companies doing their bidding; but these wandering men who were seeking handouts in the street had to tap into the topicality of their plight, had to link themselves into the headlines and the top priority of President Obama. Stimulus, stimulus!!

Maybe we're reading it wrong, but is he trying to say that the only thing these homeless people were doing wrong before was not being … chic enough?

When Panhandlers Need a Wordsmith’s Touch [City Room/NYT]