Is This the Iconic Image of the Greatest Depression?

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Photo: Joe Weisenthal

For all that has been written and said about the economic crisis of 2008–2009, the Greatest Depression has yet to give birth to one iconic image. This comes close. But no one has captured, the way Dorothea Lange's searing portrait of a migrant mother in the previous century did, the feelings of the American people at this point in American history. The hopelessness . The fear. The quiet desperation of dreams deferred. At least, not until now. Late last week, Clusterstock's Joe Weisenthal snapped a picture of young people waiting in line for job interviews. Looking at this image, of these college-age people — in the prime of their lives, really — but clad in rags, unbathed, their eyes hollow with hope and hunger and the shame of being cast aside by their parents and left to fend for themselves like baby polar bears in the wild, it made us wonder: Is this it? Is this the lowest point? Then we looked a little closer at the sign and realized they were waiting in front of American Apparel at 19th Street and Fifth Avenue, and that this was just how you look when you subsist on a diet of dumplings and Vitaminwater and choose to wear clothes that are basically just pieces of material with armholes cut in them. So. Still waiting.

PROOF: Hipsters Are Desperate For Jobs [Clusterstock]