Angus Take House

Worst Take of the Week: Moby on Food Stamps vs 'Bus Travel Is Middle Class'

The week in misunderstanding the working class experience.
April 13, 2018, 1:20pm
Left photo: Uncensored Interview / CC By 2.0; Right photo: Pixabay

Welcome to Angus Take House – a weekly column in which I pit two of the wildest takes the world's great thinkers have rustled up against each other. This is your one-stop shop for the meatiest verdicts and saltiest angles on the world's happenings. Go and grab a napkin – these juicy hot takes are fresh from the griddle.

TAKE #1:

What’s the story? The use of food stamps in America.
Reasonable take: Our diets reflect our lives, not the other way around.
Pulped Kidney Bean Take: You wouldn’t eat a cigarette, would you?

Remember Moby? At the turn of the century he was a bizarrely massive figure in music, known best for making dinner party house music and his feud with Eminem. He recently relaunched himself into the public sphere with a heartfelt memoir about his struggles with addiction, and some genuinely wild claims that CIA agents had personally confirmed to him that the Trump/Russia dossier was real, and had asked him to spread the word.

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Well, he’s back again, only this time it’s less fun conspiracy and more depressing liberal paternalism. Moby has penned an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, detailing his concerns with America's SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programme) food stamps programme. Moby, whose own mother relied on food stamps when he was a child, expresses his concerns that people can use the programme to buy "candy, soda, cheese products, energy drinks, processed meats and lots of other items that end up seriously compromising the health of SNAP recipients".

What these patronising takes always fail to consider are the other factors. Convenience becomes becomes very important when you’re working two jobs to make ends meet – let alone the simple, universal fact that when life is stressful the pleasure of delicious garbage offers genuine respite. If you’re reliant on food stamps, there’s a good chance you’re up against it, in a number of ways. Now someone is telling you you can’t have a packet of crisps, and that you should have some beans instead. And worse still, that someone is Moby.

Moby reckons people should be eating "cheap, healthy foods like beans, vegetables, fruit and whole grains". Now, as delicious as that sounds, it doesn’t take away from the sour taste it leaves in the mouth. Ultimately, "millionaire vegan DJ tells poor people to eat carrots" isn’t a good look. Oi, Moby! Stay in your lane! Tee-hee, only joking. How can you? Your lane is the year 2001!

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TAKE #2:

What’s the story? Labour have announced plans to offer free bus travel to under-25s.
Reasonable take: Young people wait their entire political lives for policies that benefit them, then two come along at once!
Beef Jerky: Buses? What next? Drinking lattes on the bus? Free avocados with every ticket? Quinoa buses? Actual buses made of quinoa?

If there’s one thing guaranteed to turn the anti-Corbyn brigade a particularly deep tone of purple, it’s him offering anything to the under-25s. Since the youth vote had its surprise impact on the 2017 election, any policies geared towards the UK’s young people are immediately jumped on as cynical attempts to appeal to a young, largely middle-class demographic, neglecting Labour's traditional working class core.

Labour’s announcement that they are planning on offering under-25s free bus travel on certain lines has been greeted with this and more, with the Telegraph offering the under-qualified headline: "Jeremy Corbyn to announce £1.4bn free bus scheme for under 25s labelled another handout to 'young middle-class voters'." It’s tough to see who, beyond the odd sods and bigots of Twitter, is actually labelling it that, but maybe it’s one of those self-fulfilling sort of headlines.

I’m fascinated by this take. In what world is getting on a bus a middle-class pursuit? Unless the bus in question is stationary, has no engine, is in a field in Glastonbury and has "Strawberries & Cream Cocktails: £12" plastered on its side. Obviously, obviously, obviously buses are not middle-class. This is potentially the peak of Corbyn-denouncement at all costs, in that the people slagging the policy off have forced themselves to the edge of madness in order to justify their position. Getting the bus is an option for people without cars, often without the money to get the train either. Yeah! Because they’ve spent all their money on avocado toast. Am I right?

Prime Cut: Both out of touch understandings of the working class, but let’s give worst take of the week to Moby. I didn’t realise the song "Why does my heart feel so bad?" was about cholesterol.

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