Saturday, July 24, 2010

Remember when they used to be called 'bums?'

They used to be called “bums.” The thesaurus also lists quite a few terms to describe what we used to call a “bum:” drifter, beggar, derelict, dodger, malingerer, shirker, slacker, gamine, ragamuffin, urchin, or waif. I’m sure that there are more names for these shiftless folks than Carter has pills, but the main topic of this post is a frank discussion of America’s losers who for whatever reason ended up in the American gutter after they were booted out of their last known domicile for a myriad of reasons. My working definition of a “bum” within the confines of this post is as follows: one who has no established residence and wanders idly from place to place without lawful or visible means of support. But they are not, according to politically correct folk (a.k.a. liberals), to be referred to with these pejorative, colorful and truthful terms anymore. No, they are the “homeless” or “unsheltered.” Or better yet, they are simply “displaced populations.” Do you know why the thesaurus didn’t spit out any of these helpful descriptions when I entered the term “vagrant” into the search? The thesaurus search did not display any of these new terms because they are in no way accurate in describing the losers who fit this definition. The people who came up with these new terms for America’s losers will have none of this “bum” business going forward. The word “bum” implies that the entire fault regarding the circumstances that led to the homeless person’s plight resulted from self destructive behavior on the part of the bum. This is not what these people believe. The liberal do-gooders and homeless advocates firmly believe that “there but for the grace of God go I.” Well, except that they don’t believe so much in God’s grace and all of that, these compassionate liberals and do-gooders think that each and every one of us could end up on the mean streets of America through sheer happenstance. These foolish do-gooders truly believe that many of us are just one paycheck away from losing our homes. They think that each and every one of those wretched homeless people you see huddled over hot air grates on the cold, New York sidewalks are good, hardworking souls who just fell through the cracks in the American dream. That these homeless souls are on the streets through no fault of their own, but rather are in their unpleasant situation because of circumstances beyond their control, and that the system didn’t cut them any slack. That kind of thinking is just so wrong in so many different ways. Bums become bums not because there are external and uncontrollable forces at work actively trying to take away the roofs over their heads, but more accurately because these bums had an active and conscious role in making their own roof over their head disappear. The true reasons for homelessness are many and varied, to include drug addiction, mental illness, alcoholism, extremely poor life decisions, just plain bad luck on rare occasion, and at times even willful and calculated preference to life on the streets. Allow me to sum up in one word the basic and primary cause of homelessness: irresponsibility. . But to think that the homeless people wandering the American streets contributed little or nothing to their current circumstance is just foolish. There are losers everywhere in the world. And there are factors completely within their control that are the proximate cause to the straights these losers find themselves in. To remove blame and scorn when discussing “homeless” people is to ignore reality. I still call them bums because that's what they are; irresponsible bums.


Christopher - Conservative Perspective said...


While I tend to agree with you on this for the most part I am sure you are aware that this "terminology" is by design.

As the economy is taken down by design, the immigration issue called 'humanitarian' by design by the left are achieving what they always wanted; a dependant populous (See: Greece).

Regular people who have done nothinf but the right thing all their lives are now found homeless or damn near it BY NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN.

When jobless (layoff) you cannot pay your mortgage, yes savings but they to run-out.

I understand your underlying point, but I am sure you understand mine: This is by design.

Amusing Bunni said...

Yup, they are bums.
The WORST bums are in the WH and congress.
They are living high on the hog and in beautiful homes by stealing from US.

Fredd said...


Folks who have done nothing but the right things their whole lives are seldom if ever bums.

Folks who play by the rules, and have a modicum of common sense don't find themselves in the gutter.

There are internal forces, within each of us, that allow us to view the foreseeable future, and homelessness is something that can be seen coming from a mile away.

The vast, vast majority of these folks whom you say have done the right things all their lives have the werewithall to adjust, adapt and overcome trajectories that are leading towards homelessness. It doesn't just happen to folks who are playing by the rules and doing the right things out of the blue, with no warning, and total surprise. Folks who are homeless know exactly why they are homeless and can put their fingers on the exact mistakes that got them where they wound up. Sure, there are those that will be in deep denial, but they know deep in their hearts of hearts that they blew it.

That's my perception.

Fredd said...

Bunni: several definitions, I was talking about the first, you picked the third.

1) Bums: vagrants, hobos, etc.

2) Bums: fannies, derierres, bottoms, butts, gluteous maximi, usually a British term. Usage: 'she's got a loverly bum.'

3. Bums: Dishonest politicians, rapscallions and ne-er-do-wells who finagle themselves into positions of power, who forment the term 'throw the bums out.'

Christopher - Conservative Perspective said...


You may misundersatnd me?

I again agree with your underlying point.

My, again MY point is that even those who planned ie; saved, payed bills and such just to be fucked are not to blame nor be chastised.

I am not by any means saying anyone no matter their staus get a bail-out, just do not lump them all into one group,as that is exactly what the Hussein regime wants.

Fredd said...


We have a genuine disagreement. I understand your point perfectly: you say that some folks just get screwed, despite their best efforts, and end up in the gutter.

Nope. Not how it works. Not even close. Anyone with even a modest hint as to the way of the world can avoid putting all of their eggs into one basket, a basket that can be pulled out from under them.

You may know some bums. They have stories they tell you, about how they got fucked. And you believe them. They are very likely leaving out some very salient issues that they are not so proud of admitting. Being profoundly stupid is also a vehicle to homelessness, and nobody, not even a worthless bum likes to admit that they are brainless idiots.

Good folks, playing by the rules, doing the right thing, with half a brain don't get fucked. And even when they do, they don't get fucked so badly that they end up on the streets.

Sorry, we disagree here, Christopher. I understand your point and whole heartedly disagree with it.

These folks are called bums for good reason. Or at least they used to be called bums for good reason. Now they are called homeless, again for good reason.

Kid said...

I've known a few bums personally for a while. I purely believe they don't have a will and/or ability to live within the framework of society.

You could clean them up, educate them, give them a bona fide residence and financial counseling, then push them from shore a year later and within a couple months they'd be back on the street. I absolutely believe that.

I think people who are not bums will do what it takes to keep form living on the street even in times like these. Go from a nice IT position to working two jobs, one at Burger King and the other at McDonalds, downsize to a one room apartment, whatever but not end up on the street living out of a bottle.

Anyway, the bums I've known are excellent at coming up with all manner of excuse for their state. It is what they've now become experts at in order to adapt to their new lifestyle.

There can certainly be temporary bums. The ones who stay on the street though I'd say you describe perfectly well.

Fredd said...


Permanent and temporary bums, you are spot on there. The temporary bums are nearly invisible, since they are busy figuring out how to join society again.

The permanent bums are the ones I am referring to here, and they are in full view for the world to see. The permanent bums always have a story, and they have practiced their story untold times, refined it, honed it and perfected it to tug at anyone's heart stings within earshot.

And the moral of any permanent bum's story is that none of their current state of misery is their fault. They got the shaft.

tha malcontent said...

Now we call them Job challenged.
As you get older….and smarter. You get married, have kids, get a good job, have a mortgage and you realize that those people you saw You travel the world and see you bums in foreign countries. Then you realize, that these guys aren't homeless, they are bums. Understanding the difference happens when you grow up.
Now, we should not confuse bums (dopers, freeloaders, drunks, thugs, street punks) with the genuine homeless. But the genuine homeless, those who lost their homes solely due to an unfortunate economic crisis and have no family to turn to…..those homeless are the ones you do not see. They are in shelters or transitional housing trying to get their lives together. The folks we do see are bums.
I have no sympathy for a majority of homeless, THEY ARE losers, bums, druggies, boozers and/or criminals. They are homeless through choice. There are many programs available to help those who want to contribute to society rather than leeching off of it.

Let's not forget to thank Nancy Pelosi for her help in all of this. Remember her words, at the voting booth. "We have to pass the bill before we can find out what's in it". These are the words of a real buffoon.

Anonymous said...

Very true. We live in the most economically prosperous nation in world history. Yet, they still find a way to fail. LOSERS

Fredd said...


Only one tiny disagreement with your comment: you say 'and have no family to turn to…

Rejecting one's family is the first and biggest step towards homelessness. Each and every one of the bums you see on the streets has rejected their family (or their family has rejected them) for any number of reasons: arrogance, ego, anger, drugs, booze, you name it. Once you reject your family, you have also spurned your very best social safety net.

Who loves you unconditionally other than your family? Your dog, and that's it. Once you put the kaibash on your family, you have severed one of your primary backup institutions when things go south.

Number one rule to avoid becoming a bum: don't reject your family for any reason. And don't get tossed out of your family for being a black sheep, a drunk, a junkie, a loser. Get with the program and don't be the embarrassing uncle that nobody wants at the wedding reception. Duh.

Fredd said...


On the sunny side of things, we still (so far) live in a country where we have the freedom to succeed, and yes, the freedom to fail.

These bums you see on the heating grate are at least free bums, to put a happy face on homelessness if that is possible.

Silverfiddle said...

Right on, Fredd!

The left uses bums to scare mushy headed people into buying into their liberal schemes, kinda like the muzzies use the Palestinians for propaganda purposes.

Fredd said...


Yup, and the sympathy for these bums gets into everyone's psyche, because we have been drowning in the left's propaganda for years that these bums are not bums, but rather unfortunate victims of the system, the hard working souls who fell through the cracks.

Read the comments above, you have a few staunch conservatives whom I respect greatly giving victim status to their chosen 'exempted' bums (in their view) for not having families to fall back on, and for having gotten 'fucked' by The Man, etc.

Even the best of us get sucked in after getting pounded by the Left's garbage for decades. Face it; they are ALL bums. We need to call a spade a spade. Leave political correctness for the timid.

Unknown said...

I think the transition from bums to homeless is marketing strategy for local politicians to get votes. Every local pol wants better roads and schools, somewhere along the way this lie of no fault homeless was put forward so local pols could run and say, elect me and I will solve homelessness ie differentiate themselves. The thing is, this message might work for those in the suburbs or the delusional do-gooder, but anyone living around bums, knows 90% plus are bums who only want to abuse substances and live off of others.