Is Seattle really the uptight, liberal-totalitarian, stronghold of political correctness that Huan Hsu describes in his Seattle Weekly blog post today? I don't think so. If folks at the Weekly really believe the parody that they publish each week, that's their issue. I think there's something else going on.
The top layers are the most obvious. People care about their vendors, and don't like the idea of press that might do them damage. Real Change is something that's sort of abstract. That's just an organization. But their vendors are real people. You fuck with them at your peril.
Beneath that is a sense that The Weekly isn't a Seattle paper anymore. There's anger around that. When the paper that's seen as having no loyalties or ties targets the paper that's part of what makes Seattle special, it's salt in the wound. Not a smart choice. Huan wouldn't have known this, but his editor should have.
And beneath that is the premise of the article itself, which was misguided in its assumption that Real Change is a charity rag.
When we give out of charity, there is a power relationship. I am the bestower. You are bestowed upon. I am powerful. You are grateful. The positions of giver and receiver are affirmed.
If this is what buying Real Change means to you, then it follows that the vendor should be certifiably poor. When they are not, we feel conned. We want the recipients of our charity to be abjectly wretched, not just vaguely-near-the-poverty-line poor.
It's an objectification thing. That's the lens through which Hsu's story makes sense.
That's not what Real Change is about. Most of our readers see our vendors as working people. That's why they like it. They know that we're about offering a paper people want to read. That it's not a pity purchase.
And when people work, the assumption is that they do it to make money. To ask whether that's a problem is to completely miss the point.