Skip to main content


The seven-minute film, below, is getting attention. Me, I'm bothered by it more than a little. I was affected by the little movie, but also repelled by the 'romantic' notion that homelessness can be swept away in an instant AND by the very idea from the film that it is desirable and so self-evidently so that a homeless portion of a person's life should be utterly swept away, like a bad dream. The circumstance of homelessness, of sleeping on the street, is a lesson-learning opportunity. While there are dangers and deprivations in being homeless, the life circumstance is also more-raw in many, many altogether good ways, than a life that is wholly unchallenged and floating on a sea of illusion.

At the film's website, we are told the message of the film is "that life is good." Maybe that theme predominated in the minds of it creators while they were making the film, but the short is what it is and I don't think its message is that.


Steve said…
Tom, it seems to me that life offers enough challenges to most people in this troubled world that they don't need to ever go homeless to avoid "living a a life that is wholly unchallenged and floating on a sea of illusion." And I didn't get the impression from watching the video that the man would ever forget any lessons he might have learned from his homeless period. How could anyone forget them?
Tom Armstrong said…
Legitimate criticisms of what I wrote.

I guess I'm bummed [excuse the pun] by all the theatricality that precedes any reconciliation between "the man" and his family. I do understand that it's a movie and thus they buff it into a complicated thing. But in any 'real world' all the beforehand nonsense would be avoided.

So, maybe I'm too literalist, but I am -- now, at least -- lost as to what the little film is supposed to *mean*.

In any reality when a committed-to-the-street street guy is reconciled with his long lost family, I *think* its an uncomfortable thing -- and that doesn't come off in the movie.
Steve said…
You're probably right about it being not terribly realistic. Maybe they were striving to be more idealistic than realistic, for whatever reason. Or maybe they just didn't know what the hell they were "talking" about.
Tom Armstrong said…
There's a circumstance that has played in the backpages of papers over the past year or so about a guy a lot like the fellow in the movie who was on the street for decade, was located by his 35-yr-old daughter and taken to Michigan to live with her and her husband and their daughter.

We were told that the relationship was somewhat tempestuous, but that there was love, too, in the relationship.

I think the old street guy had cancer or something and died not too long ago.

There are other stories, a variation on that theme, that prove that the underlying story in Momentos happens -- families snag their homeless relative and pull him off the street -- but it is not an immediate glorious moment. It is difficult and fraught with reconciliation difficulties and arenas of bitterness.

Popular posts from this blog

More Homeless Hate from Marcos Breton

There was a long spell a handful of years ago when Marcos Breton said something so fully ridiculous in one of his hateful screeds against homeless folk that it appeared to be very apparent he had been taken off the Homeless Beat by his superiors. Unhappily, after a few months, Breton was again writing disparaging columns about homeless folk

In today's Bee [3/5/17], Breton has written one of his longest columns. Online, it is titled "The price downtown Sacramento is paying for Mayor Steinberg’s homeless crusade
Read more here: It goes on for days. The message, essentially, is this: Homeless people poop; they're getting a great deal of what they want from the overmuch-helpful mayor; and business people proximate to Chavez Park are made miserable by the forever-disgusting homeless that are there in great number.

O.K. Let's get into all this a bit. Except in Breton's mind, homeless pe…

Homeless Sacramentans lose case that would have given them the right to set up outdoor camping

8/11/13 I certainly give attorneys Mark Merin and Cat Williams credit for pursuing a case against the city of Sacramento to give homeless Sacramentans the right to set up tents and a campsite. I wanted them to win their case, but they didn't. They lost it.

BUT, it is also necessary to look at the particulars of the case that Merin and Williams brought and see that the situation underlying the court case was not very compelling.

During the period eight years ago when 22 homeless campers set up their tents and brought in supplies to Mark Merin's vacant lot at C Street, near 12th, there was loud noise and plenty of other mayhem. Drug dealers were on the street encouraging buys from the campers. The Hernandez couple that lived in a house nearby were constantly being taunted by the campers, disrupting their lives.

Per always with Safe Ground camps, calm was deserted for the sake of boisterousness.

Leader John Kraintz and the other Safe Grounders would claim to have signed strict a…

The Mission Five Years Ago, And Today

I have spent the night the past two weeks plus at the Union Gospel Mission and am having an excellent time of it -- not only regards to sleeping in the dorm that the mission has, but also listening to the sermons that are delivered in the early evening. The Christmas music that is performed is also splendid. [And the food -- the FOOD -- has been fantastic during my stay so far! A happier Tom there couldn't be.] I chatted with a pal last night about The Mish – about how things were about five years ago when we both used the mission’s services frequently, and how thing are, today.
Five years ago, there were a lot scuffles between the guys when the front gate was opened in the early afternoon and in the area near the contact window there were some brawls as guys fought over where guys were in line to get a bed in the dorm.
Nowadays, however, the mission is very much a peaceful place both on the grounds of the facility and and out on the street.
I do not know what transformative eve…