We Would Like to Work with the Poor

Subject: Volunteering
Date: May 24, 2018 2:14pm

Dear Logan,

I’m part of a local church group that is looking to do some volunteering. We’ve heard Poors Incorporated is doing great work in the city and we’re excited to connect. Our group would like to work directly with poor people, and we understand that you serve them. Since all of us work regular jobs we are looking to volunteer at your organization every other second Saturday starting in four and a half months. We’re planning ahead because we have a trip to help poor people in Honduras at the end of next month and the beginning of the next and the month after that we’re doing something in LA! :-)

We’re excited to work with your poor people. Looking forward to hearing back.

Chryle Lorbers

Subject: Re: Volunteering
Date: May 24, 2018 2:38pm


I’m glad your group is looking to get involved in our city. You’re in luck, our organization has a whole group of poors here ready for you to help them. Before we schedule your group I’d like to get a little bit more information. What would you like to work on with our poor people? Do you have a sense for how long your group would like to be involved with the poor people at Poors Incorporated? How many people are in your group?

All the best,

Subject: Re: re: Volunteering
Date: May 25, 2018 9:17am

Hi Logan,

I guess I’m not really sure that we have something specific in mind to work on with the poor people at Poors Incorporated. We were thinking if there’s a program or something already in place where most of the work is already done, maybe you could plug us into that or whatever. We’re up for anything but we’d like to have direct contact with poor people. In the past, some organizations have had us come do filing, and we’re not really into that so much. There are 24 people in our group. We’re hoping all of us can volunteer together at the same time every other second Saturday of each month as I said below.

Can’t wait to get started five months from now.


Subject: Re: re: re: Volunteering
Date: May 25, 2018 10:43am


Thanks for the info. Unfortunately all of the volunteer positions where you can walk in the front door and work on a predetermined task for 2 hours before going out for lunch with your group are filled up! I was excited when you said you wanted to work with poor people, because I thought maybe you wanted to work with them on, like, coding CSS, HTML, and JavaScript or fixing cars or something like that. But never fear! we do have an intake process. Let me explain it before we go further.

Before you come on as a regular volunteer, we require that you spend 4 hours once a week, every week for a full calendar year at Poors Incorporated. During that time you should get to know the names of at least five poor people. Also, in that period of time the following events must occur for you to be considered as a regular volunteer: the police must be called once, an ambulance must be called at least twice, a fight must break out between two or more poor people during your shift involving a weapon of some kind—bonus points for a knife or steel pipe. Cleaning up blood, vomit, or other bodily fluids may be substituted for any one of these events. If you haven’t burned out before a year is up we’d be happy to take you on as a regular volunteer.

We can accommodate two people from your group.


Subject: Re: re: re: re: Volunteering
Date: May 27, 2018 9:22pm

It sounds like maybe Poors Incorporated won’t be such a good fit for our group.

Subject: Re: re: re: re: re: Volunteering
Date: May 28, 2018 1:06am

No kidding.

The 70rd'5 Pr@y3r

Our Gracious Source Code, who art in Amazon S3 Cloud Services, hallowed be thy file extension;

thy debugger come, thy executable be done;

on desktop as it is on smartphone.

Give us this day our daily download.

Forgive us our botnets as we forgive those who malware against us.

And lead us not to the Darknet, but deliver us from torrents.

For thine is the Internet, and the surge protector, and the Ghz forever. Amen

Ramsey 19:16-30

Then someone came to him and said, “Teacher, how many campuses does my church need for me to have eternal life?” And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about church metrics? There is only one who is good. If you wish to enter into life, buy his books and seminars.” He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “the Show; The Legacy Journey; Smart Money Smart Kids; Generation Change; Junior’s Adventures; also, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to him, “I have all these; what do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, sign up your church for Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this word, he went away grieving, for his church didn’t have the budget for that.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, middle-class existence shall be much easier in the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is middle-class to feel satisfied.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astounded and said, “Then who can be saved!?” But Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but for Ramsey all things are possible.”

Then Peter said in reply, “Look, we have left everything and followed you. But we don’t have any of his books. What then do we have?" Jesus said to them, "Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man has paid down his student loan debt, you who have followed me will also be debt free, pitying other people under the yoke of late-stage global capitalism. And everyone who has houses or credit cards or a car payment or children, will receive a stern talking-to about budgeting, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first, so buy Dave Ramsey’s books today."

Hebdo Technique

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Previous ComicNext Comic | Original art for this comic is available in our store.

Mark here: Charlie Hebdo made news again this week, running two cartoons that played off the image of Aylan Kurdi, the Syrian refugee toddler photographed drowned on the shore. As you would expect, the reaction was swift and fierce. Many felt that the cartoons were outright mocking an innocent child, dead through no fault of his, or his family’s, own. As with previous controversies, Charlie Hebdo published the cartoons under the banner of dense irony, made in a political framework and supported by untethered free speech. Supporters of the most recent cartoons are backing them on this point now as they did before; though interestingly, we’re not seeing a flurry of “Je suis Charlie” right now.

Why? Well, for one, the last incident led to an attack on the paper and the tragic deaths of twelve people, which compelled many to take their stand for free speech in the face of a radicalized attempt at suppression. This situation isn’t that one.

But let’s look at the cartoons themselves. I read them. I get them. I get the point they’re trying to make. Both are jabs at Europe, one for its soulless embrace of capitalism and the other for its self-righteous moral superiority that folds in the face of actual moral issues (in this case, Europe’s half-assed response to the Syrian refugee crisis). These are subjects that social commentary, of which comedy is a part, should explore in multiple ways. These are topics ready to be ripped apart with razor-sharp jokes.

Yet while I believe all subjects are open to comedy (a principle I know some don’t agree with), I also believe that how you make the joke is just as important, maybe more important, than the joke itself. You can make a joke, but you need a vehicle to get there. Nobody likes just the punchline. In this case, Charlie Hebdo made Aylan the vehicle, and their goal was lost in that moment. Because this child isn’t a vehicle. He’s not a means to an end. He never was, or will be. Humans, as beings, just aren’t less than ends in and of themselves. This is the sin of Hebdo: they thought a dead toddler, a very real one, was their ticket to the punchline, a punchline which could have been reached in a number of other ways.

And if you’re reading this, fuming that I’m not uplifting some unnuanced version of free speech, let’s talk pure comedy. The jokes weren’t good. I got them, but they weren’t good. I don’t even live in Europe and I feel like I could pull off a more clever commentary than that. It said nothing new, nothing that hasn’t been said ad nauseum about the modern West. Political cartoons are supposed to point to more than the obvious; they’re supposed to be subversive to the end of changing minds. And if you want your work to actually change anything, to actually mean something…it’d better be good work.

Instead, they traded on the humanity of a kid to tell a shitty joke, which wasn’t funny. And if your joke isn’t funny, it’s nothing at all.