Well, here's some serious bullshit in the form of college kid "shenanigans." Hobojacket, a website where you can donate jackets from rival schools to homeless people, was started by MIT students Jin Pan and Cathie Yun one night as a joke. You see, Pan loves to josh with his friends about one day getting rich and donating jackets from MIT rival school Caltech to the "unfortunate" because "it'll show the true value of a Caltech degree." This hilarious baby joke grew up to become an actual website where the public can now give them money to buy (and distribute?*) jackets. You know, because college kids at other top tier schools are unfortunate in the same way homeless people are. So funny to see homeless people — those sad sacks who don't even have homes — in a Harvard sweatshirt. Am I right, bro?
It appears there's been both rabid support and some backlash to the idea. According to Pan and Yun, anyone who thinks it's wack is automatically a hater. Dude, no. It's not hate, it's disappointment, disgust, and most of all, it's embarrassment for kids who are so disconnected from the world that they think this brain fart is not only a knee-slapper, but also actually helpful. It's the equivalent of a racist joke that gets a couple of giggles from your idiot friends, but instead of quietly feeling guilty about it you built a database and a website.
Pan and Jun say that they made "HoboJacket as a practice run for execution in the web space." So, is this like brushing up on your logarithmic functions by calculating AIDS deaths in Africa for shits and giggles? Is it working on building a search engine so you can track down recently widows and prank call them? It's using an ongoing human tragedy and social evil to do your fucking homework? It just puts your vulgar disconnect on display, and I guess that's a good thing because now we can talk about it, but it still makes me cringe.
These kids are obviously intelligent, and it's no small feat to cobble this kind of thing together, but there's this heart of solipsism about so much of what Silicon Valley — a place Pan claims he's from —churns out. This basic unwillingness and lack of creative imagination to put yourself in the shoes of anybody but a middle class fucko who is good with databases and coding.
So not only is it awful, the program itself appears to be less than highly functional**. For example, if I wanted to pay money toward gifting a smaller college's jacket to a homeless person, I must specify the dollar amount I want to contribute. So, say I want to give $20, what kind of jacket does that buy at an overpriced collegiate store? And if it's a lesser known/tinier college, is it guaranteed that enough people will put in enough money to purchase even one jacket?
On their website they claim that they buy the jackets for around ten dollars a piece — how is that possible? Have they ever purchased a collegiate jacket? Are they getting some sort of mega-deal? I want details, I want accountability. Because there are WAY cheaper, warmer coats out there that cost much less. If anything, all this shows is that they've already got the first move of any Silicon Valley wannabe down: defrauding investors. And anyone who's interested in this as more than a prank, there are established coat donation and collection programs that already exist. Bu this isn't for people who donate money and clothing to organizations who know what the fuck they're doing, it's for kids who want a few naughty laughs.
Also, not sure how much say MIT has in this but their email address is email@example.com. Nice.
Then there's when they compare Hobojackets to fucking Facebook:
One coincidental thing to note is that Zuck was accused of objectifying women with his little initial project that earned him notriety in the Social Network. If history does repeat itself, I'll be glad that I'm not afraid to be very politically incorrect and made this site on a whim.
I don't even want to touch that because: 1. what? and 2. lol forever.
Listen up, Jun and Pan, here's some advice. Being homeless already carries enough social shame, it doesn't need your help. The barb at the end of the particular stick you've built is that homeless people are gross and dirty and making them wear clothes with rivals logos somehow degrades the logo. Yuck. And in the end, you probably raised about as much money as a good fundraiser could do in a night with a decent band and some puff pastry. What you're doing is just contributing to the overall level of sniggering disgust that permeates how many college educated folks think about the homeless, and that's not funny — it's repugnant.
*And distribute to homeless shelters? I'm unclear on the logistics as there's not much talk about that on the super funny and clever website. Also, to be linguistically accurate, hobos are people who ride the rails in search of work. So uh, good luck distributing?
**They also claim they're a non-profit, but I haven't been able to confirm that. Where's the 501(c)3 tax determination letter? I can't find it on the site.