Jun 11, 2010

Oh, No! Hobo!


Today I got a phone call from a woman who was very upset that [a fashion designer] would name her over-sized tote a "hobo" bag. The woman was irate, saying that it was offensive in light of the realities of how many people are homeless in the United States alone.

I assured her that this was an industry term - where the meaning has changed due to common usage and that the designer meant no offense to those who find themselves unemployed. She busted out her dictionary to tell me the definition. While she thumbed through pages I asked - "doesn't it mean 'homeward bound' like, a wanderer?" she dismissed my suggestion and read me her definition. (I just looked it up to get an academic sounding definition of this person of leisure, and found this:
(noun) : a large slouchy shoulder bag that is typically a crescent shape
My new turquoise hobo is great because it is able to hold all of my stuff, yet is polished enough for work.
Submitted by: K.A. Hoffa from Pennsylvania on Mar. 12, 2009)
She insisted that "Hobo" referred to a less fortunate soul, and made me promise to pass along the message that we should consider those living on the street. So, here I am with this reminder:

As a privileged person in society who at least has access to the internet and can read, please be aware of the information found [here]

I do, personally, make a distinction between hobos and homeless persons. I believe a hobo would be more of a voluntary state of wanderlusting which is how the bag came to get it's name. I believe it is implied that one may wander without a care, without being tied down. This is the contemporary ideal in the use of the word.

And just incase you thought hobos dissipated in the wild west of yore...it has not! [see here for proof]

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