Fuck Everyone Involved in the "Little Girl Can't Sell Mistletoe" Story:
(It's the Rude Pundit's birthday, so he gets to call the game today.)
Here's the story: Adorable 11 year-old girl with the uber-American name of Madison Root finds out she needs braces. To help her Oregon family with the $4800 cost of the things, she harvests and bags mistletoe at her uncle's farm. She heads to downtown Portland - you know, of Portlandia - to sell her Christmassy wares at the Portland Saturday Market, which happens right on the waterfront every, well, Saturday. Madison gets to the market, sets up shop, and starts making coin. Then a park guard at the market tells her that she can't sell, that she needs a permit and a membership in the market. Then he tells her that it'd be cool if she wanted to ask people for donations because that's protected speech. Says the crooked-toothed young entrepreneur, "I don't want to beg! I would rather work for something than beg." The market organization has invited her to become a member without paying the fee that everyone else has to. And people offered to buy her mistletoe and donate money to straighten those beaver chompers.
Should be the end of the story, no? No? No.
Because, see, then Madison, prompted, no doubt, by her outraged father, went full teabagger to a local news station: "It’s not about the mistletoe. And it’s not about me. It’s about all of us. It’s about how we’re raising wimps, how people would rather beg for money than work hard!"
And, before you could say, "No, dear child, it's actually about how laws apply to all people, even tweens," Right Blogsylvania and the conservative media went to DefCon Benghazi. How can you blame them, really? It's got everything: oppressed white people, overbearing government regulations, antipathy to the impoverished, and the War on Christmas. Jesus, if you put a bloated hippo corpse out on the plain, would you not expect hungry buzzards to rip the rotting guts out?
Fox "news" was all over it like brown on shit. Megyn Kelly has already featured Madison, where the girl said, "What has society come to?" because people can beg but not sell in a market without a permit. It's all about personal responsibility, don't you know?
Oh, by the way, Fox's story says that Madison was told she "could beg for money to pay for her braces." Which would be sad and true, except that it wasn't. Her family is perfectly capable of paying for the braces, having insurance and money for that. This was a lark for someone who will hopefully never be in a position to need to beg. This ain't the Little Match Girl. It's more like Adventures of Young Sarah Palin.
Glenn Beck, who apparently still exists and is in some ways bigger than ever (no, really - just in a culty, under the radar way), had her on this morning in an interview that could best be described as phone molestation. Beck and the Beckettes in the studio were creaming in their khakis over Madison. It was, without a doubt, one of the creepier things you'll hear this holiday season.
But by now Madison knows how to play this game. Like someone who got read Bill O'Reilly's books as bedtime stories, she said, "I am working hard. I am trying to get something that I want, and I am doing something. I am applying myself. But now they are saying, ‘You don’t need to apply yourself. You can just sit down and beg for money.’" Beck has set up a website where you can buy Madison's mistletoe.
She has gone on about how she doesn't want donations. She wants to sell some motherfuckin' mistletoe, and she's sold a shitload online. Beck and Kelly and all the others extoll her go-getter work ethic and capitalist drive.
Really, though, and truly, fuck everyone involved in this story. Fuck Beck, fuck Megyn Kelly, fuck every conservative blogger jacking it to this little girl, fuck every media outlet making this into something more than "privileged white girl not allowed to do something." Fuck her father, fuck her uncle, fuck the Portland market officials who should have said, "Yeah, bitch has to buy a permit, like everyone else here who is legitimately selling shit in order to get by."
And, yeah, why not, fuck Madison Root. Not because of the attention. She's 11. She's loving this shit (but it's gonna be awesome in a couple of years when she looks back and thinks, "Why the fuck did my father do this to me?"). Fuck her because while she may pick and package the mistletoe, she didn't have to spend a fucking dime or put in any effort to grow it. She was lucky enough to have a relative to give her the plants for free. Fuck her because maybe she is learning about American capitalism: those who have only want more and they don't care about those who have nothing.
Oh, one last thing. Lots of people are leaving out one big detail. One idiot blogger writes, "So, the city of Portland has no problem putting a little girl out into the dangerous streets to wander around begging for money but the city won’t let her sell something useful to raise money for her orthodontics?"
Except that that guard didn't just tell her to beg. He told her that she could sell her mistletoe on the sidewalk outside the market. Indeed, anyone could sell stuff there.
But that's not as good a story, is it?