Let Them Eat Code

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30 November 2015

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“Let Them Eat Code”


       In the present article, “Let Them Eat Code,” the author, Atossa Araxia Abrahamian focuses on the disturbing issue of homelessness on the rise in the United States. Abrahamian reveals the conflict between the homeless and those working in the technology sector in modern-day society and claims that it becomes worse every day. She refers to statistics about the number of homeless people in places such as San Francisco in order to give a concrete example of an area ridden with the homeless that will put the problem into perspective. She attributes the problem to various causes, among the most common are the high cost of living in San Francisco. In her attempts to make readers sensitive about the lives of homeless people, Abrahamian discusses the various ways through which the tech and the homeless can benefit from each other. This paper provides a rhetorical analysis of the article to present Abrahamian’s claims that homelessness is largely a societal problem that is caused by society as a large, rather than only the homeless people themselves. She uses stories of the ignorance of the privileged groups and the way that homeless people are downgraded in order to persuade readers that the solution also relies in society.

       Abrahamian’s article begins with the sensitization of readers to the problem of homelessness through sharing the critical reactions of various entrepreneurs against homeless people living in the streets—specifically “techs” or those in the technology field. She writes that, the upper-class society is represented as the technology community, showing their credibility in the field of technology by use of ethos rhetorical strategy. They have repeatedly expressed disgust for the large homeless population that inhabits streets of San Francisco, New York, Boston, etc. According to Abrahamian, “Gopman and Shih’s spite reflects an unsurprising attitude in increasingly unequal San Francisco” (Abrahamian 70). This impression lies behind the tech world’s captivation with, and defective approaches to easing, the delinquent of homelessness. Which is evidence showing that the author has used cause of consequence as a rhetorical strategy to show the reader how attitudes have contributed to the status of San Francisco. The author focuses greatly on the idea that society is responsible for homelessness and that it is not an isolated and individualized problem. The impoverished survival of homeless people provides a chance to pass judgment on the human state. The unfortunate truth exposed in the end of the article is that homeless is not a lost cause that society can swoop in and save, but is an example of how society has failed them in the first place (Abrahamian 69). Throughout the deliberations that ensued, homeless people appeared as symbols not of how society has botched its poorest members, but of what life is like before society steps in. This clue lies behind the tech world’s captivation with, and flawed methodologies to alleviating, the issue of homelessness. The greed of society prevents the redistribution of wealth that is necessary to help them.

       The author notes that the society is also responsible for the presence of the homeless through the use of the rhetorical technique of pathos to evoke anger and emotions. She supports this claim through pointing out the inequality displayed by the tech professionals and journalists when they chose to live in the costly houses that are beyond the reach of homeless people. Evidenced in the article, “…. high housing prices in urban centers where tech profess- signals and the journalists who cover them live”, (Abrahamian, 69). Journalists live in similar circumstances of the techs that they are partially contributing the problem to—the techs. It is entirely hypocritical to think that the journalists who are writing about how concerning the plight of homeless people has become. This line of thoughts is triggered by the writer to the reader generating certain feelings on the subject. Abrahamian also uses pathos as a tool to implore anger to the readers when she says: “If they can’t even get their acts collectively to house and bathe themselves, let alone develop apps. Why should they be let into parts of town where the nice people go” (Abrahamian, 70).

       Abrahamian observes an instance of a community that wants to assist the homeless people in San Francisco through providing employment through the use of both logos and pathos. While this idea sounds like it would be nothing but improvement, this particular agency came up with a unique idea to use homeless people as wireless hotspot points in Austin. The techs that originally downgraded homeless people claimed that it was “shameful, hideous, patronizing and dehu- manizing idea,” according to one ad man quoted in the press, (Abrahamian, 70). It is rather ironic that these techs are saying that this option of work for the homeless is unacceptable and atrocious, while they are the ones who would use them as a public form of entertainment and exploitation. That is a clear indication of the effectiveness of pathos in the article to steer emotions. However, to offset the arguments made by techs, Abrahamian notes, “…they were just trying to help and compared carrying Wi-Fi to selling newspapers. Something that homeless individuals have been doing for decades” (Abrahamian, 70). In this statement, logos strategy is evident since it tries to convince the reader by justifying the action. After all, in mutual cases, the homeless individual acts as a “content benefactor.” Clarence, for the record, had no easy with his role—“it’s a job,” he told said. Clarence’s thoughts were, naturally, beside the point, to both proponents and critics. Therefore, it is incredibly hypocritical and contradictory that the same group of people would condemn an act that is intended to help the homeless as being inhumane when they insulted and downgraded them. It is clearly true that, while people want to look as if they are worried about their fellow citizens who are suffering, they simply want to stand by and let the atrocities of homelessness continue. Just as Abrahamian argued several times using statements and arguments to persuade the audience, homeless is simply an excuse for the privileged to judge other groups of people (Abrahamian 70).

       The author uses logos and ethos to appeal to the reader to view homeless people as victims to society that deserve support as any other human does. She provides insight into the undetermined fate of homeless people through the story of an engineer, Patrick McConlogue, and a homeless man, Leo. Ethos strategy is apparent where she introduces McConlogue as a New York engineer referred as benefactors, “….are afforded the dignity of a surname,”and Leo as “unjustly” homeless” person. (Abrahamian 70). The author attempts to make readers understand the challenges that homeless people face when they want to change the circumstances of their homelessness. Even after the intensive programming and training sessions, Leo narrowly missed his opportunity to change from homelessness when he was arrested sleeping on a park bench after closure of the park. The author writes, “That’s what will happen when you’re homeless; all the code in the society won’t help you with the cops”, (Abrahamian 70). Here, readers get an idea that a society’s systems make it difficult for homeless people to transform their lives by use of logos to offer proof. Only the patient and resilient people make the shift because the society has numerous barriers inhibiting the movement away from homelessness.

       During her conclusion, the author uses pathos through the feelings and perceptions of homeless people through the first-hand experiences that were renowned by Thoreau in the text, “Walden”. She also refers to the three-day “homeless-tours” that she emphasizes are taken by tech people to gain more understanding about the issue, but some think that it only acts as a form of entertainment for them. Abrahamian’s ending quote states that, “Homelessness is a confounding perfect example of a situation when the politics of upwards redistribution trump math and reason.” Which simply states that, while there are endless, logical reasons for these “techs” to act on what they know is needed to end homelessness. The greed of society prevents the redistribution of wealth that is necessary to help them.

       Abrahamian calls for interventions to help curb the homeless dilemma. She, however, condemns the tendency of the tech class to use the plight of homelessness as a marketing strategy. The author admonishes the way tech communities paint the picture of the homeless men as savages who date back to periods be before civilization of man. She only clarifies the situation as is and leaves the decision on the choice of the course of action at the discretion of the society. Abrahamian accomplishes this persuasion through her use of ethos, pathos, and logos.


Abrahamian, Atossa Araxia. “Let Them Eat Code.” Dissent Spring (2014): 61(2), 69-72.

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