The not so happy frog of Northampton

last week the happy frog bank of Northampton was robbed. The statue was donated and installed down town in front of the First Church by artist Lu Stubs to the non profit Friends of the homeless as a fund raising vehicle for a free meals program. Although I applaud the effort to help out those in need, In my opinion they would a have been better served if the thieves had taken away the whole thing. This is one of those perfect examples of how seemingly well intentioned people can go so wrong. I’m not talking people that work to change the economic and cultural conditions that create people without homes but of sound bites and photo ops and shallow public demonstrations of caring that are self serving to the detriment of those they propose to help. What does a statue of a smiling lounging frog say about the homeless? what stereotypes does it reinforce? Is that what “we” think about “them”, are the homeless cute little lazy cartoon characters ?, Happy frogs soaking up the sun? In my view the statue is just another of many attempts to ban Pan handling and poverty on the streets of Northampton and a way for”well intentioned people to cleanse their guilt and eliminate the need to have to interact with those pesky people in need who’s simple questions “do you have any spare change” is labeled as Aggressive and confrontational because of the uncomfortable awkward feelings it arouses.