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“This woman here has tattoos, and mirrored kitchen tiles. People like this show the same behaviour as crack addicts.”

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I don’t normally respond to online comments to news articles, but I have been astounded over the past few days by some assumptions and ‘advice’ on the Guardian forums.

Apparently having tattoos and mirrored kitchen tiles makes me akin to a crack addict.

1. Those mirrored kitchen tiles were put in by the landlord that owns my previous flat. They’re pretty, sure, but they don’t affect the rent rate nor can I eat them.

2. I haven’t had a tattoo since I was unemployed. And I covered them for job interviews, so no, they didn’t affect my chances of employment. I deliberately rolled my sleeves up for the shoot because I have tattoos and I am not ashamed of them – and they do not make me ‘low class’ as some commenters would suggest. I got my first at 18 and my last before life went tits up.

And to the other commenter – i’m not going to ‘get a husband’, because firstly, it’s not a sound solution to ones household economy, and secondly, I’m a lesbian.

Jack Monroe.

Twitter: @MsJackMonroe. Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/agirlcalledjack

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143 replies »

  1. Words fail me. I understand why you felt you had to respond, shame you had to waste your valuable time on such ignorance.

  2. With the good publicity comes the idiots. Cost of ‘fame’ it seems. Just think you don’t have to live your life with such negative energy.

  3. Well said Jack.
    I stumbled upon your fantastic blog through the Guardian website and I admire you courage and the dignity with which you let your situation known to many other people. A situation which is by no means unique but shared by too many people of this planet. Good luck, and a kiss on the forehead of your little boy.

  4. Jack I think you are brilliant. Don’t listen to those judgemental idiots, well done you for showing how desperate things are for a lot of families xx

  5. As Pringles99 can’t even use an apostrophe properly, there are many ways you have the moral highground on her! Hope you can ignore the crap.

  6. Her comments take your breath away, and she must have given herself an awful life. Tiny, narrow, closed in, isolated. Her comments reflect entirely on herself and not at all on you.

    She really is mad!

  7. The best advice anyone ever gave me is “never read the bottom of the internet”. (Ironically, writing this at bottom of internet)

  8. You shouldn’t need to feel you have to respond to trolls ! ( I did comment on another post there – ignorant trolls !! ) I love the whole ‘life is better with your husband’ shit – mine left me 2 months before I found out my 4 year old had cancer – not an option but to give up the day job ( nurse so shifts) to care for him. Without benefits I would not have survived at all. People will always comment on stuff they have never experienced. Stay true to yourself and hug that small boy ! X

  9. Jack, the malice with which people can judge other people’s lives on the Internet is always amazing – and not in a good way. I suggest avoiding the comments sections of such articles and only responding to the comments that make you feel good. You’re an inspiration!

  10. Not only do you make incredible meals at ridiculously cheap prices but you can make me laugh and cry with in the space of three minutes, Miss Monroe you are amazing.

  11. Frankly bonkers comment. Also unable to fathom that someone with only £10 a week for food, won’t have a mortgage and be down B and Q making tile choices. The internet – outing the idiotic since the 90s.

  12. Her comments are the voice of REAL poverty – not your sort of poverty which is just lack of money – I suppose you might delete this comment too? But I hope not – you have a lot to learn yet

    • Yes, lack of money was my only problem. Not the numbing depression of unemployment, the fear that your child will be taken away by social services, the sobbing with your back against the front door as the bailiffs knocked at 8am and you were hissing at your child to be quiet because you were pretending you weren’t in. It wasn’t the mental decline, the suicide attempts, the stigma, the shame, the abuse – it was simply ‘not real poverty’. Astounding. I suggest you read Hunger Hurts, and A Whistlestop Tour Of Fucking Up Everything – before telling me whose poverty is ‘real.’

      • Jack – you’re brilliant. Loved Toni’s comment that Pringles99 “…is really more Crackers than Pringles.” Please just carry on being great, and being the best mum you can to your son.

      • OK – I sort of wish this wasn’t a public forum. Its hard to describe what I mean but I have been there myself – like many others – and coped and got through. There are ways and ways and things you can do, if educated and bright – that are not there for those that aren’t. Its not easy, but getting to the point where you are separating your circumstances out from your self-value is never easy for anyone.

        Yes, the constant hunger gets to you, but the world is still your oyster, just a different sort. Your mind belongs to you, your focus is your choice, your bank account is not who you are and a completely unworthy reason to even think about such a thing as suicide!! (What about your son who loves you more than life itself??)
        But then, I just got upset because a close family member said her pension would be bigger than mine because she has worked harder – not because she had more breaks – I thought ‘she doesn’t know what hard work is if she hasn’t fed children on next to nothing’. That sort of pain doesn’t disappear overnight just because things have got better.

        also, economy supermarket food is not the best way to make your tenner stretch – think nutrients, not bulk – but a comment is not the best place to go on about this.

        I think this blog is actually about telling the ‘nobs’ what its really like to be poor – and its quite true what you say, its not easy and not a ‘lifestyle’ choice to be on benefits – it really is the lifeline that stands between a human being and starvation or criminal gain and adversity can hit anyone.
        .
        But there are props in place to be grateful for too – I believe you are working now but when you have some time, you can walk to free museums and libraries that past generations fought so hard to give us and have joy in your beautiful son, free healthcare and free schools for him and the roof over your head – also provided through the suffering and campaigning of past generations.That way they won’t be taken away from people – from others like you – quite so fast.

        But your way may be better and more powerful – bringing to mind the realities of having so little and going some way to destroy the ‘poor equals idleness’ ethos that has arisen over the last few years from Michael Gove and others.

        You can delete this now if you want.

  13. There for the grace of god go any of us, when it comes to financial insecurity. Reading your blog, Jack, has given me a far better understanding of poverty and it’s impact on people.

    It’s all too easy for the ‘haves’ to judge the ‘have-nots’. People don’t become poor because they’re lazy or stupid. It seems to happen through a combination of poor decision making (and who doesn’t make a mistake from time to time?) and circumstances beyond your control.

    If people are just poor, perhaps it’s as much through situation, lack of opportunity and dearth of support to better their lot as anything else.

    I would urge everyone to have more compassion for their fellow man and woman.

  14. I read the Guardian article then made my way here. A superb blog and inspirational stuff. Congratulations on your achievements and hopefully this will turn things round for you for good. You deserve it. Also loved you comments on the BBC Budget Menu. A crying shame the opportunity was wasted. Oh, and don’t get upset by major news site comments. There’s a lot of muppets out there.

  15. I find it funny how people have such closed off opinions of people in different situations . The situation I found myself in has meant I haven’t always been working. Now I work part time, am raising 3 children with no help from their farther. I would love a tatoo and am saving my money till I can afford it, I have been waiting for 10 years. I can’t always afford everything I need too and have to go without, to give my boys a good education and things they need, I don’t go out, don’t smoke and I don’t drink, so are you going to judge me without knowing my past? It would be so nice if people stopped stereotyping others without knowing the full story!

  16. S/he is really more Crackers than Pringles. Ignore and move on. Life’s too short and you are way too busy to waste anymore effort. Good Luck X

  17. ‘Pringles99′ doesn’t exactly strike me as a heavyweight intellectual – just a semi-literate apostrophe abuser with a potato crisp habit. Your talent has enabled you to turn your experience of adversity into something hugely positive and successful, Jack. Ignore the trolls; there will always be plenty of those, unfortunately.

  18. Sweeping generalisations, poor spelling and grammar, a closed mind that pays lip service to understanding the problems of society. Remember what happened to the dinosaurs? Keep going Our Jack, we need you.

  19. I have been following your blog for a couple of months now jack and I think you are amazing! So many people struggle the way you do and you give them a voice!
    This ‘Pringles’ person has clearly never been in the situation you currently find yourself in and so is commenting from a sheltered position.
    And who knew poverty was a competition, to say you do not suffer in ‘real’ poverty is ridiculous, yes it may not be as bad as a third world country but you have reached the depths of despair and I applause you for being so open and honest about the things that have happened to you!

  20. Fantastic response, Jack. Perhaps Pringles99 could get ‘Ignorant Gobshite’ tattooed on his/her forehead, for the benefit of anyone considering approaching him/her.

  21. Here’s another new reader of your amazing blog (as the result of the Guardian article) and another person who thinks you’re absolutely inspirational. Pringles99 should simply be ignored – he or she isn’t worth one more minute of your time. And for every one of him or her there are hundreds of people who, like me, admire you hugely and believe that the work you’re doing as an activist and a voice for those in poverty is to be admired and emulated. I really hope that things improve for you and your son very soon – both of you deserve it. You’re fab!

  22. Seriously, this comment sound like something from a Monty Python skit…..sigh, you just can’t fix stupid, can you?

    Jack, please keep up the good work that you are doing and try to ignore the feeble minded.

  23. You do have to laugh at some people’s narrow view of the world and the misguided belief that theirs is so perfect that they can judge others.

    I have no mirror tiles and no tatoos either, but that is my choice as is yours and you have every right to spend money on whatever you want.

    Answering these people is beneath you as you have nothing to defend.

  24. Bravo, Jack. I applaud your ability to respond to such infuriating comments in such a rational manner. I don’t understand why people feel as though they have the right to pass judgement on any aspect of your life, simply because you’re occasionally in the public eye.

  25. “You do have to laugh at some people’s narrow view of the world and the misguided belief that theirs is so perfect that they can judge others. ”
    If you want people’s money then they can judge you.

    “you have every right to spend money on whatever you want”
    If you plead poverty people are going to say, are you sure?

    • Jack has never asked you for your money, David, so I don’t quite understand what you’re saying here. If you’ve read any of her posts about her personal life you’ll know that she was fighting to get a job, any job, so that she didn’t have to live on benefits for a minute longer. And to all the people who say that anyone who needs state benefits or help from charities and food banks should not be allowed to buy “non-essentials”, I say that they should look very hard at their own finances before criticising. Can you honestly say that you don’t spend money on things that aren’t absolutely essential when you could be putting every spare penny into a savings account just in case your life falls apart?

    • You are so right David. You have every right to judge Jack if you want, at least here in America you do. But not because you believe, wrongly i’m sure, she asked for money but because you, as an ass, can judge anyone for any reason or no reason at all. That’s you David, a big fat, over-educated, under intelligent, judgement whore. Oh, did I just call you fat and stupid? I’m sorry, I guess I had the right.
      Keep positive Jack and let us, your fans, handle most of the negative sarcasm lol.

  26. I read the comments on the recent Sun article and they were even worse than the Guardian. Shocking in fact! You are not supposed to have the luxury of a laptop either or access to broadband. The ignorance of people and the lack of ability to go below the surface is what staggers me. Keep up the good work and many of us are right behind you.

    Oh and on your “recommendation” (!) I watched that programme and had to laugh that they chose Peckham for the filming and used an old bombed out chapel at the Asylum housing estate for the venue. What did this say? Shabby chic and middle class patronage. Lovely though it is. I was impressed with Angela Hartnett however and really warmed to her style and empathy. However all those invited celebs must have cost a fortune to bring in.

  27. Oh the humanity!

    For the love of.. I can’t believe people like that are allowed to exist, and use the internet. And abuse apostrophes.

    Best response to ignorant twerps I’ve seen in ages.
    :D

    Much love and respect to you my frugal friend!

  28. Ha ha, oh my, I’ve never laughed so much in my life as at the mirror tiles and tattoos comment. What kind of life do these people lead? Good for you Jack. Pat yourself on the back and watch yourself doing it in those lovely mirror tiles.

    • I’m going to keep well away from anyone with mirrored tiles from now on. Can’t believe what a lucky escape I’ve had. If sparkly tiles mean ‘crack addict’, what about pea-green artex swirls? I had to live with rather a lot of them for a very long time. Yours, Worried of Medway.

      • Our house comes with the OH’s job and is dull as dull. I did put a picture or two up, my gran’s plate and a few children’s drawings. Do you think that will be okay or should I be worried about Setting A Bad Example?!

        I was amazed by some of the comments on the Guardian site … Do they live in some weird alternative universe?!

  29. trolls= ignorant specimens of today’s society don’t give them the fuel to throw more of the diatribe at you, I’ve tried and they just come back for more.
    Your success will have loads more coming out of the woodwork, ignore them you have loads more important things to do :)
    xxx (owner of 2 tattoos )

  30. Bloody hell! Just adding another voice to the support here Jack! Your blog has helped me get through one of the loneliest years of my life – I’ve have to move to a different city for work and can’t afford to visit home. It’s weird how simple things like what you eat for dinner affect your mood at times like this – your recipes have reminded me that not only can I cook, I can do it on a budget and maybe even save enough money to move home one day :) ignore the bigots, ‘ye are many, they are few’

  31. Some people are idiots. Take solace in the fact that there are many more sensible and compassionate people, they just avoid the comment box usually. You are doing an amazing job.

  32. Have just ploughed my way through LOADS of comments on the Guardian site. Could hardly believe what I was reading, SO many assumptions, so many OBV haven’t read the blog, and OMG! SO many judgements. Literally, unbelievable. I suppose you will be getting a lot of this now, people seem to think it is perfectly ok to say all that rubbish merely because someone is in the public eye, as you are now Jack.
    No matter, you know the truth of it, and you are mending your life. From some of your comments, it would seem that you have a similar attitude to my own, namely I am NEVER going to be that vulnerable again.
    Shame on them, and more power to your typing fingers.

  33. Jack, I do wonder about folks like that. Of course, who ever wrote those comments are NOT “one of’s”…There are many folks like that. Throughout time, it seems to me that folks like that are often
    - insecure and scared
    -feeling “less accomplished” and needing to jack themselves up by putting someone (anyone) down
    -jealous
    -needing to see their comments in writing to feel worthwhile

    Regarding you, or anyone at all who has found themselves needing a hand for a while, AND who has taken some steps in the direction YOU have, WOW.. (I will not say down / accomplished what you have, because you have come to accomplish so much/have such an impact, I doubt most could impact so much)…

    but,
    I do think it is ONLY because you were in “bad straights” that you dug deep and accomplished/impacted what you have…I do wonder sometimes if you have any idea how wide/far/important your impact has been?

    I still marvel at what you have/can cook for little funds. Healthy/Frugal/Tasty — and you have been generous to share the info, generous to spread recipes and info around, generous to post…Glad you are getting a publishing deal, a job on the paper, moving on up, so to speak, but in the meantime, you have benefited/educated/shared with anyone who is interested.

    Don’t worry about folks who want to criticize you… Seriously, NOT everyone will think you are wonderful, agree with you, approve. Do you seriously approve of everyone? NO…not to worry..

    And, if any comments still bother you, here is a quote someone close to me uses when someone is acting a complete jackass…”Be kind to them. God was not” (grin)

  34. Some people are such idiots. It’s almost a good thing your blog is so well read now so you can reply to some of those ridiculous comments!

  35. I wrote my dissertation on tattoos so this response unfortunately doesn’t surprise me, it is quite amazing some of the absurd, far fetched opinions people have managed to form about people with tattoos (many of which, rebel, delinquent etc. are quite ironic given it’s origins, but I digress…).

    I am really amused by their offence at mirrored tiles though! Of all the ridiculous, Daily Mail-esque, loony ideas people spout, I never thought I’d hear mirrored tiles be assimilated to the habits of crack addicts! Just amazing.

    • It does seem to be very common in the daily mail comments (well last time i read them, i used to read it every day ‘for a laugh’ but then gave it up for lent so rarely look at it anymore, i installed a plug in in firefox which shows me tea & kittens if i try to visit it…) for people to be utterly disgusted by tattoos or if women have them, like P!nk or Melanie C, its all “lovely girl shame about the terrible ugly tattoos”. I’ve always found it very odd. perhaps its people ‘of a certain age’.

  36. I agree with Lonewalker and Jill. Whoever made this comment is ignorant. As that old saying goes, “you can’t reason someone out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into!” (or something like that)

  37. Some people are missing the point of your blogs and articles Jack.You aren’t preaching to them how they should lead their lives, you are telling the story of your own! It’s real and it’s human.

    If people stop, read and take something away from your words that they can make use of then good for them. If they don’t they should move on past.

    I’m lucky in that I have a job and a home of my own but tomorrow….who knows? I could be the one filling out the forms at the Jobcentre, I could be the one queuing at the food bank and I could be the one worrying how I would find my little boys next meal.

    From your blog I’ve learned to appreciate what I have. You’ve taught me to look beyond the labels and the propaganda thats shoved constantly down our throats and has had us turning against each other.

    Oh and I forgot ……you’ve taught me how to cook! : )

  38. The fact that someone suggests you should have a man support you, indicates a bigger problem in society. That the economic disadvantages are much greater for females. That the poster would even suggest any human being, in effect, prostitute themselves to survive, is deplorable. On the second issue of how you spend your money, I, as well as a lot of poor people, manager my money much better than the vast majority of people better financially off. I grew up poor, and have always had to be thrifty to survive.

  39. Most of what I want to say has been said already so I’ll just add: sad lack of research on Pringles’ part, and I hope that having answered him/her so succinctly and elegantly, you will be able to leave them behind and go on with the things that matter.
    All the best with the book – you’re doing some really important work and I take my hat off to you.

  40. I found your blog via the Guardian article and think you are amazing !
    Don’t let the bigoted small minded “pringles99″ get to you.
    There will always be people like that but their opinion is just their small narrow world showing up in their comments.
    Your courage and ability are awe inspiring, and most of the people who wrote comments in this thread, seem to also find you amazing.
    It is humbling how you dealt with the cards that life dealt you. You made something good out of it.
    Thank you for sharing your world and wisdom with us.

  41. When someone says “your point of view does not match with my view of the world” and they then say you must be a liar because otherwise they have been, and are wrong, it is not possible to argue with the hurt they do you in a way that changes anything. Their wall of self powered misunderstanding is it’s own reward, and they and their insular view will continue to revolve around themselves.

  42. Hi Jack don’t let them get you down. I too have been in that place where it is cold and hungry. I also had good friends and family who helped out. It’s amazing how you can throw together meals cheaply. My daughters favourite was latkes (potato pancakes). I used to get eggs for free and potatoes really cheap. They were filling and I always used to put another egg on top to make sure she had enough protein.

  43. I was blown away by your story in the guardian and had to see your blog. You are such an inspiration. My kids dad has abandoned them financially and we struggle daily. I will utilize your recipies im sure! My kids call me the pantry magician lol. Im good with repurposing leftovers :)
    I did reply to some idiots on there, not that it will change their narrow minds.

  44. Came to your amazing blog after reading about you in the Guardian–so inspired by your creativity, writing, recipes, and resourcesfulness in making the best for yourself and child amid really difficult circumstances. You are an inspiration–please keep going! All best wishes from a new fan in the USA.

  45. You completely missed the point of the tattoo comment. As is common with tattoo’d people they take offense and misunderstand any time someone has a negative opinion of said tattoo’s. His point was if you had not got the tattoo you would still have that money to spend on food. Clearly you’re an idiot though if you couldn’t understand something that was written in plain english.

    • Well, if we’re talking about Pringles99′s comments, I take issue with your contention that they are written in plain English. They are scribbled in a peculiar, brain-dead patois that is, unfortunately, becoming increasingly common even on supposedly intelligent online forums. Clearly illiteracy isn’t the preserve of society’s underdogs. (I have a particular bee in my bonnet about apostrophes. It’s just ‘tattoos’, not ‘tattoo’s’. It’s a straightforward plural.) Anyway, I digress. Jack was making the point that she got her tattoos BEFORE she lost her job. I presume the same went for her iphone and all those other things that many people seem to think she had no right to own. It tends to be assumed that benefit claimants always go straight from school onto the dole. In fact, most find themselves having to claim because of circumstances they could never have foreseen.

    • Ignoring for a second the fact that the tattoos were pre-unemployment… y’know, they do tend to hang about…

      …are you actually suggesting that for everything you DON’T buy, you put an equal amount of money into savings for a rainy day? If not, how could you possibly say that money NOT spent on a tattoo (possibly years ago, mind) would be available NOW to spend on food?

      Please do explain.

  46. I just found your blog as I wandering through this great wide web we inhabit…..

    So sorry Mr Darwin….your theory of humans evolving seems to have hit a blip….Oh and for the ignorant ass who feels your life will be better with a husband ….regardless of your gender or sexual orientation – you surely shouldn’t have someone in your life to make it good….but to enhance what is already good!!

    Jack logically you know the world is full of people who can only focus on the negative…in psychology it’s called levelling make someone else look bad to make yourself feel better…and it says a whole lot more about them than it does about you.

    So Jack keep on doing what you’re doing honey…you don’t have to justify how you live your life to a feckwit that makes such sweeping statements…SHEESH!!!

    • Shadeydaze called Pringles99 a feckwit! I have no idea what a feckwit is but I will look it up and use it on the next feckwit I run across here in Texas. Thank-you Shadeydaze.

      • LOL!!! Ellis you’re welcome …… in the Land of the kiwi here (you know New Zealand… that little place at the bottom of this global village we live in )…..Rolls off the tongue doesn’t it …but (in your head) just replace that e with a u ;)
        Have a great day :)

  47. Lol@the comment ” get a husband ” someone actually said that yeah let’s all rely on someone else until that goes up shitt creek :) and for the photo I saw it the other day and thought wow what an awesome pic loved it :) and about the comment I’m sorry to say I detect that childish behaviour ….. Jealousy , still alive and well in adults

      • After just this minute reading through the comments under the article I realise that yes, there really is no other way to be.

        What a lot of absolute tosh, (yes, that’s me being polite). Folks just do not have a clue and are starting to use anything you say and any picture printed of you to try and, well I don’t really know, knock you off a pedestal you didn’t ask to be placed on, discredit you, your life and everything you stand for and believe in.

        Just know Jack that for every tosser (me being not quite so polite), out there knocking you and slating what you say and write, there is an army of folks watching your back and willing you to carry on, to succeed and to make a brilliant life for yourself and SB.

      • No other.

        I’m still trying to work out which “women” s/he is on about…. You have an evil twin we don’t know about, Jack ? Or was it the mirrored tiles leading to the confusion…………. ?

  48. How tiresome some folk can be Jack, it is difficult rise up against that sort of crap, but do it if you can.

  49. Bloody idiotic and ignorant comment!

    You shouldn’t have bothered to justify yourself , Jack!

    PS: Loved the article in the Guardian, It has attracted plenty of new fans for your great blog, you are world famous now!
    :-)

  50. I too made the mistake of reading the comments left on the Guardian and although I’m not generally prone to leaving comments myself, they made me so angry that I feel the need to tell you that those comments are not at all representative of everyone reading about your story.

    The people (idiots) who feel the need to nit-pick over the nutritional content and relative cost of every ingredient in your recipes (and the decor of your flat) are totally missing the point. I think you’re doing an amazing job of highlighting the plight of people living in poverty in the UK, and you’re clearly a fantastic mum doing the very best she can for her child in spite of real hardship.

    Please ignore the negative comments – they’re from horrible trolls who should be ignored and not given the satisfaction of knowing they’ve upset you. As one of the other commenters said, there are lots of people out there cheering you on and watching your back – unfortunately it always seems to be the nasty negative people who feel most inclined to voice their opinions in a public forum, but empty vessels make the loudest noise and all that…

  51. I’m sure if you traced the IP addresses of the three or four most obvious trolls BTL on the guardian article you’d find that they reside in the basements of either a right wing think tank or the Daily Mail.

  52. Nice to see 3 articles in The Guardian about your blog. I made a comment back in January this year about your hardships. Glad to read you’re doing better now. Great answer today, made me laugh. Got here via frugal queen.

  53. I believe the Pringle-Troll’s comments stem from deep envy about you being a talented somebody and receiving praise in the public media- It must really be hurting them now with all the words of support

  54. I saw the article in The Guardian from over here in the States, and I think you’re terrific! I’m at the other end of life–sixties, widow, living on Social Security. That pays me $100 a month too much to qualify for food or health benefits, so I haven’t seen a doctor in three years and do my food shopping on the cheap. I love Facebook, but what I hate most are the memes and posts that proliferate there implying that people who are poor are gaming the government, spending tax dollars on iPhones and lobster dinners, and lying around eating bonbons and watching their 62″ TV’s. The prevailing attitude is that if you are poor, it is somehow your fault–as with your “get a hubby/you’re a spendthrift” troll. I will manage because I have grown kids who help. I’ve gotten an affordable and decent place to live, and I’m moving in a month, and that’s huge. But I worry most about the young moms and children like you and your son. You’re an inspiration, and I intend to follow your blog and try out some of your recipes. Took me a while to figure out what a “courgette” was. :)

  55. My lord, that is the world coming to when poor people actually have some belongings?!

    Ignore them. They’re ignorant and you’re doing a fantastic job. There are always going to be people who disagree with you (I suppose that gives life that bit of extra drama!) but whilst you’ve got such a huge following, I would consider their comments to be nil and void.

  56. Just had to say something… this broke my heart. If nothing else, believe that although these trolls are out there are very vocal they are a minority. Thank you for sharing your experiences with the world, hopefully we (that’d be the very talented folk such as yourself not me!) can educate most people, one blog post at a time. For people link pringle and moira, I just try to see the positive in their message and fail. I always prefer to assume that they are just ill informed, but sometimes, the truth is that they just don’t want to understand the truth.

    Chin up, carry on and be proud of who you are. I’m just so so so sorry that you have had to go through what you have done to get to where you are today. And if its not inappropriate I’m sending you a virtual hug down the inter-wire… that’s my immediate reaction in such situations :/

  57. I was one of Jack’s defenders on that thread. There’s lots of people who defended Jack and her choices, and we far outnumbered the few who took a stick to her.

    However, Jack has lost my sympathy because all she can do is moan that a few people attacked her. Welcome to your celebrity status! You could have focused on the 3 out of 4 commentators who supported you, and reported personal attacks against you to the Guardian Cif moderators so they could remove them, but it is apparently more fun for you to play victim.

    I would retract my statements of support if Guardian Cif permitted such a thing.

    • I apologise that that came across that way – it was less a moan and more an exasperated, tongue in cheek response to the assertion that mirror tiles and tattoos were my downfall. I was very vocal on my Twitter feed about the messages of support I had received – and have often posted messages of thanks here.

    • I find that entirely harsh! Why should Jack just sit back and take crap from people who lack humanity and decency just because she has what you consider “celebrity status”? As a human being criticised by another she is absolutely entitled to reply and I can see no reason at all for this to make you withdraw your support, other than it was never wholehearted in the first place and had more to do with making yourself look good than supporting Jack!

    • O my God Veronica with a K. Really? Are you kidding me? Are you sure you don’t want to pull your support for Jack for any other reason? Anything? Nothing comes to mind? Livelihoods are at stake here. Please tell me you have something more than “she moaned that a few people attacked her”. Could it be something more sinister like, oh lets say, her hair is too short? Or her jeans are too blue? We deserve the truth.

  58. That gave me hysterics! Thanks :-) no mirrored tiles here but plenty for that guardian reader to judge me on I’m sure. Good for you for not letting the bigots get you down. I think you are totally inspirational, tattoos and all

  59. Jack, put google adsense on your blog to get an income stream from it. Very simple to do, and costs you nothing but a little time. Won’t make you a fortune, but should be very helpful to you :)

    Best wishes.

  60. Hey Jack
    Pringles is clearly a fucking moron. Fret not – those who know, understand and those who understand, know. Pringles and their ilk know and understand very little. Been reading you for a while, love your stuff and passion. And I’m right chuffed you got a job at the Echo (my old paper). You at the Southend office or Bas? Worry not and remember the golden new rule of local journalism – do NOT feed the Trolls. They are abject spunkmonkeys and are not worth the thinking time. Give me a shout if you ever need a natter about the trials and tribs of local reporting. I’ll try not to swear, but that’s unlikely.
    Carl

  61. The comments made say far more about Pringles99 than they ever could about you Jack. Ignore the haters, there will always be some (sadly) but you don’t have to take any notice of these ignorant, opinionated , loathsome creatures. Why is it that the people with the loudest opinions are the ones who really should keep them to themselves?!

  62. I don’t blame you for biting back. I bloody would with both barrels ! These bloody idiots really get to me.
    I have lots of body pierceings and get lots of strange comments. 99 percent I can ignore. But like you I get all sorts of lovely comments made. Smack head was the last one. And that was from a child at work. I am bisexual and I am married. When a uni lecturer started to chat me up I pretended to call my husband. She cornered me eventually and sh said she knew what I was and popped a card into my bag.
    One more thing if you lived in Buckingham palace someone would say something. Just give them the v like I do.

  63. I think being a writer ( or artist in general ) invites far more non-constructive criticism than other work, so I do think you’ll have to accept these weird comments as part of life…and the more successful you are the more you’ll have to tune them out.

    But what is the argument here? Never spend a single penny on anything not absolutely necessary? Ever- in case you need that money at some future time?

    That’s a pretty strange argument: no vacations, parties, weddings, new clothes, telecommunications, hobbies, investments….etc etc

  64. Veronika is very important she had to announce to the world she is withdrawing support from jack … Goto love it what next a banner in the sky flowing in the wind behind an aeroplane

  65. Hi Jack. I read your stuff on the Guardian.
    The comments section of the Guardian often sends me apoplectic with rage, due to the high ratio of snide, spiteful, arrogant, heartless yet dressed up as intellectual critique. My boyfriend is always laughing at me and saying ‘Don’t read the comments, the only people who take the time to write them are extremists with too much time on their hands!’. He’s right. The majority of regular readers who nod and go, hmm, interesting and cool viewpoint probably don’t comment because they have lives to be getting on with. So that leaves the field open for the crazies to take over. Look at any thread about climate change. Overflowing with crazy.

    So I thought I would put my hand up as a normal person and say that I have a huge amount of respect for what you are doing, how you have survived the adversity, the amazing way you are bringing up your son, challenging and informing people’s views on what poverty really looks and feels like and how it happens, and the ballsy, intelligent and pro-active way you have been digging your way out. You are an inspiration, and I wish you the best of luck, success and security for both you and your son.

    Please go and be an MP and go kick some political arse, we need people like you.

    • Very nice reply Amy.I find myself amazed at how well you Brits express yourselves. I think schools in England must knock a lot more smarts into you than the states do. As you say there, well done.
      ,

  66. Hi Jack.

    Just Ignore the loud mouths. Don’t do them the favour of replying.
    Life is just too short and they are not worth wasting even a few seconds on.

  67. I read your article but had to stop reading the comments, they were making me too mad – I had no idea the Guardian attracted that type – unless as someone else has said, it’s really a DM mole!

    I’m really chuffed things are going so well for you. I ‘ve been here a while, and when I thought my circumstances were bad, I always thought that if you could manage (if far harsher circs) then I knew I’d be alright.

  68. In old Norway, every bridge was reputed to be defended by a horrible, nasty, bullying troll who only ever wanted to stop people moving over the bridge and on to pastures new. I suggest that the Internet, and most websites has a resident troll too!

    Seriously, what irritates me about the Guardian, the Daily (hate) Mail and others of that ilk is the assumption that because a point of view is supposedly considered, educated, and perhaps rather Middle class too, that this validates it above an opinion that isn’t seen as considered, educated and Middle class. It encapsulates our whole system to be honest. If you are poor, you must be living a completely virtuous life and be berating yourself every day for your poverty like a flagellating hermit. No mention of the injustices promoted at every level or the privileges that many wealthy and many Middle class people take for granted, whilst the rest of us have to make do and mend quite simply because we have no choice but to.

  69. Hi Jack,
    All I can say is just keep doing what you are doing. You will always have haters out there who are just jealous that you are doing something positive about your situation. Some people with their narrow minds and preconceived ideas will never change. All you can do is be true to yourself and keep going. Do not waste too much time on the haters. The article in the Guardian was a good one, however we are in a society that prejudges people on benefits, negatively. Mainly due to the high profile cases in the media in the past. A single mum on benefits – all kind of connotations arises!

    Just keep doing you, you have already got the right people listening and watching.

  70. As your profile is raised, there will be more negative comments – sadly.
    I always quote and live by the following statement;
    ‘what anyone thinks of me is none of my business’. it has been attributed to many people and changed to suit the person who claims it as their own.
    Whatever. It is an empowering phrase.

  71. Ignore horrible comments on the Internet. Horrible things people say only reflect their own issues, not any one else’s :)

  72. I think you kitchen looks lovely and I am a poor unemployed 61 year old who really does live around crack addicts. Well done you for decorating in such a delightful way.

  73. Reading about you and all these comments as a result of a snippet from yesterday’s Food Programme. Can’t remember the last time anybody inspired me. Was wondering how long it will take before you get politicians clamouring to get a piece of you, for whatever motivation? I look forward to seeing or hearing about you socking it back to them – they all need re-educating.

  74. I think the point is, that your “type” of poverty is a relatively new type in the world that we live in. Yes, no matter how poor we get we will always have education, healthcare etc. and it is not comparable to some less economically developed countries but it is poverty which is almost exclusive to MEDC’s and can make us just as miserable. It is also outrageous, with the amount of money and resources that we DO have that people in this country can’t afford to feed themselves or their families.

  75. Oh Lord God, don’t even respond to the trolls. There are soooooo many of them online, and from my experience they’re often people who ‘think’ they know better than everyone else and just love lording it over them. But, when it comes right down to it, most of them have sad, sorry little lives that, if they were honest with themselves, are often a lot worse than the person’s they’re criticizing.

    BTW, loved your last comment ….”and I’m a lesbian”. Why is it so many people presume a) some guy is going to solve your problems (in my experience, they rarely do, they just make them worse) and b) that everyone everywhere is straight? :)

    Love your blog. You go, girl!

  76. I am with you, standing next to you – perhaps not very tall, but with my hands on my hips, staring the trolls to the ground. And there are many with me. I hear trolls turn to stone when faced with sunshine – so keep doing what you are doing, because sunshine comes from it. There is no doubt about that. And what you are doing will make ripple effects through the waters – good things will happen. I don’t want you or your son to ever go hungry again. Go mirror tiles, go tattoos and go you. Yay!

  77. I am with you, standing next to you – perhaps not very tall, but with my hands on my hips, staring the trolls to the ground. And there are many with me. I hear trolls turn to stone when faced with sunshine – so keep doing what you are doing, because sunshine comes from it. There is no doubt about that. And what you are doing will make ripple effects through the waters – good things will happen. I don’t want you or your son to ever go hungry again. Go mirror tiles, go tattoos and go you. Yay!

  78. Pringles99 does have a point, though. There are people who are FAR worse off than Jack, and for whom a 10 quid food budget is not a temporary thing.
    In short, I don’t begrudge her the success, but she seems like some upper middle class person who either has badly managed or had some bad luck, but you know she will bounce back relatively easy.
    The same can’t be said for the actual poor people who can only get jobs handling frozen meat slabs or some such.
    I bet most of you can’t even imagine such people, or such jobs

      • Agreed Joe6Pack – Jacks life in this country barely touches real poverty that some live in their whole lives.

        And some people can’t read or write or think clearly or love someone or have a family to come home to.

        Real poverty is not just about your bank account and not just solved with money.

        Social justice, respect for a person just because they are human being, as much as respect for any reason – respect for opinions like Pringle99 – just because it is someones opinion – that’s real education. That’s where justice, respect and freedom for women come from – these things fight genuine poverty in society.

        The ignorant rich don’t share – they tell themselves they’ve ‘earned it’ or deserve it in some way. That attitude is a form of poverty too.

    • Joe & Moira, these are fatuous comments; being unemployed is not about being better or worse, its about getting your self respect back and feeling that you are being productive to the society that you live in. I don’t see where you get this “upper middle class” idea from; I think that Jack worked in a Fire service response centre, before losing her job and is a single mum; She also lives in a single room with her son and share the rest of a house. If thats middle class, then the people that live in a 3 bed house must be “upper-upper” class.
      Class is no respecter of employment; I’ve worked at Crisis over Xmas breaks and have met people from all walks of life who have been unlucky, lost their jobs, and in these peoples cases, their homes too. Sometimes having a degree stops you getting work – you’re “over qualified” – even when you want any job to feed yourself and your family.
      Yes, there are people far worse off than Jack, but her £10/week budget wasn’t some reality show stunt – it was her reality. She didn’t “bounce back” easily; if you read some of her other articles, life was really dark and scary, and she didn’t find it easy getting a job.
      What does really bug me though is you both want to attack someone who is trying to change things and do some good – is there some envy here? Jack has got off her behind and found her way to make a change, however small you may see it. Support the woman, and encourage her to do more, don’t make snide remarks about class or the like when all jack is trying to do is help all those other people out there who have been in the same position as her.
      Good luck Jack – I hope you do make a change!

  79. I really feel for you. I used to do a bit of work for a charity, speaking to press and such about what life was like for a low-income family on benefits. The one time I battled furiously against my mental health problems enough to allow someone into my home to take a photo of me and my family for a newspaper, when the photo went up on the charity’s facebook page it was full of really awful comments from people who were basing their opinion of me and my situation on just a picture of me and my daughter. If I was so poor why did I have a child? Oh it must have been because I was a slapper who just wanted a council house. People like me (single mothers…as if this was a terrible thing, and as if the lack of a person with a penis in the picture meant I was *definitely* single, and not just that my husband’s employers had asked him not to be identified or photographed!) were the reason this country was in trouble. Why didn’t I go out and get a job (I have one, in fact I have two, both self-employed, both struggling to establish myself in difficult fields), why didn’t I move somewhere cheaper (we did, five times, we live in pretty much the cheapest area of the city and if we lived in the cheapest area our commuting costs (currently £0.00) would go up by over £100 a month), why didn’t I go live with my parents (they live abroad), why didn’t I care about the example I’m setting my daughter by being a lazy, idle, moaning, benefit scrounging slut (I doubt a single dad would be accused of slutting it about 9 times out of 10)?

    It was horrific, and for a while I woke up in the morning and wanted to cry, worrying about whether someone else would tag me on FB in a link to the article, or the campaign on the charity page, or stop me in the street. It was so horrible that I had to step away from assisting the charity because I felt so battered by the completely fantasised situations people had judged me for. I can’t imagine doing what you do, and putting myself out in public day after day. I really admire you and the way you’re able to hold up againt the hail of public opinion. Plus, your recipe meant I managed to get my falafels right, *finally*, and for that I owe you forever.

    • Oh, and the worst thing? The sense of relief I felt that I had chosen to hide my tattoos for the photographs, because I couldn’t handle the ignorance that would drown me if they’d been on show. I hated feeling relieved that I’d ‘toned myself down’ for anyone. Not only were people projecting onto me, but I was purposefully attempting to manipulate their opinion, and I had to do it by pretending to be something I’m not. I was so disappointed in myself.

  80. I’m sitting here in a little house near Hobart Tasmania staring out across the bay and the light on the water. And I realise how lucky I am.
    Jack, if ever you and your son want a place to stay where the air is clean and the light extraordinary then please let me know.
    I know the distance between you and here is great, but life can surprise us sometimes.
    You are an inspiration.

  81. I think you missed the point a little of what they were trying to say. While I think it was said in an unnecessarily malicious and harsh manner, I think what they meant to say was that saving is key. Which is true. It isn’t necessarily true in your case, but a lot of people who end up in tricky financial situations were at one point pretty comfortable but didn’t make smart financial saving decisions. And while it is certainly nobody else’s place to judge them I can understand why some people get angry that when they hit a rough patch they are able rely on their savings because they have scrimped and saved for many years, while a small minority of people live the ‘high life’ then fall back on welfare when everything goes pear shape. Unfortunately this minority ruin it for people who have legitimately needed some help in the past (myself included)
    This absolutely isn’t an attack on you, or anybody else for that matter, as I have absolutely no idea of anybody elses situation but my own. I just think more should be done in society to promote making good financial decisions from a young age- I know that I myself would have benefited from it in the past.

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