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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: Tucson Salvage

Re: “Tucson Salvage

What a ride to read about this young woman's existance, her hopes and potentials. What would be her alternatives to actualizing her abilities if she lived in the Netherlands, I wonder? Any folks out there that can tell us?

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by lavastar on 09/04/2019 at 6:21 AM

Re: “Tucson Salvage

Oh my! I have seen him for years. He used to do this on Golf Links. My family has named him The Man Who Looks South. It was nice to see him today!! If he only knew how many watch him.

Posted by Parson Parson on 08/30/2019 at 5:40 PM

Re: “Tucson Salvage

Does everyone have a story? Brian Smith finds enough people who do have one that it helps me give strangers I encounter the benefit of the doubt. He also writes like an angel, so Im grateful for that too.

19 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Hurri on 08/29/2019 at 12:24 PM

Re: “Tucson Salvage

I became a fan of Brian Jabas Smith after moving to Tucson in 2017. Tucson Salvage led me to read Spent Saints and Other Stories which is one of those rare books that made an impression on me as it seemed to be written just for me. Brians stories are as real as the people he reveals to us as we read. It is always a powerful experience for me and he is consistently masterful at his craft.

5 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by OutbackDave on 08/17/2019 at 5:02 PM

Re: “Tucson Salvage

Thank you for this beautiful piece. I have seen this man a couple of times in the past and often wondered. You shone a light on someone that has occupied my thoughts from time to time.

Posted by yzma67 on 08/10/2019 at 9:10 PM

Re: “Tucson Salvage

My fellow HumanBean,

Websters New College Dictionary defines fetishization as, To treat with unwarranted respect: to overvalue. If then, you judge the author to be guilty of unwarranted respect for a sex worker, are you not the one who is guilty of judgement?

I have had the privilege of not just reading but analyzing and studying Tucson Salvage as a body of work both inside and outside the classrooms of higher learning institutions and, alongside a jury of my peers, have found the work to have academic merit in both a sociological and creative nonfiction context. This writing and its unflinching depiction of oft-marginalized
voices holds equal weight in the Ivory Tower and down on the street corner (a difficult feat to manage indeed.)

In the spirit of Salvage and its underlying message that we are all as human beings in this thing together, I shake your hand and offer you the respectful disagreement that we should all be trying to afford one another every day.

17 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Magdelena37 on 07/20/2019 at 1:11 PM

Re: “Tucson Salvage


I was comparing photographers and writers who make a living documenting the misery of others and questioning when it crosses a line. These are ethical questions that are openly discussed among photographers and writers. Your creatively interpretive response reminded me of something Trump would say. Nobody was comparing empty buildings to people! You big orange goof.

The one point I want to address from your post is this, because it's so glaring:

*Is presenting a humans positive assets alongside their more obvious flaws really fetishizing them?

Does Brian figuratively fetishize these people as your question presumes I was referecing? I think he does, but that was not my point. It's not that deep, he is LITERALLY festishizing them, which is way worse! Did you even read this piece? I will quote one section in particular for you:

"Tia cameoed in a previous Tucson Salvage column and she is too pretty and white and healthy-looking to be anywhere near a homeless camp. You don't see homeless people like her every day"

I am going to stop here. That is text book reductive fetishization of a person based on looks, gender and race. It's crazy that my fellow liberals are embracing this kind of stuff so openly!

1 like, 23 dislikes
Posted by HumanBean on 07/20/2019 at 7:50 AM

Re: “Tucson Salvage

Another good look at the "others" we try so hard not to see.

15 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Lingo Head on 07/19/2019 at 3:04 AM

Re: “Tucson Salvage

Losers. Yes. If you notice a running theme, their troubles start when their own fucked up families can't care for them anymore. Love them, sometimes. Care for them, no. And the cycle continues. So a challenge for you all. If you'd like to rid the world of all the adult losers who we all despise, mock and judge, just take a moment to not shit on the kids in our society. No matter how gross and mean they seem to you. Don't shit on them. Help them out the next you're voting for funding for mental health care, school services, food banks, Planned Parenthood, drug programs or just not being a shit in general. Don't do it for them. Do it for yourself so you won't have to even think of all those losers anymore.
"Disaster Porn"

20 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Cherri on 07/18/2019 at 9:31 PM

Re: “Tucson Salvage

I appreciate careful and critical examination of the intention behind art and journalism, but, Human Bean, I do not agree with your deductions in this case.

Are you really comparing the life stories of disenfranchised persons to abandoned houses and judging their experiences to be unilateral disasters?
Is presenting a humans positive assets alongside their more obvious flaws really fetishizing them?

And if a column like Tucson Salvage cannot or should not in your mind profile such individuals, then who will? Is it better (perhaps more convenient?) they remain transparent, out of the publics conscience, sight and mind?

As to the author using first person, I understand it to be his way of leveling the playing field, hopefully sidestepping pity or accidentally evoking the dreaded other.

I welcome and anticipate your thoughtful response.

17 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Magdelena37 on 07/18/2019 at 9:11 PM

Re: “Tucson Salvage

This is starting to feel like disaster porn. It's one thing to shine a light on the darker recesses within our city and local culture, but it's another entirely different thing to fetishize it. Just like photographers who make a living documenting the destroyed lives of people after hurricanes or abandoned buildings in Detroit, one has to ask; at what point is the attempt to shine the light on the unseen overcome by the photographer or writers need to gain personal notoriety? Brian's continual injection of himself into these stories reveals a narcissistic edge to his motivation. At first I wanted these stories to be something meaningful but now I just think it's Brian is hitching his success to the misery of others.

3 likes, 37 dislikes
Posted by HumanBean on 07/18/2019 at 6:07 PM

Re: “Tucson Salvage

I don't know why you glorify these losers. Who do you think you are? Hunter Thompson? Jack Kerouac? These are LOSERS. Society's flotsam and jetsam that has existed since the beginning of time. They have never contributed anything to society except to give Hemingway wanna-bees like you something edgy to write about. And these losers always seem to be able to come up with the money to get tattoos. I have never understood that. Maybe you can explain it.

2 likes, 46 dislikes
Posted by Joe Arpaio on 07/18/2019 at 3:26 PM

Re: “Tucson Salvage

This is by far my favorite Salvage ever. It feels like Smith is challenging himself to go deeper and farther towards uncovering the heartbeat of this town with each passing week. Reading this is like hanging out with Steinbeck's blessed paisanos in Tortilla Flat. Bravo. I hope there are many more slices of life that follow de las calles. Smith has found his calling and now we all get to share in his rich, open-hearted vision.

37 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Magdelena37 on 07/18/2019 at 8:23 AM

Re: “Tucson Salvage

Great story...great neighbors....these are good people...they dont make good people anymore. I know the fam first hand...they just dont

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Jon Allen on 07/14/2019 at 4:51 AM

Re: “Tucson Salvage

Thank you for your story on overall Tucsons and Americas small mom and pop motels. You wrote half but true details of the citizens living their life in motels.
Looks like you forgot to write the details how the drug and prostitution become a pain in the society and
How the motel owners like Jeegarkumar Amin are
Risking their life to support the community and country people! By their honest work, you have seen lot more at the motel how honest and brave motel owner like Jay Amin fighting alone with drug dealers without fear.
Drugs dealers threatening him and him fighting back with lots of courage. I like your report but try to write the whole truth not partial.
Also dont write the humorous and funny discussion between friends and people As a serious and shameful disrespectfull truth. Looks like as a writer it does not show your wide personality. Feels like you trying to show your expertise in modifying the truth.
Again you should keep the truth and humor separate while writing about people. As a writer you are hurting many people and their trust on you while they allow you to write the facts of their life. May be it is just a story for you to create more fans or become popular in news world.
At the end congratulations for your great coverage on peoples real life and your half truths.
Wise people says if you want people to love you
Win the crowd and Win the freedom
Nice report my friend!
Keep it up
Thank you

6 likes, 12 dislikes
Posted by Jeegarjan j on 07/12/2019 at 3:55 AM

Re: “Tucson Salvage

Excellent writing as usual, Brian. Pity is something that perhaps we should not be feeling for these people, but like the cat you describe so well, it's hard not to. And another thing,in my various travels, I've always wondered why is it that East Indians and Pakistanis seem to run all the old motels in this country?

19 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by Ronaldo Walkero on 07/04/2019 at 1:51 PM

Re: “Tucson Salvage

Good writing. Compelling images.

21 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by CharleyBarley on 07/04/2019 at 12:47 PM

Re: “Tucson Salvage

Living below the margins does not necessarily equal stupidity or ignorance, just as living in poverty also does not earn the hatred and cultural bias/demonization that keeps this part of our culture marginalized. So many of the people you write about have intelligence beyond street smarts, and a sensitivity toward humanity that seems to be in the state of atrophy in our general "I've got mine" culture. The characters in this essay are our brothers and sisters, just like us all at one time were some couples sweet little baby girl and boy.

32 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by ronko on 07/04/2019 at 10:09 AM

Re: “Tucson Salvage

Thank you for shining a light on local people and places utterly overlooked, forgotten or ignored. This story was tough reading in some ways, but important. Keep up the reportage that no other Tucson media publishes.

29 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Charles Bloomer on 07/04/2019 at 6:39 AM

Re: “Tucson Salvage

Think she could grow the economy like the present one?

2 likes, 73 dislikes
Posted by CW13 on 06/20/2019 at 3:57 PM

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