In late October of this year, a Gawker commenter using the alias “KillerMartinis” posted a short essay entitled “Why I Make Terrible Decisions, Or, Poverty Thoughts”. The title and article were written to suggest that the author had not only personally experienced the hardships described in the piece, but that impoverished conditions were essentially unsolvable…

I make a lot of poor financial decisions. None of them matter, in the long term. I will never not be poor, so what does it matter if I don’t pay a thing and a half this week instead of just one thing?

The article rapidly went viral and was reprinted at The Huffington Post. Many readers responded sympathetically and offers of help flooded in, since “KillerMartinis” portrayed herself as a Sisyphean victim of fate, constantly striving to manage the burden of raising small children while juggling two jobs and college courses. She eventually revealed herself as Linda Walther Tirado and set up a web page for donations, netting approximately $60,000. There are now talks of a book deal, so that she can “educate” Americans on what it’s like to be part of the Working Poor.

Unfortunately for her gullible donors and literary agent, Ms. Tirado is a fraud. She is in fact a middle-class child of privilege who has squandered numerous opportunities while trashing the parents that have bailed her out. America is a place where the poor can better themselves through wits and hard work; similarly, the well-to-do can lower themselves through stupidity and sloth. Ms. Tirado richly deserves a life of poverty, but she has avoided this fate mostly because her parents and in-laws understandably don’t want their grandchildren to live in filth and squalor.

Don’t believe this “poor” woman

I immediately doubted the veracity of the original article based on Ms. Tirado’s pseudonym (poor people generally don’t drink martinis—they drink beer and cheap liquor) and the fact that the article is written in the “Valley Girl” argot affected by spoiled middle and upper-class feminists.

It took a minimal amount of researching her Gawker comment history for me to verify my suspicion. See below for the damning evidence, which include excerpts from her original viral essay, her comment history, her follow-up article in the Huffington Post, and her donation page.

She lies about her motives

Her Gawker piece states this:

There’s no way to structure this coherently. They are random observations that might help explain the mental processes. But often, I think that we look at the academic problems of poverty and have no idea of the why. We know the what and the how, and we can see systemic problems, but it’s rare to have a poor person actually explain it on their own behalf. So this is me doing that, sort of.

But in the past she wrote this:

I write things about poverty occasionally because I have a responsibility to. I feel a certain moral push to write about this thing that is alien to so many people, because I have the words to describe it. I know many people with much more interesting stories than mine, much more heart-wrenching and outrage-inducing, much more beautiful, much less messy. But the people living them did not go to the best schools and did not worry about their SAT scores and don’t know the word prose. They can’t tell their stories in a way that makes sense to the media system we’re working out. And so I wonder: maybe the thing I should be doing is translating their stories into something that uses the right words.

She lies about her work schedule

Her Gawker piece states this:

Rest is a luxury for the rich. I get up at 6AM, go to school (I have a full courseload, but I only have to go to two in-person classes) then work, then I get the kids, then I pick up my husband, then I have half an hour to change and go to Job 2. I get home from that at around 1230AM, then I have the rest of my classes and work to tend to. I’m in bed by 3. This isn’t every day, I have two days off a week from each of my obligations.

But in the past she wrote this:

I work Thurs-Sun nights. Free Mon-Wed.

She’s ungrateful about being bailed out by her parents

Her Gawker piece states this:

When I was pregnant the first time, I was living in a weekly motel for some time. I had a minifridge with no freezer and a microwave. I was on WIC.

But in the past she wrote this:

When my parents came to be there for the birth and they saw what we were dealing with they moved us to Utah and gave us a trailer to live in. And then when we had our second and final daughter they helped us find a house to live in and now we have some space for once.

She lies about her living conditions

Her Gawker piece states this:

We have learned not to try too hard to be middle-class. It never works out well and always makes you feel worse for having tried and failed yet again.

[…]

Junk food is a pleasure that we are allowed to have; why would we give that up? We have very few of them.

But in the past she wrote this:

I am turning my kids’ room into a forest, because I own this house and I can. I’ve found some awesome tutorials on making tree stump and mushroom stools, but I’d be interested in any pictures or ideas that you guys have. I want them to want to play in their own spaces and leave my china cabinet alone.

[…]

Yeah, I just sort of decided that they should have awesome stuff. I don’t want them spoiled, so I don’t want more toys, but I would like them to wake up thinking that life is really cool.

She lies about workplace discrimination, exposes herself as pushy and ungrateful

Her Gawker piece states this:

I would make a super legal secretary, but I’ve been turned down more than once because I “don’t fit the image of the firm,” which is a nice way of saying “gtfo, pov.”

But in the past she wrote this:

You guys, I started my swanky job. It was fantastic except for the following: nobody seems to be sure exactly why I was hired, outside of one specific task that will take maybe 1/20 of my contracted hours. I got the feeling that they hoped I’d be able to branch them out into more outreach, but they’re really uncomfortable with moving into more overtly political strategies and I felt some pushback on anything resembling confrontation.

She pisses away an insurance check and turns her hair into rat’s nest

Her Gawker piece states this:

I am not beautiful. I have missing teeth and skin that looks like it will when you live on b12 and coffee and nicotine and no sleep. Beauty is a thing you get when you can afford it…

But in the past she wrote this:

I was hit by a drunk driver, fucked up my teeth, and took the insurance check before I realized that they would not be covering dental, thankyouverymuch.

I am the queen of conditioning. I bleach/re-dye every month or so, so I keep four separate kinds of oil around. That way I can’t ever run out of them all at once.

She lies about her material possessions

Her Gawker piece states this:

“Free” only exists for rich people.

But in the past she wrote this:

Work issued me a phone, tablet, and laptop

I had a phone screen malfunction and accidentally hit submit. I can’t even post an awesome gif because it’s a new phone and I haven’t figured out pasting.

She exposes herself as a total hypocrite, flunks out of college her first go-around, yet considers herself a literary genius

Her Gawker piece states this:

It’s great that there’s a bowl of condoms at my school, but most poor people will never set foot on a college campus. We don’t belong there.

But in the past she wrote this:

I’m on my first semester back since my late teens, when I earned myself a whopping .48 GPA by not going to class. Ever. So I’m on super-probation and the theory is that they don’t want us to overwhelm ourselves.

So, I get that we can’t close higher education to the masses and all, but does everyone struggle this hard with the stupid when they go back to school? I can’t believe how light the coursework is, or how much bitching commences every day after class.

She tricks the Sisterhood into paying her bar tab

Her Gawker piece states this:

I am not asking for sympathy.

Then a commenter named Greenheart wrote:

She [KillerMartinis] just mentioned that they’re gonna shut off her electricity in 6 hours. If those of us who can afford it all chipped in like $5 each, we could easily fix that problem with no more pain to ourselves than not getting any fancy coffee today. Who’s down?

ETA: KillerMartinis has elected to have me pay the bill for her, so anyone who is interested in helping out can email me and I’ll send you my PayPal username. Thank you so much for all your help, everyone!”

In the end, fools and their money are soon parted.

Family members shouldn’t hold their breaths waiting for this spendthrift to pay her debts now that she has received a windfall.

I am not the first to poke holes in this woman’s testimony. Many of the doubters are fixating on whether her teeth are as bad as she claims. This is actually one of the few things Tirado is honest about (she posted a video showing the stomach-turning evidence). However, she received an insurance settlement and probably blew through the money instead of spending it on treatment.

The reason Tirado’s post went viral is not because it was well-written or based in reality, but because it provided “proof” for the bedrock belief of modern liberals that the poor are unable to wipe their own asses without help from a government program. I hope the soft-hearted people who gave money to this swindler (her take is $60,000) have learned their lesson.

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