Tim Redmond: "It was a San Francisco moment"
The July 26 edition of the SF Bay Guardian is a perfect example of this moral, intellectual, and political smugness.
Tim Redmond’s Editor’s Notes---pushed inside by the Best of the Bay cover from its usual front-page location---is an excellent intro to the astonishing complacency exhibited in the special issue:
I started down Valencia Street around 8:30 last Thursday morning…I caught up with two other bicyclists at a red light around 23rd Street. None of us said anything, but we rode more or less together for a couple more blocks, then picked up a few more riders here and a few more there, and by the time we hit Market Street, there were probably 15 of us, riding along in some sort of impromptu Critical Mass-style convoy. We (carefully) ran red lights together…I was on Market Street during rush hour, and I actually felt almost safe. It was a San Francisco moment, one of those instances of accidental community that make you remember why this is the world’s best city…That’s what this Best of the Bay issue is dedicated to: a celebration of all that is wonderful in San Francisco and the Bay Area---and a vision of what it could be…
A uniquely “San Francisco moment”? People don’t ride bikes in other cities? But it’s the Guardian’s “vision” of the future that is striking in its lameness and overall implausibility. The next page has an editorial cartoon that provides readers with a vision of their transportation future---“The Five Stages of Oil Loss,” with “acceptance” showing a cyclist, as if there will someday soon be no oil at all---and no cars. Even New Age ninny/progressive SF Chronicle columnist Mark Morford recognizes that the electric car technology is already practicable
Before we get to the Guardian’s goofy “vision” of the future, its interpretation of the current war in Lebanon is in an opinion column by Tim Kingston, with his plan for ending the war, which of course is all Israel’s fault:
Write, don’t email, don’t call---write a personal letter to your congressperson, your senator, your elected officials, demanding that the United States cut its military aid to Israel by half. That at least would get the Israelis’ attention off the bombs they’re dropping on the Lebanese and might even force Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to start negotiating for real. It would level the playing field just a bit.
Negotiate with Hezbollah, which started the war and is dedicated to the destruction of Israel? Negotiate what? The continued presence of Hezbollah’s rocket launchers on the border of Israel? Kingston doesn’t say.
Okay, the Guardian’s foreign policy is a little sketchy. But what about its “vision of the future" in SF?:
The future may be in peril, but the Bay’s still thrumming with vibrance[sic]---freewheeling artists, quirky shops, stunning cuisines, fantasmic[sic] history. People loving people, people making plans, people rising above. At the epicenter of American radicalism, we’ve never let fear paralyze us---that’s why we’re called progressives (Marke B.).
So that’s where the term “progressive” comes from! People writing vacuous prose, using words that aren’t words at all...
Fearless Marke ends the piece with a big smooch on his readers’ collective ass: "But most of all we thank you, dear reader, for pouring your unique pluck and zing into this great community, for keeping the doors of hope open, and for never giving up on the green dream. Peace."
Whiz! Bang! Zing! Open that Door of Hope, dear reader, and keep that “green dream” alive! Be sure and bring your shovel, because inside Mark’s door, behind the tangle of mixed metaphors, is a big pile of crapola.
And there’s Emily Landes on Hayes Valley:
Before the 1989 quake, the neighborhood was best known as that seedy spot under the Central Freeway, which had entrances on Franklin and Gough Streets. But in the years since the freeway’s destruction, Hayes Valley has transformed from an area with a lot of asphalt and very little foot traffic into an independent-minded mecca for foodies, art lovers, and design buffs.
Emily doesn’t mention it, but that area now has even more asphalt than it had in the shadows of that wicked old Central Freeway, with six lanes of freeway traffic on Octavia Blvd. carrying the 80,000 vehicles that used to take the Central Freeway right through the heart of that “independent-minded”---whatever that means---neighborhood.
Lynn Rapoport sees a lot of bikes in the city’s future:
Maybe the classics of the future will be more like that. Like what happens when Critical Mass’s current crew of riders pass down the proud traditions of bike lifts and howling in the Stockton tunnel---and also a green network of raised cycling paths that snake through the city, making the cars feel lonely and useless.
Maybe baby, but very unlikely. Believe it or not, bike lifts are actually mentioned in the Bicycle Plan. Cyclists in SF like to make the death-defying run down city hills to the downtown area, but find it tedious to ride back up the hills, which is why they like to use the bike carriers on Muni buses. Hence, bike lifts will help them get their tired little green butts back home after a hard day of howling in the Stockton tunnel and flipping off motorists.
Masha Gutkin flatters her readers for being pretty cool about coffee and food, too:
And now for some strutting: Some of the best coffee in the United States started out in the Bay Area; as usual, we were in the forefront of something tasty. The same goes for what these days is often called “the foodie revolution”; now thought of more in terms of gourmet restaurants and products for the moneyed classes, it started with food co-ops, farmers markets, organics, and activism around disrupting the corporate domination of food distribution.
Julie Ross takes us on a groovy shopping trip around the city:
There’s the Cake Gallery on Folsom and Ninth Street, where you can spice up a birthday party by ordering a sheet cake airbrushed with xxx-plicit designs (the “bouquet of cocks” is a favorite) or in the shape of a body part (try the woman’s torso with a cherry where the cherry should be). While Wal-Mart may be quickly filling its shelves with more organic products and Home Depot slowly responding to cries to stock more environmentally friendly products, you’re never going to see a bouquet of cocks in a big box.
I guess I’m just a square, Julie, but I’ll take Wal-Mart. A question progressives never seem to ask: Does sexual liberation require such vulgarity?
Annalee Newitz takes on Sex and Romance:
If sex has any future at all in the United States, it will surely be in San Francisco. Certainly there is no hope for sex to survive the decade in Arkansas, where sex toys are illegal; nor is there much cause for erotic anticipation in New York, where Christopher Hitchens writes that blow jobs are great largely because they plug up women’s mouths. At least in our city we know that strap-on dildos can go between anybody’s lips---even those of neocon journalists.
No sex toys in Arkansas? How do those folks reproduce? Christopher Hitchens, by the way, wrote no such thing, at least not in his article on the history of the blowjob in Vanity Fair, which is what Newitz seems to be referring to.
Yes folks, our city of the future will have it all---bikes, coffee, food, sex and, more importantly, sex toys. Because we are the coolest, most progressive people in the world. Even if we can’t think and our prose is mush, our coffee is great, and we know how to strap on a dildo!