Saturday, March 21, 2009

Graffiti and the progressive vision for San Francisco

OMG, it's a picture by Jim Herd

C.W. Nevius performs another public service with his column on the city's graffiti problem. He notes as an afterthought toward the end of the column that "there is a school of thought that believes this is art, not a public nuisance." You know Nevius has hit a nerve when there are more than 500 online comments on his column, almost all of them agreeing that something more needs to be done to deter these vandals.

I can fill in some of the blanks on graffiti/tagging as an art genre:

Former District 5 Supervisor Matt Gonzalez allowed a so-called graffiti artist to deface his office walls at City Hall.

Supervisor Mirkarimi is more interested in organizing clean-up crews than preventing graffiti/tagging vandalism.

Tim Redmond, the executive editor of the San Francisco Bay Guardian, thinks graffiti vandalism is pretty cool, since it's really just "involuntary public art."

Young people in city schools are instructed in this form of vandalism.

The SF Weekly lauds a graffiti "artist" in a front page story.

There's a new coffee table book celebrating "San Francisco's street art."

Here's a video of Chicago's Guardian Angels taking down a tagger (from SF1st). Maybe SF could use some Guardian Angels to help local cops.

Encouraging vandals to deface public and private property in our city is only one aspect of the "progressive" vision for San Francisco. Some others:

Prostitutes are supposedly just "sex workers" and should be left alone to ply their trade on the streets of the city, a crackpot idea overwhelmingly rejected by city voters last November. But Tim Redmond laments the loss of the "community" of male prostitutes on Polk Street because of gentrification.

Jake McGoldrick, District 1 prog Supervisor for eight years before being termed out, pushed the "sex worker" idea for years.

City progs support Critical Mass, the monthly orgy of self-indulgence by the city's bike people that jams up city commute traffic for several hours on the last Friday of every month. Supervisor Mirkarimi supports Critical Mass because he thinks it somehow makes the city "more bicycle and pedestrian friendly."

City progs got upset when the organizers of the annual Bay to Breakers announced that this year they were going to crack down on the nudity and public intoxication---what progs call "fun"---that now characterize the race.

Guardian reporter Steve Jones thinks "true city living" should include accepting people shitting and pissing in our doorways. Jones thinks it's only a matter of time before the rest of the country catches up with SF on this "progressive" urban ethos.

City progs seem to think that the homeless are just folks who can't pay the rent in pricey San Francisco. Instead of voting for Care Not Cash in 2002 and Gavin Newsom for mayor in 2003, city voters should have ignored the growing squalor on our streets and in our parks. Homelessness is symptomatic of capitalism, and we should just learn to live with it. We should have followed the lead of Food Not Bombs and the Biotic Baking Brigade, two groups lauded at the time by city progs, who still resent Mayor Newsom for actually trying to do something about homelessness in the city.

And then there are "flash mobs" that trash the city for fun, leaving city workers to clean up and city taxpayers to pay the bill.

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