Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Critical Mass: the original flash mob

Critical Mass in SF, July, 2010

Last Sunday's edition of the SF Examiner had a story on flash mobs as an international phenomenon aided by the social media. True, the Twitter/Facebook technology makes it easier to organize this kind of demonstration, but it's not essential when enough people agree to get together at a particular time and place.

There's really nothing the police can do to prevent thousands of people from disrupting traffic---or BART. The only thing that's prevented the BART demonstrators from being even more disruptive is their steadily dwindling numbers and lack of political support. Even the Bay Area's ultra-leftists seem to acknowledge that disrupting the commute for thousands of working people who rely on BART is an unpopular cause and a deadend politically.

Even when the authorities know when and where these events happen, they're powerless to stop them. Mayor Brown tried to crack down on Critical Mass back in 1997, but the result was a riot and 250 arrests. Critical Mass and the annual pillow fight have become institutionalized.

Critical Mass in San Francisco was the first successful flash-mob. Thousands of self-righteous cyclists were able to successfully bully the authorities into not enforcing the law on city streets. City residents and commuters are now compelled to put up with the monthly traffic disruption, while city taxpayers foot the bill for a police escort of the demo to the tune of $10,000 a month.

Now young people are flash-mobbing to indulge in violence and criminal activity.

Flash mobs and social media.

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14 Comments:

At 3:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Critical Mass of cars EVERY DAY.

The one-eyed king is really blind.

 
At 6:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All those Haight ashbury hippie losers in the 60's weren't a flash mob?

 
At 10:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

@anon#2: All evil begins and ends with modern and extremely self-entitled bike-nuts.

 
At 8:41 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"Critical Mass of cars EVERY DAY."

But those cars---and trucks and buses---are people going about their business and pleasure, to work, school, shopping, etc. The cylcists in Critical Mass are meeting with the specific intention of screwing up traffic for everyone else.

"All evil begins and ends with modern and extremely self-entitled bike-nuts."

It's not a matter of "evil." The transgressions of the bike people don't rise to that level of moral significance, though they sometimes act like they're on a mission from God. But Critical Mass is essentially a minority bullying the majority just because they can. Critical Massers have shown the way for other minorities to use flash-mobs to impose on the rest of us.

 
At 8:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Car drivers generally obey traffic signals. Critical Massholes specifically do not.

Car drivers generally drive on by without verbally harassing bicyclists and pedestrians. The same cannot be said of the Massholes.

Car drivers do not prevent bicyclists from getting where they want to go - in fact, we've allowed or encouraged the development of bike lanes and other amenities. But the Massholes feel like it's their prerogative to block people from going anywhere for as long as they feel like it.

SF bike folks have made a lot of progress. I'm baffled as to why they still feel entitled to their monthly mob rule. I guess it's just a flexing of muscles: "Check me out, bro! Nobody can stop me!"

 
At 9:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But those cars---and trucks and buses---are people going about their business and pleasure,"

CM is people going about their pleasure as well. Can't have it all Robby boy.

And as for "critical mass of cars every day", if you got out and saw SoMa on a weekday commute, there are drivers blocking the box on every intersection, slowing Muni to a crawl. Where is the UPROAR???!!!

 
At 10:35 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"SF bike folks have made a lot of progress. I'm baffled as to why they still feel entitled to their monthly mob rule. I guess it's just a flexing of muscles."

Yes, in the beginning of Critical Mass, way back in the 90s, there was a demand for more bike lanes as justification. Now that the Bicycle Plan has been passed, that isn't being invoked any more.

Now they're just doing it because they can, like they pushed the Bicycle Plan through the process without any environmental review just because they thought they could get away with it. Oh, the howls of outrage when we forced the city to do an EIR! They're still bitter about that defeat, because they aren't used to losing here in Progressive Land, where City Hall and all city politicians defer to the Bicycle Coalition.

But I think the Coalition is really a paper tiger. If their agenda is ever put to a citywide vote, they would lose, since the reality is that most people don't like them or their agenda very much.

 
At 11:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Car drivers do not prevent bicyclists from getting where they want to go"

Oh yeah, never seen a car double parked in a bike lane. Nope, never.

 
At 12:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Car drivers do not prevent bicyclists from getting where they want to go - in fact, we've allowed or encouraged the development of bike lanes and other amenities.

No kidding. This AM I utilized one of those amenities, the bike path undercrossing of Cesar Chavez at 101. I rode my bike onto the 101 onramp to access the sidewalk which goes to the bike path. I rode around 3 homeless people blocking the path, through some broken glass and a dead rat as I passed under the 101S freeway. I waited 2 minutes for a light to cross Potrero, then past some more debris as I went under 101N, then waited for another 2 minutes to enter the 101 offramp to get onto Cesar Chavez, where I was honked at and intentionally run onto the sidewalk by a truck driver - who works for a trucking company that is actively fighting against the improvement of that bike path.

 
At 12:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Celebrate Rob! A broken clock is right every 12 hours and so are you. And finally some of the other broken clocks are joining the bandwagon.

http://blogs.sfweekly.com/thesnitch/2011/08/central_subway_denounced_by_fo.php

 
At 9:56 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"CM is people going about their pleasure as well. Can't have it all Robby boy."

Yes, but like spoiled children the Critical Massers are enjoying themselves at the expense of everyone else. And they're literally doing it at the expense of city taxpayers, since the police escort costs $10,000 a month.

 
At 11:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, but like spoiled children the Critical Massers are enjoying themselves at the expense of everyone else.

See: Bay To Breakers. Fillmore Street Jazz Festival. Sunday Streets. St Patrick's Day Parade. SF Giants games. Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. Fleet Week.

Don't want people to interrupt you? Move to a monastery.

 
At 11:48 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

All the events you list are sanctioned by City Hall and their organizers take legal and moral responsibility for expenses and legal liability. No organization takes responsibility for Critical Mass or the expense to the city.

In short, it's imposed on the people of the city by a bullying minority of cyclists. At least they aren't burning cars---yet.

 
At 1:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

their organizers take legal and moral responsibility for expenses and legal liability.

Bay to Breakers has been reimbursing the people living along the race route for damage to their yards? Since when?

The Giants serve copious amounts of liquor to one of their fans who goes out and kills a few people in a drunk driving accident, the Giants pony up compensation? In your dreams.

 

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