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March 24, 2005

Proactionary

In the latest issue of the Bay Guardian, Paul Reidinger wrote the following:

If gay seems to have become slightly passé of late - dissed on the one hand by the young, who prefer new or no labels, and ignored on the other by the flood of rich hetero immigrants who since the late 1990s have transformed this once bohemian city into a precinct of urban suburbia with monster houses and countless babies - then at least one blessing of the shift is the advent of a postgay restaurant like Thai Chef
Wow. To think that a restaurant review could contain such "ain't what it used to be" angst.

Obviously, this review caught my attention because it's so on the nose. As a Boom Era immigrant to SF, I frequently find myself using my hetero-riches to construct monster houses in place of gay restaurants and fathering scads of motherless babies swaddled in dot-com schwag. That is, when I'm not playing World of Warcraft.

The other thing that's incredible in this sentence is that it's a veritable socio-rhetorical Golden Spike - connecting the extremes of progressive and reactionary worldviews. Regardless of whether you pine for the former glory of pre-Boom SF or pre-hippie America, believing in the greatness of a not-so-long-lost past is a hallmark of modern conservatism.

When combined with the belief that what was lost was in fact taken by an immigrant population ... well, now we're cookin'!

5 comments:

dgcopter said...

It's a pretty weird brand of conservativism, that is..."I long for the days when people were called 'gay' and there were dirty hippies everywhere". "Proactionary" is a good term, I think. Is that a common sentiment among long-time San Franciscans?

Jason Goldman said...

Definitely. I think it's a common sentiment in many groups and sub-cultures. "This shit isn't a punk/l33t/hip as it used to be."

It as tho' the desire to be authentic forces you to believe that the authentic moment already happened 5 minutes ago.

And then you eat yourself.

TWM said...

Speaking of Wow? How goes it? I am a 46 human rogue now and would be farther along if it were not for real life.

Jason Goldman said...

Treetoe is a level 28 Druid and growing up nicely - thanks for asking!

Chester said...

And then there's always the inevitable selective amnesia that goes along with rhetorical nostalgia. It's not like San Francisco has some eternal legacy of being a hippie haven.

I can't imagine all the blue-collar Irish and Italian Americans were super-keen on the dirty gay hippies infesting their city, just like the gay/hippie/bohemians aren't keen on the wave of yuppie breeders. Just like the Ohlones and Costonoans probably didn't dig Father Junipero's crew moving in who, in turn, didn't at all enjoy American immigrants, who probably resented the tidal wave of 49ers, and so on and so forth.

The only indigenous traditions that exist in San Francisco are fog, chilly summers, and an aversion to tradition. Anything else is a confabulation on the part of someone with a short memory.