ghostdaddotcx asked: how the hell can one balance their wholly sincere love of certain elements of cyberpunk with the knowledge that 1) this shit is patently ridiculous at many times and 2) a hell of a lot of it got obsoleted by failing to recognize most of its core tenets could co-exist with a totally mundane near-future (ie today) asking for a friend (its me) (im the friend)
if you go back and read Snow Crash or any Shadowrun novel (lol) after spending a lot of time in a completely dysfunctional metropolis like the Bay Area you quickly come to the realization that reveling in trash and destruction is the only way to get through this decade without having some sort of breakdown
i will report that i recently spent a couple months in two white utopias—Bellingham, WA and Brattleboro, VT, followed by a short stay in a cute little gentrified town called Beacon, NY—and the liberalism, hypocrisy, smug yoga horseshit and only casually-obscured racism was enough to make me feel sick and hunted, even in the midst of a beautiful, clean, green, prosperous ecological paradise.
at the risk of sounding like a dipshit hipster worshipping a projected and racist concept of “authenticity” (too late), at least oakland is “honest”. at least in Crime Zone, the piles of burning diapers on the street tell it like it is. at least the citizenry here will help you escape from a police kettle through their backyards. at least i can see at a glance that poverty exists, exploitation exists, and that no one has any medicine. and yeah people will fight me on it sometimes, but a lot fewer of them than were fighting me in Bellingham.
and i value that intensely, even while i’m gnawing my fingernails down to bloody stubs because of my guilt at being a colonial interloper. i value the lack of obfuscation between my privilege, and how most people are forced to live in the united states. there was poverty and crime in vermont and washington but everyone was working so hard not to look at it, or think about it, or admit it.
that said, it’s incredible the shit that privilege makes you say and do. elias is living in a house right now where his roommates refer to their livingroom window as “San Pablo TV” (San Pablo Avenue is a thoroughfare that goes through several ghettos in Oakland and is generally a rough area), and cordially invited him to play “Spot the Hooker”.
street-walking sex workers in this area are usually between the ages of 12 and 18 and are being run by abusive pimps. it takes ten seconds to either read this, or figure it out by glancing at one of these extremely young girls. girls who are often functionally enslaved and often trafficked.
i dont mean to asert that i’m not dealing with heavy internalized racism, sexism, and classism of my own obviously. i catch myself all the time thinking and doing awful shit, and that’s only a fraction of it obviously. but i know this about those girls, and it scares the shit out of me, and makes me furious on their behalf, and makes me want to cry. so why don’t comparably-educated, young white hipsters, who have had the same educational and moneyed background as i have, figure this out, too? its not hard. and its not like we dont all watch documentaries constantly. but no. they’re fine making fun of child sex slaves out their front window, like they’re 19th century British colonists in India, with a balcony that overlooks the ghetto.
so i mean. ”log in” or whatever~
I lived in Beacon, NY for about two years before moving to Seattle.
That town used to be a crack infested shithole where every chic little gallery and boutique on Main Street was formerly a boarded up empty storefront… just like every other former industrial town along the Hudson River after the factory that provided the paychecks for much of the population closed down. Beacon just happens to be the most successful town in the post-industrial economy as they were able to turn their former factory into an art museum (the Nabisco Box factory turned into the Dia Art Museum) and focus a revitalization effort along one street so visitors to the town would think everything was spiffy and there wasn’t a line of shuttered toxic waste dumps lining Fishkill Creek.
I honestly think people meant well but there was just a narrow ribbon of new prosperity and most of that was fed by commuters like myself who took the 1.25 hour train ride into NYC every morning. The city of Beacon had 16,000 souls, not all of them could open galleries.