Defending the virtues of liberty, free markets, and civilization... plus some commentary on the passing scene.

Freedom's Fidelity

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

No Yuppies! - Random Thoughts Generated While Jogging

I was out jogging in the neighborhood last evening (photos here) and came across a sign planted on an empty lot - 'For sale, commercial space, etc.' Underneath the specifications, written in ballpoint pen so it could be seen from distances of up to four feet away, someone scribbled "No Yuppies." Well, I guess that's progress, it could have easily discriminated on skin color rather than achievement, or lifestyle, or whatever it is that makes one a yuppie... I don't really know the qualifiers. But I do know the startving artists want to keep their neighborhood pure and full of starving artists. Fortunately I don't have to worry about any income cleansing that may go on in the neighborhood as I can easily transform myself into a starving artists. Yes, it's not that hard to be one, all you have to do is create art that no one wants to buy, I can do that, I really really suck at painting, drawing, and sculpting.

In any case, this neighborhood I live in, was for a time known as one of the "hippest neighborhoods in the country" fillled with artists, musicians, grunge types, with an electic mix of ethnicities too. Well, over the last several years the neighborhood has become the hottest in the city, in other words, "the yuppies are taking over." It's horrible, old crumbling buildings are being rehabbed, crime is steadily dropping, property values are going up, and then a couple of years ago (hopefully you're sitting down) MTV's "The Real World" moved in and was filmed here. Some of the locals protested, marching outside the Real World loft, expressing such passionate sentiments as "Why don't you all move out of that loft and try living in the real world!" or "MTV is not the REAL WORLD!" "You live in the fake world!!" You get the idea. I submit that anyone with the time or motivation to actually protest the Real World (read: stand outside their loft and yell stuff to them) is spending little time residing in the real world themselves. But back to progress: A Starbucks moved into the neighborhood a few years ago as well. So they tossed bricks through the window in protest, yet the next day, people still went to Starbucks and Starbucks still sold them coffee. You can't stop corporate America!

But they still try, when a group met here in Chicago a couple of years ago to discuss free trade (IMF? WTO? maybe just a bunch of business leaders?) these hipsters were out to protest in full force. Wearing Levi Jeans, Nike shoes, and making copies of their signs at Kinkos they protested against "Corporate America." When they got tired they refueled on Starbucks. I'm sure the irony of it all was completely lost on the participants. It may be time to thin the herd.

All of this reminded me of this picture:

I lifted it from Vinod's blog, where he notes: "What scathing irony that even this proud Jihadi's de rigeuer black mask was so obviously made from a cannibalized Nike ski hat! His one defiant display of purity begins with that most Western & consumerist of all symbols - the Nike Swoosh."

Ha ha ha, right on Vinod, and with that, my infrequent posts here will be even less frequent over the next week or two. I'm going to the Kentcuky Derby!!

UPDATE 5/19/04: posted here:

In response to this post an artist who is not starving sends some astute observations on Wicker Park and gentrification:

was just checking your blogs, read your thoughts about yuppies while jogging.
it's funny to someone who lived in wicker park in 1977 to see how things are 25 years later. the starving artists are the ones who pushed the latino families out of this neighborhood years and years ago. they were able to pay more than the starving families, so out they went, presumably further west on division street. in way less than a generation. and i'll bet most of the "artists" bitching about gentrification weren't the ones who started it, but the irony is still thick. they're bitching about "preserving" a neighborhood that they infested, a community they evicted. and they'll join the corporate world soon as the school loan runs out, probably buy/build a condo next door to a nightclub and then complain about the traffic and noise.


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