Saturday, August 12, 2006

DIE YUPPIE DIE

It all started with my article on Silver Lake and Lincoln Heights. Understandably, my comments touched a nerve in the community. I would leave it at that, but in pursuit of a deeper understanding I read through one of my critics website. At first I found that we had a lot in common (favorite local restaurants, similar experiences, etc.). Even (to my surprise) this description of what I had notoriously referred to as the "Ghetto Vons".

On his "Tour of Lincoln Heights", the second entry under "Places to Avoid" was the very Vons I made reference to:
Grocers (or is that gross-ers?) to the ghetto, the local Von's is stocked with the items they figure "ghetto" folk consume: isles of Kool-Aid, Instant Noodle cups, bargain brand sodas, cookies, and chips. And they sure do get consumed as those are the only items they put on sale every other week. But despite the fact that the locals spend their cash and food stamps at this warehouse of carcinogens, the Von's bureaucrats are still scared by the events of 1992, the potlatch of commodities that nullified the exchange economy, and have equipped their local outpost with the imagined defenses against bread riots. Yes, this Von's is surrounded by the giant black gates meant to keep out rioters and looters.
El Chavo (the author of the quote above) said it much better than I ever could:
It is one sad excuse for a grocery store and typifies the commercial offerings made to the poor and disadvantaged.
Buoyed up to find we had so much in common, I continued browsing thru the website. There I found thought provoking comments on gentrification (something I give a lot of thought to these days), but then....I saw it--a link to a website called Mission Yuppie Eradication Project.
Before I get to the "good stuff" on that site, here was El Chavo's lead in to the link:

... note to arty rich kids: don't stay here...(laugh) at the kitschy-ness of East LA and then go back to Silver Lake. I've seen how quickly you spread in an area, drive the rents sky high, infest the place with tacky pop culture and dis-connected cynicism, and then boot the locals out. Don't make us start a chapter of the Mission Yuppie Eradication Project down here! You've been warned. (emphasis mine)

The Yuppie Eradication site was hilarious and representative of the wit that makes Northern California so unique. But as I read on I got a creepy feeling that this wasn't tongue in cheek. It was a website that advocated violent resistance (what they refer to as "controversial methods") as follows:
Tips on Making Yuppies Pay
  • Vandalize their cars: Mercedes, Lexus, Porsche, Jaguar, and anything that your family wouldn't be able to afford. (emphasis mine)
  • Throw shit at Yuppies as they drive by, especially if they are on their cell phones.
  • Don't patronize Yuppie establishments.
  • If you are sitting with friends near Yuppies, spread rumors about increasing crime in the neighborhood.
  • Organize your community against developers who help gentrification.
  • Organize your co-workers against your Yuppie boss.
  • Work with your neighbors to find out who owns what in your neighborhood
  • When Yuppies invade it means higher rents, so organize a neighborhood Tenant's Association to keep a lid on rents.
  • Don't listen to Yuppie radio stations, which includes your local NPR affiliates.
"That does it", I thought, bashing Porsche's AND NPR??? To quote a favorite movie "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!"

Oy. Signing out.

2 comments:

  1. Trucha9:33 PM

    If "El Chavo" has a blog and he's writing about the same things you are, then he's probably a yuppie himself (but refuses to admit it). Or, since my neighborhood (Crenshaw) is known for its "buppies" (black urban professionals), maybe El Chavo is a "muppie."

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  2. Yeah, Pam - I ran across this guy. Ironically, as I was looking for more information on joining the neighborhood council. There goes the "loft folks don't want to be involved" theory.

    People like him (and the "Mission Yuppie Eradication Project") are draping their "authenticity" and "class consciousness" on an ugly skeleton of xenophobia. They don't want anyone in the neighborhood who doesn't look, talk, or party like them.

    The fact that people moving in are middle class, and looking for places where they can afford to live and have a family is totally lost on these idiots. They think anyone who doesn't bank at a corner check cashing joint must therefore have a trust fund, a rich dad, and a dense network of wealthy people to give you jobs and expensive jeans. Oh, if only that were true.

    The really sad thing is, I've lived and worked in East LA for almost 13 years now. I was looking forward to returning as an adult (instead of - you guessed it - a starving artist), with the cash and free time and experience I have to invest in the community. The message, of course is clear: keep moving, guera.

    Pendejos.

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