Thursday, April 26, 2007

The North Hollywood elite

Reading Michael’s awesome Marin County-inspired post over at Non-Threatening Boys Magazine got me thinking about living in California, and how frequently misunderstood we are.

Just like you can't have sensible Republicans without having yee-haw, militia-lovin', confederate flag-wavin', aggressively ignorant white-man-or-bust morons, you also can't seem to have Democrats without breeding the kind of faux-conscious, self-centered, drawstring pants-sporting, caucasian dreadlocks-wearing, dog-massaging dweebs that make places like Marin County and (in SoCal), Topanga Canyon, a very living hell on earth.

When I first moved to LA, the only job I could get was at Starbucks on the Santa Monica promenade. It was awful. One day, after working a full shift, I was dragging a huge bag of leaky, grimy, disgusting garbage the two blocks to our dumpster (thank you, Santa Monica urban planning!) when this hippie chick and her hippie companion pass me on the sidewalk.

She gasps audibly. "Starbucks doesn't recycle???" says she. I stop and look at her. I am beyond tired. I am sweaty. I have so much coffee and grounds on my clothes and in my hair and under my nails that you could wring me out and brew a full pot. "No," I say, and turn back to my task. "That's too bad," she says, her voice dripping with judgement and pity.

I turn to look at her again. "Here," I say, holding the bag of garbage toward her, "feel free."

She and her friend stomped off, of course, and I spent the next couple of weeks waiting to be fired after what I was sure would be a passionate email of serious concern to corporate headquarters.

The firing never came, but that encounter has come to symbolize for me everything that is wrong with that kind of Democrat: they misidentify the enemy, they judge the commitments of others without committing themselves, and they are too frequently oblivious to the hardships of working people.

I live in North Hollywood, in the San Fernando Valley. The people in North Hollywood work hard for the money, sister. The homes here cost too much for what you get. My mortgage is over half my take-home pay, and so is my neighbor’s. My neighbors drive old Toyota Corollas and pickups with recyclables or the tools of their trade stored in the back. When they buy a new car, it’s a P.T. Cruiser or a Scion xB. They come home from work wearing waitress and security guard uniforms. They shop at Ralphs, and the 99 cent store, and Big Lots. They don’t die because some big ole’ crazy record producer played cute with a gun one too many times. They die in armed robberies, or in the parking lot of some dance club on Tujunga.

We’re not the elite. And by the way, we pay too much in taxes, too. But we’re looking for a tide that lifts all boats. All of them. Because that’s who we are. Those are our values, and we’re all just out here in California, living ‘em.

12 comments:

Grant Miller said...

Great post. You probably already know Starbucks is as blue as any corporation can get in terms of candidates and causes they donate to.

RandyLuvsPaiste said...

I don't know how people with kids do it. I never wanted to breed, but I couldn't afford it if I did.

Johnny Yen said...

Nice post.

The late, great New Left guy Jack Newfield had an article in, um, Playboy in April, 1971 in which he pointed out the growing divide between liberals and working people in the United States. I've grown tired of it being almost a lifestyle choice-- how you dress, what you drive, etc. The turn of the Dems from a lot of bread and butter issues has damaged them, as has the mysterious ability of the Republican party to get the middle class and working poor to vote against their class interests by appealing to jingoism, racial fears and insecurity about social change.

deadspot said...

They have articles in Playboy?

michael said...

My goodness but you kick ass when you're inspired. I'm flattered to have touched this off.

Nice, nice drill-down into the ether those people live in. I think you covered everything I was merely hinting at.

vikkitikkitavi said...

Grant: Yes, but when I worked for Starbucks, they did not recycle, and I had to hear about it a lot. At one store, the employees would take the empty plastic milk jugs to a recycling center ON THEIR OWN TIME, because Starbucks wouldn't pay for it. I refused to do it on my own time. I said they can pay me, or I'm not doing it. Everyone thought I was a bitch, but for some reason I just had a bug up my ass about it. Hm, maybe because Starbucks enjoys such a good reputation while also treating its workers basically as shitty as any other retail/chain place does?

Randy: Um, okay. I think you went off on a little tangent of your own there, but okay, I can dig it.

JohnnyY: I'm not sure that Dems have really turned from the b&b issues as much as they have been portrayed as doing so, or their support of liberal social causes has made their support of b&b issues a wash.

Deadsp: Do they have anything else?

Michael: Oh, you know, thanks, I just want to kick people in the face about half the time, is all.

Spooney said...

"But we’re looking for a tide that lifts all boats"

That's beautiful...makes me proud to don my NoHo hoodie.

deadspot said...

Now that I've gone for the cheap laugh, I wanted to say how much I really loved this post.

I especially loved "faux-conscious, self-centered, drawstring pants-sporting, caucasian dreadlocks-wearing, dog-massaging dweebs". Thank you.

I would disagree with Jack Newfield and say that there isn't a divide between liberals and working people, there's a divide between spoiled dicks and working people. The problem is that extreme right-wing whackjobs look like dangerous fascists, but extreme left-wing whackjobs just look stupid. They make the rest of us look stupid by association.

deadspot said...

I kind of lost my train of thought in that last paragraph... I think I meant to say that we've had generations of cultural bias toward accepting the kind of spoiled dicks that conservatives turn into, but not the kind that liberals turn into.

GETkristiLOVE said...

I like the feel of NoHo for sure, and Toulca Lake. These places shouldn't get a bad rap due to proximitey of others. Although, Burbank makes me feel like I'm in Indiana sometimes.

michael said...

we've had generations of cultural bias toward accepting the kind of spoiled dicks that conservatives turn into, but not the kind that liberals turn into.

Nicely put. I've been saying something similar for years on why we accept Microsoft's various crap products and missteps, but when a company like Sun goofs, eh-he-he-HEVerybody jumps on the criticism bandwagon.

vikkitikkitavi said...

Spooney: Thank you baby, that's deep.

DeadSp: I absolutely agree. Sometimes I feel like the spoiled righties are seen as kind of harmless, ineffectual country club pricks, whereas the spoiled lefties are seen as dangerous threats to the foundation of everything this country is about. Which is absurd, if you examine their goals, and the motives for those goals.

And even if the left is given the benefit of the doubt and merely seen as different but equal to the right - this is a one of the biggest lies that we are told every day in this country. We are NOT equal. We are better than they are.

There, I've said it.

Kristi: Burbank is decidedly white trash, no doubt about it.

Michael - compare and contrast time:

Kerry: "Education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. And if you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

Bush: "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."

Which one did the press make the biggest deal about? That's right, the one by the guy who, arrogant as he is, at least gives a shit about getting it right.