Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Let Them Eat Koch

One of the newer (but not newest, not anymore) bars in Bloomington advertises that it has everything but televisions.  I've been meaning to go there ever since I heard that, because I dislike the ubiquity of television sets in virtually every public place.  My favorite Chinese buffet restaurant, for example, hung one on their wall, always tuned to CNN.  Luckily, it's only one set and my favorite place to sit is out of sight, out of earshot.

More recently I was walking past a downtown deli and pizza place which targets a student -- well, a frat / sorority demographic.  This place has two or more television sets suspended from the ceiling above the counter, tuned to different sports channels, with the sound off -- which I know because I went in one day to look at their menu, thinking I might try their food sometime.  Maybe a serious sports fan, which I'm not, could follow a game without a soundtrack, but it still seemed odd to me.  It was as if the televisions were totems, objects that must be present in a well-appointed fraternity house, but don't actually have to be watched.  It's only important that the faithful be able to glance over and see that the holy rituals of professional and college sport are being performed, twenty-four hours a day, for this sustains the world.  It's not just television, come to think of it: I believe the effect for me would be about the same if the place had hung a bunch of books above the counter, where they couldn't be read but could be Seen.

Anyway, the bar I mentioned also has this by their main entrance:
I like it, but how do I know they won't consider me an asshole?  Only one way to find out, I guess.

In related news, someone posted a link to this article today.  Since I have fantasies of living in San Francisco, I read it, though like several of the commenters I thought that "Douchebags Like Me Are Ruining San Francisco"would be a more honest title: the writer is a startup/tech industry guy who's just been in the City for a while longer than the latest wave of douchebags.  He's probably wrong about San Francisco douchebags' uniqueness; Sarah Schulman described the same process and its consequences in The Gentrification of the Mind (California, 2012), and she's not the first.  For that matter, gentrification is also affecting small cities, like my own.  Downtown Bloomington is seeing a rash of upscale apartments for students with wealthy parents, including one notorious "party" building that occupies an entire city block.  (Coincidentally or not, it's across the street from the county jail.)  IU's douchebags are training here, getting "a degree in drinking with a business degree on the side" as a commenter on the article nicely put it, before they move on to Metropolis.

And this item too, from another comment on the "Douchebags" article:
Tuesday a cyclist ran over and very seriously injured an elderly person on a downtown (Market & Stockton) sidewalk. Last year an entitled tech wiz was racing down Castro, ran a red light, and hit and killed another elderly ped trying to cross the street. That evening he blogged about his record speed of 32MPH and posted video from his helmet or bike mounted Go Cam on the Internet. It came down when he lawyered up, of course. A year later he's on trial for felony manslaughter, finally. Oh, and he plead not guilty. His conviction should change his life forever ...  Couldn't happen to a more deserving soul.
P.S.  I excised a prison-rape joke from the comment.  Not important to the larger point.