A sign of racism


This is fucking unbelievable. I came across it last night in the Gaslighting Quart–I mean, the Gaslamp Quarter. The neighborhood improvement district wants me, Whitey, to “please satisfy your social consciousness by giving to charity” and “say no to panhandlers” because “panhandling promotes drug & alcohol abuse.” It wants La Raza, however, to obey direct orders just because.

I’ve studied foreign languages extensively and have jack diddly to show for it economically, so I know that translation is an art. I know that translations are like wives in that they can be either beautiful or faithful, etc., but this a bullshit fucking horrible translation. The Spanish, if I do say so myself, instructs the Spanish to “not give money to the indigent. Give your money to a charitable institution.” There is no way in hell that “indigente” is an entirely false cognate specifically meaning some asshole who’s pestering you for money rather than someone who ain’t got none, such as the guy I saw on the trolley the other day who lamented to his common-law (?) wife, “I can’t afford to go to the bank no more.”

Sure, maybe English is more expressive than Spanish on account of its rich treasury of Anglo-Saxonisms. That doesn’t explain why the assholes who came up with that sign didn’t even try to translate it with minimal accuracy. Maybe someone who had been appointed to the sign commission as a representative of La Raza was all like, “No, Mr. Siegler, the Hispanic Latinos, they don’t wanna read nothing like that.” Well, then, let me raise a point of clarification as an Anglo: what the fuck made anyone think that I’d want to read shit like that just because I’m white and part White? What part of my heritage does anyone construe as making me not find everything about that sign punchably offensive? I’m descended from free-soil Kansans, officer-class Ulster crackers, and a Russian Jew who called his own self-loathing son “Kike Douglas.” Many of my people knew the difference between conscience and consciousness, inspiring them to satisfy the latter by liberally making fun of bumptious bullshit and those peddling it.

Putting that sign up in the Gaslamp Quarter is like Rob Ford waving a crack pipe and a fifth of whiskey around while yelling about sobriety. The Gaslamp Quarter promotes the hell out of alcohol abuse. It depends on alcohol abuse. Other drugs, sloppily contrasted with alcohol as “drugs,” may be incidental to the drinking in roughly the way that the mayor figured he probably smoked the crack rock because he was already too drunk to think better of it, but the Gaslamp exists by luring in lushes and cultivating their loud alcoholism. Remember, I’ve seen grown-ass women communicating in public there using nothing but cat noises.

What I’ve been leaving out, of course, is that the cat noises and the bro bullshit and the near T-boning of cross traffic by a crew cab pickup towing a trailer large enough for two horses at full throttle during a rainstorm are all okay because the ‘rents live up in Poway and are always on the lookout for new ways to very subtly corrupt Kevin Faulconer, so you can totally crash at their place while working part-time at Abercrombie for a manager who would be an asshole not to give daddy’s little girl the week off to go to Coachella and Joel Salazar for Water Commissioner. Well, shucks, that last part must have written itself. The problem with the alcohol and drug abuse is only that it’s being indulged by the wrong abusers. That’s why the business district booster assholes put up that sign in an effort to shame competent visitors into not enabling street addiction. They don’t know from bum to bum who’s passing the plate to fund a dope habit and who’s trying to raise enough Panera money for a You Pick 2 with some extra sides, God willing. They do know that their own higher-end clientele is centered around an embarrassment of drunkards and that this is why they’re able to make so much money getting San Diego’s White Community so plastered that it can barely order an Uber back to La Jolla by the time the night’s through.

No, I do not accept the leadership of anyone who’s involved in this shit. Left to my own devices, I barely drink. I eat goddamned Panda Express in order to put some extra money aside at Capital One 360 from time to time. I don’t hear bums lecturing me like that, though. Some of them articulate religious preoccupations too bizarre to reconstruct, but they don’t generally mind seeing a man leveled up, not down. I don’t hear them complaining about how the Gaslamp is crawling with no-account fancy-pants drunks whose alcoholism gets in the way of the locals who were there first, fully enjoying their al fresco benders. They certainly have cause to complain about this. Instead, the boosters and the hustlers who gentrified the Gaslamp keep bitching about how it’s still a skid row, which they knew damn well it was when they bought into the neighborhood.

The al fresco drugs community is not particularly pleasant company as a rule of thumb, but at least when it makes me believe in a more vigorous socialism, it makes me believe in socialism because I’m looking at a bunch of poor bastards who haven’t got a place to lay down their heads, or a decent one in any event, and public housing is cheaper and administratively more straightforward than some hospital group’s code monkeys charging Medi-Cal every time one of these losers ends up in the ER so that the CEO can buy a new Mercedes. When the Gaslamp’s fully paid-up, fully housed drunks make me believe in socialism, they make me believe in Maoism as punishment and rectification of the bourgeoisie. Don’t get too snappy with me, now; bitch I’m the one who’s always going nuts looking for farm jobs that aren’t there.

I have some better ideas. Not charging your grown children rent equal to their net income and putting it into trust promotes alcohol and drug abuse and the aggrandizement of Travis Kalanick; please satisfy your social consciousness by giving me charity. Honoring and bankrolling scamming, duplicitous skanks promotes the stringing of thirsty bastards along for narcissistic supply and free drinks and contributes to social diseases including chlamydia, bar fights, and meowing; please satisfy your social consciousness by patronizing cathouses whose madams will make fun of any woman in their employ who tries to communicate like an actual cat. Solicitation of public funds for neighborhood improvement districts promotes atrocities upon the English language, the Spanish language, translation, and truth; please to satisfy your social conscienceness by giving a decent loafaday bum a five spot because he could probably use a drink when he’s forced to share his neighborhood with affluent wastrels and urban renewal sleazeballs who fuck off back to Rancho Bernardo whenever they get sick of the downtown life or of their fellow downtowners.

Alcohol and drugs: gobias some a dem kine, you cheap bastard. No need to waste it all on yourself.


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