The Google-bus elitism

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I've been waiting for the Chron's culture columnist Caille Millner to finally write about something interesting, and I got it April 27 when she stumbled onto the Google Buses. Or rather, the problem with the Google buses.

Thanks to the Chron's silly paywall, you can't read her column online, and since hardly anyone in San Franciso buys the Chronicle anymore, Millner's story won't get the attention it should. So allow me to repeat some of it here:

It was close to 9 p.m., and I was waiting at a bus stop on an island in the middle of Market Street. Next to me stood a tired-looking middle-aged woman who had clearly just left work. While we waited, up cruised the big white pod. It paused right in front of us. The door at the front slid open to discharge a few Googlers, and the luggage door on the lower right side of the bus also slid open to allow them access to their belongings.

One gentleman bounced down the bus steps and pushed his way in front of us to get his bicycle from beneath the bus. As he hurled it out onto the bus island, it hit the woman standing next to me. She glanced at me, mute and horrified, and in that moment I sensed that she didn't feel able to confront him. So I did.

"Excuse you," I said loudly.

>No response. He was busy fumbling with his messenger bag

"You hit her," I yelled.

He glanced up in no particular direction, as though suddenly troubled by the buzz of an insect. Circling his head around, he finally noticed where he was - the bus stop, the night, the fact that there were other people around him.

"Sorry?" he asked the air, in a tone of confusion. Then he climbed on his bicycle and pedaled away. He never looked at the woman he had hit.

There's a sense of entitlement about the rich, and the young rich are often the worst. And that's one reason why the logic of the Google bus -- it's better to have a single luxury vehicle haul all those people to work than have them all drive cars -- doesn't register with a lot of us. They're too good for Caltrain. They're too good for Muni. And they're too damn good to bother to notice that they've hit an old lady.

 

Comments

You really, really do...really, really, really! Just click those ruby reds together as you ask yourself, "Am I in Kansas anymore?"

Posted by Guest on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 1:56 pm

You'd be broke in no time at all, and then even more envious.

Posted by Anon on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 11:12 am

Do you have your talking points down? Cuz you know you trolls have done a good job of spreading the meme that if anyone complains about the rich, it must be because they're envious. It couldn't be because we're just tired of all the corruption, or the public handouts to folks like Ellison and corporations like Twitter. Or just the privileged attitudes of people who would as soon knock a little old lady over as to look at her.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 12:31 pm

If you make 200K a year, you will not envy someone else who does.

Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2013 @ 12:32 am

a guy accidentally bumps someone with his bike and it is a "battering" yet your BFF Mirk intentionally grabs his wife in anger hard enough to bruise her and you poo-poo'd it until the cows came home.

nice work

Posted by Guest on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 3:28 pm

"One gentleman bounced down the bus steps and pushed his way in front of us to get his bicycle from beneath the bus. As he hurled it out onto the bus island, it hit the woman standing next to me."

Note that these are not Tim's words, but that of Caille, the Chron's writer.

The Google guy callously inflicted a battery with a large metallic object, yet you would forgive and defend such behavior to the end. You want to bring up Ross Mirkarimi's momentary arm grab -- falsely claiming without justification, I might add that it was done "in anger," when no such fact has been established -- and suggest lyingly that it is I "poo-pooed" it and am thus a "hypocrite."

What I objected to in the Mirkarimi case was a response that was all out of proportion with the event. What I objected to was the City's power elite exploiting genuine concerns about domestic violence to settle their bald political vendetta.

I never claimed Ross was right to grab Eliana's arm, but you seem to be intimating that the woman who was injured by the flying bicycle was at fault for not jumping out of the way quickly enough. I think it is you who have established yourself as a hypocrite.

And remember: those transit islands were put there for *the* *safety* of Muni riders; not for the convenience of some privileged Googlers.

Posted by lillipublicans on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 3:51 pm

Wow, Lilli. Do you have any idea how far the guy "hurled" his bicycle?

You know, the guy who "callously inflicted a battery with a large metallic object".

Is there a video of the bruising that he caused to the woman when he threw the large metal object at her?

Posted by Troll on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 4:19 pm

Yes, Marcos, that is true -- not all tech workers are rich. But there is a sense of entitlement I see all the time from well-paid young people in this city. Not always, not everyone, but it's there. The brilliant makes of "disruptive" technology don't always think about the lives they are "disrupting" -- or about the people who were here before them.

Maybe the word "rich" is wrong here. But the problem is not.

 

Posted by tim on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 10:19 am

Tim, the play date generation that grew up cocooned in the most virtual of all conceivable realities as America retrenched from a society into an amalgamation of private households has more to do with how these individuals act than in their incomes which is different than wealth, or their tech "talents." We'll see how rich these kids are once the inevitable popping of the Next Big Bubble goes down.

The "hipsters," for whom many of us now pine relative to the techsters conduct themselves the same way in shared public space. This is a property of the > "Gen Y" cohorts more than anything else.

Indeed, one of the main issues I take with this "urban renaissance" is that white and Asian suburbanites have recolonized the inner cities and brought their insulated suburban ways with them. These suburban born and bred cohorts have no clue how to be a city dweller, how to negotiate shared space at close quarters in ways that show mutual respect for other users.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 10:38 am

Whites and Asians - bad.

Blacks and Hispanics - good.

How utterly, sadly predictable.

You and Tim, riddled with envy, wondering how life passed you by. Pathos by any other name is still pathetic.

Posted by Anon on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 11:14 am

you mean the same race card that you play every day? or don't you listen to yourself?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 2:32 pm

I stereotype racists, but never race.

Posted by anon on May. 01, 2013 @ 8:31 am

At a 100k starting salary, YES tech workers are rich. NO they are not middle class.

Posted by Kevin on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 11:03 pm
Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2013 @ 12:31 am

$100K is only rich when compared to non-tech wages which have fallen further and faster in real terms than tech wages which have only fallen in relative terms.

I'm curious when the "bad medicine" of "shock therapy" from "the free market" will be replaced by the "72 virgins" that economic promises all martyrs?

Posted by marcos on May. 01, 2013 @ 7:26 am

$100K is only rich when compared to non-tech wages which have fallen further and faster in real terms than tech wages which have only fallen in relative terms.

I'm curious when the "bad medicine" of "shock therapy" from "the free market" will be replaced by the "72 virgins" that economic sharia promises all martyrs?

Posted by marcos on May. 01, 2013 @ 7:26 am

"All" tech workers don't get private wheels as a job perk. Just pampered ones. I agree with the basic premise that living in a world where you are catered to makes it easy to lose touch with what everyone else goes through. I accept the tale as true and have no reason to believe it was fabricated. Maybe we differ.

Not everyone who objects to social stratification is a whiner, you know. There is still the objective reality of what just happened here. You have to go with your own eyes sometimes.

Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2013 @ 2:00 pm

a woman on the sidewalk! How terrible.

And obviously it follows from that that anyone making more than 100K per annum is a danger to others.

You've really excelled yourself this time.

Tim, some people are more successful than you, make more money than you, don't notice you in the street.

Heck they probably have cuter wives than you, have more sex and their kids are more adorable.

Oh, and they have a far more stylish commute than you. But a real man would hide his envy; not flaunt it. And that's what is really sad about progressives - not just the stereotyping as here, but the blatant envy.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 9:25 am

What kind of freak uses "per annum" in English discourse?

Posted by marcos on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 9:26 am

Those who cite their income in dollars per week typically make less than those who cite their income in terms of an annual salary.

Posted by Anon on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 9:48 am

Fuckface, nobody uses pa in normal standard English usage, nobody except for freaks.

Posted by marcos on May. 01, 2013 @ 7:27 am

I find "per annum" less jarring than "Fuckface."

Posted by Hortencia on May. 01, 2013 @ 8:37 am
Posted by anon on May. 01, 2013 @ 8:43 am

Anyone not suffering under a pathetic urge to seem more intelligent would simply write "someone who makes 100K"; "per year" -- or for the hopelessly fatuous and mouthy, "per annum" -- is simply *understood.*

Posted by lillipublicans on May. 01, 2013 @ 7:38 am

Since you haven't worked in decades, you would not know that.

The world still moves on, you know, even after you check out.

Posted by anon on May. 01, 2013 @ 8:30 am

Sounds like the bike rider was a jerk. I've encountered a lot of jerks on Muni buses, though.

The nearest CalTrain station is several miles from Google's campus. Unless they all want to ride bikes, that's not going to get them to work.

Posted by The Commish on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 9:40 am

some freak mouthing off or disturbing the peace.

The average Google commuter works on his laptop, bothering nobody. Outrageous.

I'm bet Tim walks past homeless people every day and thinks they are "charming" and part of SF's "diversity" But one rich person accidentally bumps into someone else, and it's a criminal offense and clear evidence that all rich people are evil.

Posted by Anon on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 9:52 am

Not evil. Just arrogant disconnected fucks.
True of a much wider cross section than Google.

The town is full of them, and Yes it got worse when the Dot Bomb forced rents up and filled the streets with Range Rovers. SF has lost its coolness largely due to rich fucks. Tech or not. But honestly? All the new money is in tech or biotech.

So ... Tim is just saying what those of us who have always lived here are feeling. Mean people suck. And there are more of them. How you interpret the demographics is up to you.

Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2013 @ 2:18 pm

in front of Mission Chinese Food on a busy night? Very often, the waiting techsters block the entire sidewalk oblivious to passers by who also want to use the "shared" sidewalk. If you ask them to clear a path or politely point out their selfishness, they look incredulous, just like the person described in the above article.

I don't know if the cause is income, entitlement, cluelessness, the proliferation of smart (makes you dumb) phones or something else, but whatever the cause, the rudeness that is accompanying the latest speculative tech bubble is decreasing the quality of life for those of us long-timers who know how to share public space in our urban environment.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 9:57 am

How do you know they are not, say, SFBG writers having a n evening out?

Posted by Anon on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 10:03 am

really a teenage boy typing at his mother's computer?

Because the level of reasoning and writing ability point to that conclusion.

Never heard the term "envy bitch" before. Part of the teenage vocabulary to which I must claim ignorance.

Here's a tip: using sexist, racist and classist terminology doesn't bolster your argument. Your teachers should teach you that when you matriculate at high school next year (provided you pass eighth grade.)

Posted by Guest on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 10:18 am

That attempt at a diversion shows of course that you have no idea. You're just assuming.

Not everyone that goes into the Mission on a Friday night works in IT. There's also hedge funds, real estate, biotech, banking, law, management consultancy etc.

Lots of ways to make 150K in this town, even if you only dream of that.

Posted by Anon on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 11:16 am

This is a generalized condition of narcissistic entitlement and obliviousness to others imbued into the DNA of the play date generations.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 10:29 am

not wealthy tech workers at all, but homeless, unemployed or generally sketchy looking people loitering and squatting.

Sorry to burst your stereotypical bubble. Again.

Class warfare is an ugly thing even when done by people with far more style and panache than you could ever muster.

Posted by Anon on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 11:18 am

With no style or panache, which is to be expected of an 8th grader.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 11:21 am

Tim was the one stereotyping classes of people.

I see good and bad in all kinds of people, and so generally avoid stereotypes. That said, most of the uncivil behavior I see on the streets of SF is not done by billionaires.

Posted by Anon on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 11:36 am

Ha, that's rich! Do you ever read what you write? Just curious.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 12:16 pm

Big difference.

If the left stopped stereotyping the successful, they'd be out of business.

Posted by anon on May. 01, 2013 @ 8:29 am

Bike rider was rude. Hardly news in SF

Posted by Whackamole on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 11:07 am

Since many cyclists are affluent, home-owning IT workers who do not fit the progressive demographic at all.

The bike crowd also often fight the affordable housing people, the NIMBY's and the Muni crowd.

SF tribalism is always amusing, and always ineffectual.

Posted by Anon on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 11:19 am

Normally, cyclists can do no wrong around here, but the green benefits of both cycling and the Google shuttles (yes, it really is better to have a bunch of people riding one vehicle than a bunch more cars on the road) are outweighed by the fact that not everyone can ride these shuttles. The hierarchy of intersectionality always has evil capitalism at the top.

Posted by Hortencia on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 11:32 am

while Steven of course thinks they can do no wrong.

I love shit like this.

Posted by Anon on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 11:47 am

Steven thinks bicyclists can do no wrong.

Posted by lillipublicans on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 11:58 am

for hitting and killing the elderly man at Castro and Market awhile back. But you know, facts are stupids things for Anon.

Posted by Michael W. on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 8:22 pm

No cyclist has been found to be responsible for hitting and killing a pedestrian. It just might turn out that the pedestrian was responsible for crossing illegally, not looking both ways, and doing so recklessly into the path of oncoming traffic. It appears that the prosecution introduced evidence that just might prove that. But we have to wait for the judicial system to crank through its machinations before any such statements might be made.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 8:42 pm

You're as bad as Steven with your blind support for cyclists, even when they maim and kill.

Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2013 @ 12:29 am

I'm not blindly supporting cyclists, and I'm not suggesting that pedestrians be punished when they disobey the law and put themselves in harm's way.

Physics does that. Most of our parents' taught us as much at an early age, some did not.

Posted by marcos on May. 01, 2013 @ 7:29 am

the cyclist clearly wasn't taught right by his parents, and natural selection just took care of the rest, right?

Posted by anon on May. 01, 2013 @ 8:28 am

It's really simple:
Whether you are the big tech companies or the expanding Art University College, build housing for your workers/students and locate them close to your buildings. Sustainability in this supposed green mecca of SF dictates that techies live in Sunnyvale, Menlo Park, Mountain View, Palo Alto, etc.--not in SF, unless they are working at SF locations.Yes--let's return to the company town. You already have your own laundry, food facilities, etc. on campuses.

Posted by TinyTim on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 11:29 am
Posted by Anon on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 11:46 am