Snobbery or Something Like It


California's future?

Recently, Tom Ammiano, an assemblyman out of San Francisco, called for a bill that would legalize recreational use of marijuana in California. The announcement has come at a time when the state of California is desperate for money and still recovering from months of not having a balanced budget.  (Which is, perhaps, one of the reasons why people are taking this bill seriously.)

Of course there were many opinions and thoughts about the bill and what it would mean if the bill passed; however, the opinion that fascinated me the most and spurned this post, was a complaint about how San Francisco would attract and be filled with even more non-local Yahoos then ever before.*

In my head it sounded like this:

“Those damn Yahoos! They threaten the precious cultural ecosystem we have: burners, hipsters, tech heads, college students, gays, googlers, circus freaks, ravers, etc.”

Or what I’d like to call NIMBA (Not In My Bay Area).

I commented that “As long as we have snobs I’m sure those damn tourists will be kept in place.”

And that spurned this observation about snobbery’s (maybe) place in culture.

“Theoretically speaking, I don’t think snobbery is bad in a culture, although snob may not be the right word to use.

Cultural innovation always seems to happen whenever groups of people are forced to contract into tightly-knit groups in the pursuit of a common value. Which can be good: disco turned into house, age of enlightenment, cultural rights, Homebrew Computer Club, pot. It could be good for the Bay especially if this increases the amount of creatives who choose to live here: perm or indefinitely. More major and minor musical acts and other artists might begin coming through.

Snobbery is only bad when it leads a culture to a know it all in such a way that what they “know” can’t be questioned. That  “knowing” limits social growth in a society, “we know it all so we won’t change,” and the other side of that is “we’re so complacent we can’t/won’t change,” (the movie Idiocracy) that also limits growth. So snobbery creates the friction needed to create the cultural process that ultimately creates cultural innovation and the cycle continues unless the culture stalls on one of those extremes stated above. imo.”

I don’t think snobbery is the right word grammatically but the point is: Be a snob, it’s good for you. It’s better for all of us.

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*If pot were to become legalized it seems like a reasonable assumption that SF’s visitor traffic would grow and not only that, if Mexico’s violence keeps rising and this law is passed in time, then a legalized California – especially SF – could become a sought-after vacation spot.

But I wonder, does SF really want to deal with the visitor traffic legalized pot will bring? Considering  the recent news about San Francisco cracking down on flash mobs and sanitizing Bay to Breakers, I’d say “no.”  But I’ll still harbor a romantic idea of  seeing SF finally hosting cannabis coffeeshops.

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