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Who You Calling Old?

Nov
20
2003

A few weeks ago, SF Weekly columnist Matt Smith reminded me that I’ve become an old fart since I didn’t really appreciate – I still don’t – San Francisco Supervisor Chris Daly’s political theatrics.
But I really like hacker theatrics: those little punks going around raiding computer systems, hiding box cutters in planes and calling the cops, the guy who got the phone numbers and social security numbers of the NYTimes OpEd contributors, John Gilmore’s “suspected terrorist” silent protest. It makes me laugh. It makes me think.
The LATimes Joe Mennes did a little write-up about hacker politics earlier this week so I started thinking a little more about being an old fart. And well, as much as it pains me, I decided that Smith is right. When it comes to minor stuff, I like peace and quiet.
And, compared to my civil rights, airplane security, and the entertaining idea that the New York Times sent Arial Sharon a 1099 tax form for his 750-word essay, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission really is pretty minor (yes, I know I’ll think differently when I can’t flush the toilet after an earthquake but, hey, call me high-minded). All politics may be local. But not all local politics — even here in San Francisco — is life or death. Not any more. Thank God.
So maybe that’s what a lot people who like to think of themselves as hip have been struggling with during this city election: the stuff the city has to pay attention to over the next few years is boring, adminstrative slogging. Boring but important stuff. It’s not life or death. It’s not stuff that lends itself to political theatrics. It’s stuff that calls for smart thinking and tough decisions and, well, firing people and saying ‘no’ to your friends and maybe making enemies. But, well, that’s what reform is all about and every candidate for mayor agreed with one voice that reform — change — is long overdue.
No amount of grandstanding can get around that. So both sides in the campaign that scheduled to end on Dec. 9 have done their level best to “fire up the base,’’ as the political pros like to say. It’s working. There’s a lot of anger out there. That’s why (see next entry) John King’s talking about California as the “great exception” comes at such a timely moment. But the anger being generated in San Francisco over this race — unlike the stuff the hackers are pulling — doesn’t feel like the kind of anger that gets translated into action that makes you think or, sad to say, makes you laugh.

Share  Posted by Chris Nolan at 5:39 PM | Permalink

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