COVIDIOCRACY

Everyone in the service industry is a power drunk bullying terrorist

Your doctors want you to die so they can get the COVID bucks

Swallowing semen cures COVID19

You think wearing pool noodles on your head and a mask on your face makes you look like a sanctimonious virtue signaler but really you look like an idiot

You think wearing a face shield on your face makes you look like a bad ass but really it just makes you look like an idiot or like an infantilized adult finally realizing his dream of playing storm trooper

The mask is placebo

You don’t know what placebo means

Children are building the new panopticon digital slavelization society and are trained to snitch on you

Gramma actually hates you by now and thinks you look like an idiot with a mask on. Most likely you’re out of the will

Your government is laughing at you

Rich people and the managerial class are laughing at you

Glory holes help stop the spread of COVID19

Acting is a hate crime

Activism and voting are the new sport/leisurely passtime for the bourgeoisie

Real doctors who care lose their websites and get yoinked off the Internet and their words are memory wiped

Cats carry COVID19

Artificial intelligence is writing the news

Vaccines that have never been trialed and are human GMO modifiers are good but healthy diet, exercise, sunshine, a little vitamin C and social gatherings are bad

No law was ever passed to wear a mask, shut down your business, shelter in lockdown but you did it anyway because you don’t know what words mean or even how laws work

You’ve voluntarily given up all your rights

You’re in love with your oppressors. You can’t wait to vote them into office and have them stomp their boot on your face some more

COVID19 is less deadly than the common cold, and theres no evidence it even exists, but the world is acting like their hair is going to catch fire if an asthmatic with a medical exemption doesn’t wear a mask

Police tape has been wrapped around playgrounds and you’re ok with it because you hate kids at play I guess

The guy who told the world a couple hundred million people were gonna die of a non existent virus has since retracted his whoopsie bogus statement and disappeared with his mistress and a bunch of money

All the famous actors and bullshit artists are drinking mai tais on their private islands while you think they’re doing time for crime

A daddy’s boy rich kid so called software developer with a severe personality disorder whose foundation only exists because he lost a lawsuit is in charge of jabbing the world

It’s Russia’s fault

You already get molested when you fly and now with your mask on you can’t even make polite conversation while you’re being felt up

You never ask when the shit that is bludgeoning you to death is going to end. You just describe it incessantly

You’re not on the street yellow vesting this tyranny so you must love it

It’s Russia’s fault

The media or your governor could tell you to shave your head, cut off your arm, sacrifice your first born, eat a bag of dicks and you’d be first in line to do it

Trillions of dollars is invested into media manipulation, Ponzi schemes with your taxes, every social movement you’ve ever been involved in, every facet of your life and efforts for globalization and slavelization have been simulated, documented and proven but it’s Trumps fault

A reality TV show host with a trail of personal debt and shady business dealings is going to save us

It’s Russia’s fault. No, wait. Maybe it’s not. No, it is

There’s civil and human rights violations happening every second of every day just around the corner from you but oh well. Stop complaining Karen

You throw walnuts at people who can’t wear mask, hurling walnuts and screeching like a deranged poop throwing monkey

You’re treating this collapse of society like an extended vaca

You’re in a cult, having one long continual psychotic episode and you’re allowed to walk free instead of being hospitalized and treated for your delusion

You’re healthy and robust but you believe you’re a bio weapon, a vector for a deadly virus

You have a god complex, imposing your will on others

You’re unstable, irrational and irritating and somehow I’m the bad guy for describing you

It’s only July and this is how many people have died

It’s the red dots in case you don’t know how to read

Since you don’t know what numbers or scale mean you’ll have another Hysterical meltdown

And because it’s you, it’s doubtful we will even make it to October

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Color Revolutions Lead to Beige Bourgeois USA Non-Reaction

By Julie Collins

A CIA color revolution is when CIA operatives agitate people in other nations to incite riots to overthrow those people’s governments and destabilize regions. CIA color revolutions are an endless cash bonanza to the CIA and its various appendages.

It doesn’t matter if those governments were democratically elected in. If the country has resources, labor, skill or land the United States government will give the CIA operations carte blanche to engage in agitprop in order to seize those country’s assets and ouster its government. This leaves an opportunistic vacuum to fill. It is usually filled with draconian policy that distorts a once-thriving, self sustaining nation into a slave state to the United States. Neoliberal policies, sometimes at the insistence of USA funded terrorist groups, are put in place of socialist, or at best quasi-socialist, policies. Environments are ransacked. Human lives become chattel. A new white kingdom is built on the backs of a brown nation.

It’s Thanksgiving in the USA. This should all sound familiar and even familial since our country is based on hegemony, war and occupation of indigenous people’s land.

These color revolutions are hyper-hysterically mis-characterized in USA state media as working class civilians demanding democracy in their brown, oppressed nation. This mis-characterization couldn’t be further from the truth. Sadly, these color revolutions are becoming so normalized that most USA citizens have become immune to their catastrophic global impact.

So normalized in fact that when a color revolution happens in the United States it goes undetected and is tragically under reported. The USA color revolutions always target the poorest communities, infecting local government bodies with corrupt economic policy where greed is at the center of the municipality’s agenda, disabling or thwarting or hindering any progress as poverty rises, while extracting life sustaining natural resources like potable drinking water or land on which to grow food for sustenance. Often, in their place, state of the art surveillance systems are installed on Section 8 Housing or the over-financialization of the build-out of a new police station, for instance. This is similar to when elaborate heavily funded military bases set up camp in the regions of the countries that we “revolutionize.” Our military set up base in the poorest regions of Afghanistan to exploit the poppy fields. The marriage of predatory financial markets with the drug trade create “Opportunity Zones” that exploit the most addictive neighborhoods. These neighborhoods happen to fall prey to what eventually comes out of those poppy fields. That sounds like a system that is circular, you might say. It’s built that way, each depending on its other to thrive.

Unlike the civilians in other countries who recognize when a color revolution is taking place and push back against its operations often fighting to maintain their way of life, their health, their economic stability and their true understanding of freedom, which is defined as their own ardent attachment to culture and tradition, United States civilians watch with gaping mouths and shrugging indifference as their communities slowly rot from the inside out, turning into despotic sources of greed and for-profit poverty industrial complexes.

Can we not see the similarities between Libya and Anywhere, America? Libya, a once harmonious, somewhat economically stable country that even had a small tourism trade was scapegoated, ransacked, plundered and turned into a slave nation. We can see the similarities: small local economies that had a working eco-system which balanced out a life for everyone through local merchants, good schools and systems that worked for everyone have eroded and in its place a hollowed out shell unrecognizable even to the occupants who call it home. Libyan flags wave pitifully on the landscape of a region once flush with opportunity. American flags wave pitifully on the landscape of a region once flush with opportunity.

Civilians in the more prominent wealthy areas of the USA remain unaffected, unencumbered and glibly unaware of the color revolutions that cause generational poverty just a few states over. Where children have no access to nutritional food, or transit riders have no access to decent transit or roads and where generational poverty is very very expensive, causing a rising rash of horrific sicknesses that pave the way to addiction, trauma and the bonds that choke all opportunity out. The beiged out bourgeoisie peruse their plethora of organic produce options right out their front door, then hop on 7 different types of transit options or protected bike lanes to whisk them away to whatever brightly lit cafe, or overcrowded restaurant or lush park that meets their every whimsical desire, blissfully unaware that color revolutions are pock-marking this country they seem to hold so dear. After all, they vote (The ‘I Voted!’ sticker prominently displayed on their not-too-fancy-to-draw-attention-to-their-privilege-jacket) and it’s usually for a candidate in a beige suit with an itchy drone finger who paves the way for a candidate with an itchy golf hand.

Color revolutions seem to be a way of life now. Ordinary, expected little coup d’etats of autonomous regions. The scale gets tipped. The balance is gone. The desperation for survival mounts. The money dries up. The food dries up. The water dries up. The poor are targeted incessantly and continuously until their every waking moment is “What bullshit will I have to deal with today?” Surveillance is everywhere, outsourcing autonomy to the highest bidder. Children become little old men and women by the time they’re 5 years old and it’s simply daily Dickensian drudgery at the behest of surveillance capitalism with a backdrop of Orwell’s 1984 in the outer mist. Hope is stupid. All that’s left is what I call “The Real.”

Society remains neutral, unaffected by it and non-reactive. Circling the drain is this regretful notion that we wasted our good crisis, or our last three good crises. We allowed an institution that was compromised to begin with to eat its own tail, to become so corrupted and so diseased that dystopian novels made into tv shows use Congress as their muse.

And we financialize. Everything. Your footprint, your thoughts, your screens, your mood, your flower bed, your outrage, your body, your sexual orientation, your water, your food, your hair, your toenails, your children, your future, you. Someone’s bank account is getting very fat off of all this financializing. And it certainly isn’t mine.

If you’re thankful this year at your table, then you’re thankful for your delusion. You’re thankful that you’re programmable, you’re thankful that you’re blissfully unaware of your own privilege, you’re thankful that you’ve never experienced a color revolution and have never been a starving refugee in your own country.

If you’re questioning what exactly there is to be thankful for, then you can join me this Thanksgiving at my table. It’s exactly where you should be.

Hardly Strictly Helpful

By Julie Collins

One of the most popular, heavily attended free music festivals that takes place every year in San Francisco is this weekend, always on or around my birthday. It’s called Hardly Strictly Bluegrass.

Ironic that the genre of music that was originally promoted to showcase the event in the most privileged, pampered city in America      is the old protestor music of early class struggle, the music of the anti-establishment, the working class, the labor movement and in some cases the traditional values of communism!  (Gasp!)

Even more ironic is the fact that most of the people in attendance come from and live in a meritocracy that doesn’t exist for the rest of us and could never identity with class struggle or financial hardship, the kind of stuff that I see and deal with every single day of my life.

For instance, I live in a neighborhood that has the highest concentration of Section 8 Housing in the county, maybe even the state, probably the entire country.  And I can identify with their struggles.  Where’s the three day music festival for us?

Anyway, it’s notjusta music festival.  One year I was offered truffles for free on a silver platter.  Another year RoseAnn Cash offered criticism of adult males who still had to live at home.  “Fuck her,” I muttered and split to see another band.  Cash, whose ridden on the auspices of her last name was birthed directly into that meritocracy for the few and has always had the privilege that comes from being born into Country Music royalty.   She doesn’t know anything about class struggle.  I hope her father, Johnny Cash, haunts her for that thoughtless comment and takes her down a few pegs.

Some of the most famous and talented people, even outside the Bluegrass genre, perform at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass.  From Pokey LaFarge to Hugh Laurie to Courtney Barnett to Emmy Lou Harris to New Pornographers to Thurston Moore to Fantastic Negrito and an array of crooners, banjo and stand-up bass savants and all around music-Americana take the multiple stages for the three day festival.

About a million people batter the grounds of Golden Gate Park.  Traffic is closed (of course) and a sea of bicycles can be seen as far as the eye can see. This particular festival rounds out the end of the festival mania that enlivens San Francisco all summer.  There’s always a breathtaking sunset along the surrounding tree line as EmmyLou Harris bids farewell and exits the Banjo Stage.

If you’re ever in San Francisco the first week of October I recommend it.  You’ll never have another experience like it.  And it’s free.

I’ve gone every year since its inception, except last year and this year, since I moved to Pittsburgh.

My takeaway from it, as a leftist community “advisor” (I bristle at the word activist, come on) is that the Hellman Family Trust, which ultimately puts on this festival for free every year, has the right idea, sort of.  But what can you expect when billionaires offer something for free to the community? Do they have an agenda?

Believe it or not, my beef isn’t with the billionaires that back the thing, or with the millionaires that perform the thing.  They have their agenda and whatever the political climate is the artists are on cue with the scripted main stream pounded propaganda narratives: be it anti-Trump quips or the “women up” rallying cries.  This year, the urgency around climate change is the pre determined between-song talking point and I’ll bet money Beth Orton encourages everyone to buy a metal straw and AC Newman congratulates everyone on riding their bikes to the fest. Whatever the theme is, nearly one million people won’t ever be offered decisively specific details that contradict these polished and scripted narratives. Nearly one million people nod in unison, and their ardent dedication to group-think is egged on by the artists on stage.

So, yea, my beef isn’t with the festival producers and performers.  It’s with those nearly one million people who attend the thing.  There is this event that we all attend that is presented for free and paid for by the billionaire class.  When there are rumors that Hardly Strictly may not happen in the future, the citizens of San Francisco throw an epic tantrum and start campaigning to raise money to make sure it happens again.  God forbid we have a weekend without anything to occupy us.  We might have to start thinking about things that matter or make us uncomfortable.  We might actually have to do a little self analyzing.

Why isn’t this effort thrown into the building up of communities who’ve been collapsed, on purpose, by those same billionaires offering free music festivals to the bourgeoisie?  Clearly the energy is there because as I’ve already said multiple times in this piece, nearly one million people attend this event.  They bring all the accoutrement necessary to save a spot for their gaggle of friends, they coordinate meeting places, create signs to hold up so they can be found in the crowd, announce where they are on social media and bring food and beverages so no one goes hungry or thirsty (although there are more food and drink options at this three day  festival than even in my own neighborhood on a permanent basis). There is a lot of organizing that comes with going to an event that is occupied by nearly one million people.

So I know people are capable of it. They have the money, the time, the wherewithal and the energy.  So why not take this expert coordination and apply it where it really matters?  Flint could really use some new pipes.  I could use some sidewalks.  Detroit could use some housing.  Alabama suffers from hookworm, a 19th century disease that occurs when there isn’t any plumbing infrastructure.  They could use some coordinated help.

It feels as if more and more people aren’t seeing through the motives of these massive scale events:  they are designed to keep us distracted, ameliorate our sense of community or redirect it to individualistic social events that don’t challenge us and they definitely keep the conversation about class struggle non existent.  The disconnect is profound, especially at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass.  One million could be quietly wiping the tears out of their eyes, moved by the  emotions of EmmyLou crooning poor Orphan Girl and yet, the poor orphan girl sitting right next to them who’s attempting to scratch out a living the only way she can (me, for example)  is roundly dismissed and the struggle that the orphan girls we’ve created through our destructive force on the planet is much too awkward to bring up at a music festival. Or, anywhere.

This lull into laissez faire fascism feels as if it is a soft coup of the very principles that comes out of the songs being sung at the festival itself.  You could literally hear the influence of Woody Guthrie in a young musician toe tapping his anti-establishment message but it falls on deaf ears when everyone in the audience is a member of the tech apparatus and is making at the very least, six digits a year.  The biggest struggle the audience member experiences is if he should announce his company is going public this year or next, or, which potential roommate he (or she) should choose to share the rent with.

Do I miss Hardly Strictly Bluegrass? I guess.  I never had a birthday party because of it. I know that when I attend again I’ll be one in a million, literally.

It’s entertaining and fun but I am also aware of a chilling discovery that this very event serves a sinister purpose. And even if a song was sung to explain that purpose (which is to disarm your capacity to tackle class struggle because you actually have the means to do it), the privileged in attendance still won’t hear that message.

Hostile Architecture Is Still A Thing?

By Julie Collins

Urbanites are familiar with the term “hostile architecture.”

It can be something as obvious as placing spikes in the outer windowsills of buildings or dividing up park benches so that a person cannot lie down on the bench comfortably to catch a few winks. This is a hostile act of violence against the poor, or the unhoused who find themselves without shelter or a home because of a parasitic capitalist system that has practically obliterated opportunity and social safety nets, providing instead welfare for the rich. It tells society at large that if a person is poor then they are to be punished, vilified and disappeared and least of all, made uncomfortable. Hostile architecture blames and punishes the victims.


One of the most extreme and widely known examples of hostile architecture is the Kercheval Avenue roundabout, and its barriers, located between Grosse Pointe, Michigan and Detroit. When the Kercheval Avenue residents built sheds and paved a road with no entrance into Kercheval Avenue (with Detroit funding  I might add) for the sole purpose to keep black Detroit citizens out, the local Detroit papers covered it extensively.  The story of this outright act of racism and hostility went national.

We visited Detroit to see for ourselves and sure enough, we witnessed this hostile architecture first-hand.

Furthermore, at noon everyday Kervechal Avenue blasts “The Eagles” or “Steely Dan” over loudspeakers. When we were waiting for our real estate agent to meet us at a local coffee shop on Kercheval Avenue, the loudspeakers started blasting this music immediately as she showed up since we had scheduled a noon appointment. I noticed a distressed look on her face as she walked up to meet us. As a black woman, the hostility toward her was palpable in a most covert manner.

Music and sound, believe it or not, is an example of hostile architecture, or hostile design.  It is used to discourage loitering. At a Burger King which is near an entrance to a BART station in San Francisco, and at the Gateway Station in Pittsburgh, extremely loud classical music is blasted over the loudspeakers. Some idiot convinced the planning commission that the classical music will keep out the “riff raff,” when really all it does is create an unnecessary uneasy feeling of passersby who subconsciously can pick up on the hostility behind the message. I would argue that to assume there is nefarious activity happening in train stations is what will perpetuate the very thing you think you are avoiding.

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A less obvious example of hostile architecture or hostile design are bus stops that have no shelters or are placed in areas that are not protected from oncoming traffic.

 

 

 

 

 

(Pittsburgh must rank dead last in safe, efficient, modernized public transportation. If it doesn’t we would be surprised. It’s like living in the early 20th century, or the 1990’s here. We don’t know which is worse actually.)

This is the bus stop that we have to use anytime we need to go to our credit union. It drops off in the middle of a highway and we have to take our lives into our own hands just to get to the entrance of the building. There is no crosswalk, no signal, no pedestrian signage for cars to slow down.

In fact, Pittsburgh ranks so low that streetsblog.org did a series of four articles highlighting this fact. Pittsburgh is an out-of-date city that has this silly notion that cars are the future, when the rest of the world is investing in trillion dollar infrastructure to provide better, faster and stream-lined modes of clean transportation to the world at large.

Hostile architecture, at least when it comes to public transportation, isn’t a new concept but it was new to us. We lived in San Francisco which has a phenomenal public transportation system. From the cable cars, to the vintage street trolleys, to the electric buses to the expansive city wide train system which offers a quick trip to the ocean, and even Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), which links the entire Bay Area to the City and its outer-lying regions, each mode of transportation is efficient and offers exemplary service and an array of options to passengers. This is a 21st century model for a global society that is rapidly finding cars an impractical use of investment and time.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is a social media page on Facebook, “NUMTOT” which stands for New Urbanist Memes for Transit Oriented Teens that has taken the transit riding world by storm. It has its own Wikipedia entry, has been covered in multiple national media papers including the New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/10/style/numtot-urbanism-memes.html and now each city has its own NUMTOT page, or a variation thereof including the rapidly growing Facebook page for Pittsburgh, PA: “Steel City Thoughts for Incline Riding Tots.” It rolls off the tongue quite nicely, doesn’t it?

However, in some regions the archaic out of date message that public transportation is an unacceptable model, through the message of hostile architecture or hostile design, is clear. It says, “If you are unfortunate or unhoused or if you use public transportation exclusively, you are not worth comfort, safety, rest, shelter or acknowledgement of needs.” And I would even add that bureaucracy and the private sector punish you for taking public transportation. Case in point. This is our new bus stop near our new home in West Pittsburgh, PA. Unacceptable:

Where is the bus shelter and seats for the disabled and elderly that wait at this bus stop every day? Where is the shelter for the mother and her tiny children, to keep them from running into the street? We have lived here for one year now. We have taken this bus and waited at this very bus stop multiple times during the week, sometimes even multiple times a day. We see young and old alike embark on this bus and ride it the quick 15 minutes to downtown Pittsburgh, PA. Compare it to our former bus stop which we were taking just as regularly:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is our new bus stop not worth shelter because this area of West Pittsburgh is in an economic slump? Observe this shelter in the South Side of Pittsburgh:

To add insult to injury, the other day we were appalled to see this newly installed gate and hostile signage on the steps of the building that is nearest our bus stop. In the entire year we have lived here, we’ve never seen any public transit rider get in the way of tenants who live in the building or cause any damage to the steps of this building. This is basically a threat to all public transit riders, a hostile message that punishes anyone who chooses public transit over driving.  

One should not be made to feel like a criminal for choosing public transportation. What is even more appalling (and completely unacceptable on any moral level) is that this message is meant for the very people that would frequent the landlord’s new deli he just opened at the base of this building: the very people that would stop in, and, with their purchasing power, keep his business afloat. You know, those people who would buy a quick bottle of soda or water, or stop in to get a sandwich and eat it at the lunch counter, or buy something for their hungry child while waiting for the bus, are the very same people he is criminalizing by placing this hostile aggressive sign that basically says, “Give me your business. Now get away from here.”

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San Francisco, CA is a thousand and a half times more crowded than Pittsburgh, PA. There are nearly one million people densely packed into a City that is only 49 square miles and it is three quarters surrounded by water. Of course there are issues with tourists and public transit riders and city-walkers often hanging out on the stoops of walk-ups, flats, apartment buildings and Victorian homes. It is an urban environment. It is a City. I would explain to the deli owner who placed this hostile signage to his potential customer base: if you don’t want modern, efficient, responsible transit riding people near your deli, then move to some magical mystical place called Cranberry, PA, wherever that is. Seriously. We don’t know where it is. We looked it up. It has zero public transportation options to get there which means it is likely we will never visit it.

What was San Francisco’s response to this ever growing barrage of the stoop-sitting public? Did they build chain link fences with hostile “Keep Out!” signs across the porches of the thousands of dwellings whose occupants often have to step over people sitting on their steps multiple times a day? No. They built more bus shelters, with seats. The shelters provide protection from sun and rain and the seats offer an alternative to that tempting stoop of that lovely shaded Victorian. They also built public parklets, where streets were re-designed, and sidewalks were widened so the public could have a place to sit down at a table with built-in chairs or benches, while they rest or wait for the bus. If it was near a coffee shop or eating establishment, then that establishment would find their business growing, due to the resting foot traffic.

What would you prefer?  This?

Or this?

This?

Or this?

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If responsible transit riding citizens continue to allow hostile architecture to exist, then the above business owner of the apartment building, for example, which is near where we stand everyday to take the bus, may find his business sputtering. If I were someone just standing there waiting for the bus, and I saw a “No Soliciting” or “No Trespassing” sign on the steps near the front door of his establishment, I wouldn’t go in and buy anything no matter how hungry or thirsty I was. Instead of seeking out a way to make the public (that same public that will bring him success), comfortable or feel welcome, he treats them with disdain and contempt.

I guarantee his business would boom if he had something like this:

Studies have proven time and again in all urban planning models that if the public has an option for a third place or sometimes referred to as “third space” (coffee shops are third spaces for examples) or the commons, to simply sit while they wait for a bus or just a place to sit outdoors or even in a temporarily sheltered space, there is less violence, less aggravation and less criminal activity.  Adversely, when areas are neglected and no commons or third spaces are built out and business owners have a “Keep Out” attitude toward the public at large, it actually perpetuates and causes more crime.

Hostility toward public transit riders or bike riders is perplexing to us. People who choose to ride their bikes to go to and fro and people who choose to take public transportation have an easier outlook about the world because they are in the world. Bike riders are generally just happier people in general because they are exercising their bodies which gives their brains the dopamine hits to make them feel better in general. When serotonin levels rise, life is good. Public transit riders pile onto the bus and can relax in their technology for some time after a stressful day at work. Conversation on public transit (especially in Pittsburgh) keeps people engaged with one another and trust factors strengthen when engaging in polite conversation.

This would describe a singular public transit moment that will give you the warm fuzzies. The other day Julie was riding the bus and two West Pittsburgh little girls were sitting behind her singing “The Wheels On the Bus Go Round and Round” and emphasizing the lyrics “The bus driver says ‘move on back! Move on back! Move on BACK!'” These girls get it and they are the future, and only the transit riding public can identify wth the weighty effect of this particular lyric. The modern public transit riding child knows that if he or she is in distress or lost, they know that a bus driver will help them and get them to safety. It’s a well known fact that children trust bus drivers more than the police these days. It’s because they associate a city bus driver with taking them on fun outings and places they want to go.

Hostile architecture and hostile design needs to be a thing of the past as society continues to progress. Bureaucratic in-fighting, greed and a lack of understanding of modern development models are what’s keeping certain areas from advancing, and they are being emptied of potential tax paying citizens at dizzying rates to the detriment of these areas that have already suffered from a collapsed economy due to circumstances outside of their control. NAFTA, for instance. Labor, in the form of good paying jobs for locals, was shipped overseas thus decimating the economy in this country in the 1990’s. Rising inequality is a modern problem that contributes as well. Jeff Bezos for instance, CEO of Amazon and owner of the Washington Post newspaper (he is the wealthiest man in the world) basically doesn’t pay taxes, which means his wealth goes back up to his holdings instead of to a tiny portion  to the economy at large. Large corporations in our area of West Pittsburgh do the same. PepsiCo for instance, has a plant very near where we live, but they’ve done nothing to beautify or improve the local economy or the local infrastructure. These selfish attitudes of the captains of capitalism do not reflect the former philanthropic attitudes of the great barons of industry from Pittsburgh’s yesteryear: Carnegie for instance was known for being an advocate of the Commons, or Third Space and there’s evidence of it all throughout Allegheny County.

A United Nations survey has rated America as that of a third world country.  Third world countries are rampant with disease, starvation, lack of clean water and lack of education and hostile architecture. Third world countries have a handful of people that have hoarded all the wealth while the entire population lives in the dirt, struggling to survive. This is greed run amok, and it’s difficult for Americans to realize that this is actually where we are now. We have traveled to other countries. When Europeans or New Zealanders or Asians look at us, they look at us with pity when they realize we are Americans. It is the same look our friends gave us when we told them we were leaving our home of 35 years and moving to Pittsburgh, PA.

Hostile architecture and hostile design not only criminalize the poor, or those who smartly use an efficient public transportation system to get them where they need to go. It also causes poverty and kills any potential for business growth in a community. Case in point: We can’t tell you how many times we have on-boarded our local bus in West Pittsburgh, to head downtown when we have heard multiple locals say on their cell phones (Pittsburghers are very loud and chatty. On a city bus in San Francisco you can hear a pin drop) “I’m just a few minutes away. I’ll see you at..” And they name whatever local restaurant, or cafe or bar is in downtown Pittsburgh. What they are subconsciously doing is reacting to the hostility they feel from the local business owners and avoiding that hostility altogether. They whizz by on the local bus and go somewhere else to socialize, eat and enjoy life and ultimately spend their money. Then the local delis, markets, bars, cafes and eating establishments wonder why their business isn’t more successful. In San Francisco, you will see hanging in the windows of all establishments, “All Are Welcome.  And We Mean Everyone.” We think we may have seen one of those signs in Pittsburgh, PA.

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But, there is small improvements here and there. For instance, we were delighted to find a public parklet in downtown Pittsburgh.

Leave it to the woke generation to educate us on hostile architecture. For instance, 99percentinvisible.org covered a story about an activist who began placing these stickers over hostile architecture to inform and educate the public at large about hostile design and hostile architecture.

Lack of appropriate infrastructure that puts the most responsible citizen (the bike rider) at risk, is also an example of hostile architecture. A bike entrance to Golden Gate Park didn’t have the appropriate posts up to signal to cars that there is a bike lane. We all know that drivers live insular, individualistic lives and once they slide into the seat of their multi-ton steel capsule, the last thing they think about is the world around them. Drivers treat their cars like their living rooms and unless there is obvious, visible infrastructure in place like posts or signs or painted walkways, they will feel it’s their obligation to use their steel capsule to murder or maim anyone in their way.

Therefore, a group of comrades in San Francisco who go by https://sfmtra.org took it upon themselves to install posts at this particular entrance that the lazy eyed driver kept wandering into.

Because drivers are prone to attention deficit disorder, and orange pylon cones won’t even keep them from parking their vehicles into bike lanes, a group of patient cyclists added an extra eye-catching effect in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. They placed potted flowers in the buffer zone between the road and the bike lanes, preventing the cars from parking there. To some, this direct action of protecting cyclists might be considered “hostile design.” But, really? In this case it’s simply a response to ingrained driver hostility that causes ignorant, dangerous outcomes to innocent people.

Local millennial-aged business owners in West Pittsburgh have gone to great lengths to push back against hostile architecture or hostile design.

Sara Eve of PMA Tattoo has added extra touches of kindness to her studio. On Broadway, this beautiful studio has a welcoming aroma of essential oils the moment you walk in the door. A bounty of plants that sit in the floor-to-ceiling windows and a comfortable couch to sit on while you browse through tattoo designs makes you forget you are in a tattoo studio. There is nothing hostile at all about this place.

Broadway Brunch, also on Broadway Avenue, is brightly lit, with eclectic kitsch and basic down home hearty food options. The proprietor, RJ, was one of the first people Julie met when we moved here and he immediately offered her a free breakfast coupon. He has the trademark Pittsburgh gruffness but always cracks it with a big smile. We watched RJ handle the bureaucratic red tape of getting his hand painted sign up on the building with such good natured ease, that when it was finally up, we literally cheered.

Speaking of bureaucratic red tape, Ashley, the owner of Black Forge Coffee House went through hell and back, twice, to get her coffee shop up and running and never once called it quits. Her infectious laugh and devilishly good coffee drinks keep bringing us back. Believe it or not, when drinking a meticulously made Hellhound while listening to the softly pumped heavy metal in the background, you won’t feel any hostility at all coming from this place.

There are many more examples of local businesses in our neighborhood pushing out the hostile design model, and developing that modern, welcoming atmosphere that lights up all successful cities across the world but we wanted to highlight these three.

And the warmer months have opened up public spaces in various neighborhoods throughout Pittsburgh where there is free music, food festivals and art walks. These are the things that bring the community out to discuss ideas and break barriers.

Hostile architecture and design can come in many forms, not just outwardly physical forms. It can often come across how staff treats its customer base.  More and more businesses are offering training to their staff in areas of customer appreciation or customer service. In the year we’ve lived here we’ve noticed a marked improvement in certain establishments in Pittsburgh. We noticed a trend when we first moved here that seems to be going away: some servers or baristas at food establishments (not in the West Pittsburgh area where we live) seemed unable to handle long lines of customers and would become easily irate and frazzled when three or more customers were waiting in line. Given we had just moved from one of the most touristed cities in the world where long lines are a way of life we found this strange and off-putting. But, we’ve noticed much improvement since then.

Modernization is coming in all forms and it is coming fast. When people feel the area they live isn’t modernizing fast enough or they still feel the glimpse of hostile design in the infrastructure, or that blight isn’t being addressed, they leave it to find more welcoming neighborhoods or cities that are making the efforts to beautify, offer comfort in everything from bus shelters to public parks.

Eradicating hostile architecture of course offers an opportunity for economic improvement in a neighborhood, but most importantly it starts from within.

To support our work and gain access to more content like this please support our Patreon page:  www.patreon.com/bookofours

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greta Sails Teaser 2

One week ago, on August 20, 2019 we launched our Book of Ours Patreon Page.

Our first video for the Patreon Page is Greta Sails.

We offered our first Greta Sails teaser video with the hopes that you would come on over to our Patreon Page and sign up to be a patron.

It has been one week and we are still seeking patrons so we’ve decided to release Greta Sails Teaser 2 as Tory tells you of just one billionaire who is traveling with Greta Thunberg as she sails the ocean blue to campaign against climate change and air travel.

Please become a patron for just $2.00 per month on our Book of Ours Patreon Page

We want to continue to create more poignant content but we can’t do it without you.

Schenley Park Steeped In Socialism

By Julie Collins

On Saturday JP and Julie decided to trek into Schenley Park, a wooded park area expanding hundreds of acres in Pittsburgh, PA. Our expectations were low, as we learned very quickly after moving here that Pittsburgh doesn’t even come close to the budget that San Francisco has to put toward beautification projects. But, we wanted to walk among the trees, take pictures and get a feel for the terrain.

Named for Mary Schenley, the estranged daughter (and only child) of widower William Croghan, Jr., the park did not disappoint. The history of the park itself is indeed scandalous. Young Mary Elizabeth Croghan was an heiress to the Croghan fortune, but at the tender age of 15, escaped from her Long Island Boarding School and married the headmistresses’ brother in law, 43-year-old Captain Edward Schenley! Needless to say, the scandal brought the Croghan family much shame and young Mary was disinherited.

But as time went on and Mary bore William Croghan, Jr. many grand-children, he forgave his daughter’s impetuous indiscretion and built a stunning homage to her in the form of Schenley Park.

 

 

Would you like to read more?  Visit our Patreon page! There are many beautiful pictures we took and a lovely narrative about the importance of socialism in modern society.  Please become a patron of Book of Ours for just $2.00/month!

 

Thank you,

Julie and JP

https://www.patreon.com/bookofours/posts