TEA & TWO SLICES: On Picking The Wrong Horse & The Gentrification Of Middle Earth

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by Sean Orr | The hubris of the (soon to be) defeated: Confused B.C. Premier writes down two names on voting slip. This goes beyond mere innocent buffoonery.
Like George H. Bush seeing a scanning gun at a supermarket for the first time, her naivety illuminates the contempt that elites show for everyday life, the same contempt that made her run a red light.

Convenient amnesia: “Who stands for protecting and growing the economy? I do. Adrian Dix and the NDP plan to blow up our economy”. In 2008, the Liberals presented an election budget that later turned out to be $1.2 billion out of whack. Their expansion of the Convention Centre was three-times over budget. The new BC Place roof was 5 times over budget. Since 2001, the Liberals have increased the individual debt of every man, woman and child in this province from about $8,000 to $40,000 (source). For 8 years in a row, BC led Canada in child poverty. They bankrupted Translink. They spent $16 million of your own money on pre-election advertising and spent $11 million on the Times of India Awards show to court the “ethnic” South Asian vote (source). They gave themselves huge pay raises despite sitting the least number of days in parliament. Yeah, goodbye. And please close the door on your way out.

Lefties are driven by feelings, Righties by ideas and debate. That is so not true and the mere suggestion makes me feel so m…oh, I see what you did there. Clever.

Not even the Communists agree with it: PiDGiN protest attracts notice from Vancouver-Mount Pleasant candidates. Great, but I’m still confused as to why Elections BC groups together Gastown, Chinatown, Strathcona, Hastings-Sunrise, Cedar Cottage, and Mount Pleasant. I’m so sick of voting for Jenny Kwan. All Hans on deck?

We are not New York and never will be: Gentrification in “My Brooklyn” and the Downtown Eastside. I will just respond with this.

Business as usual: Another round of evictions. Wherein the same economic processes that forced Biotheque Cosmetics and Au Petit Chavignol to close are re-named “gentrification” for others.

Meanwhile The Red Gates move in to – yup, you guessed it – 800 East Hastings. How can you be victims and agents of gentrification at the same time? Moral relativism and the dichotomy of capital, that’s how.

Meanwhile, the Hush magazine seem to think it’s as simple as an increase in population: It’s not Gentrification. It’s Mathematics. Nope, not even close. It’s gentrification. Even I know that. It’s just that the DTES was a commercial district that was abandoned by big businesses and is now being filled up with small ones. The word gentrification is so vague that it refuses to differentiate between what is responsible and irresponsible.

Tweet of the Day c/o Cameron Reed:

The gentrification of Middle Earth: Hobbit House for sale. I saw someone share this on Twitter calling for Mayor Gregor to step in and save this 2.65 million dollar beloved piece of our heritage eyesore. Please Mr. Robertson, do something to stop the displacement of our tiny, furry-footed friends! Do it for The Shire and all that we ‘old dear!

There are 3 comments

  1. “Wherein the same economic processes that forced Biotheque Cosmetics and Au Petit Chavignol to close are re-named ‘gentrification’ for others.”

    There’s a pretty obvious difference between businesses shutting down because they aren’t making any money, and social spaces or community groups getting evicted so that their landlords can rent at higher rates to more upscale shops.

    “How can you be victims and agents of gentrification at the same time?”

    Why, it’s almost as if gentrification is a complex and uneven process consisting of multiple stages!

    There’s no contradiction. Artists are the vanguard of gentrification: they move into a neighborhood seeking low rent, making the area safe and attractive for investment, and eventually get forced out once enough money has been drawn in and the rents get high enough. So they can get pushed out of one neighborhood by rising rents (although that’s not exactly what happened to Red Gate), only to move into another low-income neighborhood, perpetuating the same process all over again.

    “The word gentrification is so vague that it refuses to differentiate between what is responsible and irresponsible.”

    To be fair, it’s hard to fit ‘displacement of low-income people and destruction of vulnerable communities to make more space for the affluent, all in the name of higher profits for capital’ on a protest sign.

    I don’t think the word is all that vague, it’s just that (a) gentrification itself is complicated and diffuse — you can’t reduce it to a single eviction or a single restaurant like Pidgin — and (b) different people have conflicting value judgements about different parts of the process. People who think all gentrification sucks and people who think it has its pros and cons are seeing and talking about the same phenomenon, but it’s inevitable that they’ll argue about it.

  2. “I don’t think the word is all that vague, it’s just that (a) gentrification itself is complicated and diffuse — you can’t reduce it to a single eviction or a single restaurant like Pidgin” which is exactly what the protesters have done.