I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

Google that, mister!


“They are young and wealthy and they say they are interested in culture too. So of course these days they live in San Francisco. But the IT companies for which they work are not our friends and their culture is not our culture. And yet our data belongs to them. They are in the process of becoming a completely uncontrollable power. That must be stopped.”

So Rebecca Solnit in a front-page of review piece in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung’s Feuilleton (review) section on Friday (July 5th). The piece originally appeared on the American website Tomdispatch.com. Here is a short extract on what the IT companies of Silicon Valley are doing to the city of San Francisco:

A New York venture capitalist wrote that Google is trying to take over “the entire fucking Internet” and asked the question of the day: “Who will stop Google?” We ask that question all the time in San Francisco, because here Google isn’t just on our computers, it’s on our streets. I wrote earlier this year about “the Google bus” ‑ the armadas of private Wi-Fi-equipped luxury buses that run through our streets and use our public bus stops, often blocking city buses and public transit passengers while they load or unload the employees taking the long ride down the peninsula to their corporation of choice. Google, Apple, Facebook, and Genentech run some of the bigger fleets, and those mostly unmarked white buses have become a symbol of the transformation of the city.
Carl Nolte, the old native son who writes a column for the (dying) San Francisco Chronicle, said this month of the future inhabitants of 22,000 high-priced apartments under construction, “These new apartment dwellers will all be new San Franciscans, with different values. In a couple of years we’ll think of the progressive politicians, circa 2012, as quaint antiques, like the old waterfront Commies your grandfather used to worry about. This is already a high-tech city, an expensive city, a city where middle-class families can’t afford to live. It is a city where the African American population has dropped precipitously, where the Latino Mission District is gentrifying more every day. You think it’s expensive here now? Just you wait. These are the good old days, but it won’t last. We are at a tipping point.”