(Adapted from a recent Facebook rant about this essay.)
San Francisco in 1992, when I moved there, was a deeply dysfunctional city. San Francisco in 2015, ten years after I departed, is still a deeply dysfunctional city, albeit in a very different way. I personally found the (early) 1990s dysfunction much more entertaining and inclusive than the current very expensive and corporate version. That’s probably because “pot truffles and hashish ginger snaps”, $4000/month studios, and hand-forged artisanal turnips from Bernal Heights are not really my thing.
While the author of seems only to remember the “sadness” that enveloped the Castro in the 1990s, the gay San Francisco I moved to in 1992 was actually a pretty happy place, one that was finally emerging from the darkness and paranoia of the 1980s and beginning to enjoy itself again.
I get that the author is trying to put a positive spin on change and question people’s assumptions about “the good old days” and how they were always “better” but the problem with this essay is that it mostly cites examples that say more about how much more sanitized and pretentious and wealthy the city has become in the past twenty years than about how much “better” it is. It may be a better place for many people, but not for me…not based on this essay, anyway.
I lived in San Francisco long enough that I’m allowed to have an opinion, but I’ve been gone long enough that no one has to pay any attention to it.