Posts Tagged ‘thingssanfranciscansdespise’

Things San Franciscans despise: filth

May 7th, 2012

Most visitors would be shocked to learn that San Franciscans hate filth.

Ours is a city that doesn’t want to stay clean, but we try our best. Some cleaning accomplishments we’re especially proud of include:

  • We require restaurants to display a hygiene score card.
  • We have a number to call for park and sidewalk cleaning.
  • We heavily fine anyone who dares block our street cleaning vehicles’ precise schedule.

Yes, we live in moldy old buildings. Yes, the entire city often smells terrible. And yes, that’s human urine on your car door. Sorry, I should have told you not to park here.

Tourists don’t recognize our little obsession with cleanliness because we often focus on minor details, ignoring larger issues that are politically unpalatable to address head-on.

The poster child for our cleanliness obsession reaching a disorder level is Bart. Despite drug deals and human excrement problems in certain stations, Bart focuses on appeasing germaphobes who demand free hand sanitizer and inorganic germ-resistant vinyl seats.

This isn’t to say San Franciscans are trying to scrub away our hippie image; we’re just washing our organic heirloom tomatoes with soap these days.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go confirm that the overflowing trash can I reported to 311 was emptied.


Original photo by gruntso.

Things San Franciscans despise: sidewalk advertising

February 12th, 2011


San Francisco is a city of people who are indecisive and disagreeable. We even manage to disagree about really basic things, to the point where basic issues like panhandling and slow public transportation go unsolved for decades.

But when corporations use litter and graffiti as a form of advertising, San Franciscans have a rare moment of clarity and unity. The same way we’re against fighting for oil in the middle east, we’re willing to hold protests and call in the national guard over advertising agencies stenciling our sidewalks.

We didn’t stand for Levi’s or Microsoft spray-painting our sidewalks. Today, we won’t stand for HP littering the city either. They’ve put QR code posters up on the sidewalks and on street poles all over the Mission.

(Side note: did you know that HP stands for “Horrible Printer”? Now you know.)

Why are San Franciscans against sidewalk advertising? Well, first of all, public space is for the people, not for corporations. A coffee stand at the park? NO! A taco truck on the street outside Best Buy? NO! Oh wait a sec, those tacos are delicious. You know what? Never mind. We’ll discuss this later… OM NOM NOM.

Second, corporate advertising on public property offends our artistic sensibilities. Public art is fine with San Franciscans, and even though we can’t agree on whether or not graffiti is art, we can agree that corporate graffiti is NOT art. Art isn’t supposed to be an expression of greed unless you’re really ironic about it, like Andy Warhol or the guy who makes OBEY merchandise.

Now, every rule as its exceptions, and I found one down the street from the offensive HP sidewalk pollution.


I think it’s safe to say that a handmade flier taped to the sidewalk advertising a party at El Rio is an exception to our “no sidewalk advertising” rule. Because, well, we make exceptions for things we enjoy — like tacos.