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Can Austin Or Portland Replace San Francisco?

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While I am the first person to scream San Francisco is dead, I’m also the first person to admit I’m a fucking idiot and I am absolutely an idiot. Will San Francisco ever live up to its own standards or our collective nostalgia? Probably not, but San Francisco is unique in ways other cities will never be.

It isn’t uncommon to hear that Austin, Texas is taking the techies and Portland is taking the artists, but can either city truly compete with San Francisco?

Fuck no.

You know what isn’t good? Actually existing in Texas.

Let’s start with Austin. Austin is in Texas. It is known as a bubble of progressive politics in a state known for essentially being the Republican equivalent to California. I do see some novelty to that. Progressives in California bicker over a ton of trivial bullshit, but in Texas, you do have a legitimate opponent, and that I can see leftists being unified there in ways that makes them put surface level differences aside. That’s good. You know what isn’t good? Actually existing in Texas.

Most of Texas is flat, ugly and the weather there is disgusting. Summers in Texas will make you feel as if you’re trapped under someone’s sweaty ballsack as they’re going on a hike in a desert. Do you wanna live under someone’s balls as they run through the sundrenched streets of Phoenix, Arizona? No? Then you don’t wanna be in Texas during summer. It’s hot as balls. Elon won’t be the only musk you have to worry about.

Outside of Austin, Texas doesn’t have much else going. You have Houston which makes the sprawl of Los Angeles or Sacramento seem manageable. You also have San Antonio, Dallas and El Paso, but who gives a fuck? What are you? A cowboys fan? In this economy? Eww.

In popular culture Portland is portrayed in a similar way as San Francisco. Except Portland is not San Francisco, even if it wishes it was.

Now let’s get onto Portland, Oregon. Portland pretty much functions as a refugee camp for the Bay Area’s art scene, and for anyone else who thinks they’re too quirky for their small town. There are good things about Portland. The art scene is genuinely thriving there and I don’t see displacement anywhere near to what we have in the Bay. There’s also a lot of nature to explore if the urban lifestyle of Portland gets tiring. In popular culture Portland is portrayed in a similar way as San Francisco. Except Portland is not San Francisco, even if it wishes it was.

The first thing you notice when you head to Portland is the utter lack of diversity. I know the Bay has gentrified, but Portland makes Walnut Creek look like a cafeteria at the UN. Portland is so exclusively white that it would make Marin County blush. I’m saying this as a white guy, it was fucking weird.I was in downtown Portland and I felt like I walked into a funhouse mirror, but the only clothing people had access to was supplied by the clearance rack at Spencer’s gifts in 2006. There’s also white people with dreads there. Like a lot, but we’re like 50 miles from the ocean, so who the fuck do they think they are? If you’re going to be a trustfundafarian, at least be covered in seagull poop and ocean fog to visually obscure your shitty hair style. The fucking audacity.

The worst thing about San Francisco is that it’s great, and it knows it’s great.

The worst thing about San Francisco is that it’s great, and it knows it’s great. Is San Francisco dystopian as fuck? Yes. Are a lot SF residents, especially in the higher income brackets faux-woke nimbys who need to shut the fuck up? Yes. Is San Francisco’s natural beauty the greatest argument for God’s existence on the natural earth? Also yes.

San Francisco barely functions as a city, but it doesn’t need to. It’s a living, breathing painting. It’s not a place to live, it’s a place to behold. Until you can’t hold it anymore, so you settle on a cheap knockoff like an Austin or a Portland, and you pretend it’s better or at least as good as San Francisco, but it’s not.

And that’s what sucks about it the most.

It’s irreplaceable.

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Abraham Woodliff - Bay Area Memelord

Abraham Woodliff - Bay Area Memelord

Abraham Woodliff is a San Francisco-based writer, editor and digital content creator known for Bay Area Memes, a local meme page that has amassed nearly 200k followers. His work has appeared in SFGATE, The Bold Italic and of course, BrokeAssStuart.com. His book of short stories, personal essays and poetry entitled Don't Drown on Dry Ground will be available early 2022.

4 Comments

  1. January 25, 2022 at 12:23 pm — Reply

    Elon Musk represents the quintessential tech “disruptor” who came to SF, raised prices on everything as he was given taxpayer money (remember that fast train he never made?), and then declared SF “over”… so he moved to Austin.

    Complain about SF if you like, but you’d better do so after doing your part to actively improve things. This city exists on its own, not to be your personal playground that you abandon after it’s full of the mess that you left behind.

  2. Cadence
    January 28, 2022 at 1:13 pm — Reply

    I would instead ask: Will the tech destroy Austin, like they did with SF? The people that gave SF its changed have mostly been displaced a long time ago. People that doesn’t have their face engaged with their phone, people that talk to strangers, people that have anything mango to say that isn’t just regurgitated crap… Those are long gone.

  3. Cadence
    April 28, 2022 at 9:25 pm — Reply

    Good question! But what is there to replace in SF? The city’s lost it’s charm when the tech screwedit up a long time ago.

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