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How A Viral Tiktok Got Me Interviewed By The SF Chronicle

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Screenshot of my TikTok video.

Despite the antics of my meme page, I try to live a quiet and relatively simple life. I work from home. I hang out with my girlfriend. I make sassy memes and write sassier articles. I Doordash food and then immediately promise myself that I won’t Doordash food again, but then I do it again and watch my waistline expand. The internet has made life a comfortable and customizable hellscape of self indulgence, shitpositing and depression. However, the last few days have been anything but quiet. I have been going through some sort of San Francisco resident rite of passage that I never signed up for, but I’m here, so fuck it.

I just wanna write novels and poems, but you guys want me to talk about hypodermic needles and feces. Blame yourselves.

It started off like any other day. I woke up groggy as fuck then I slammed a bunch of coffee and got that caffeine mania where you feel like you could conquer the world for about two hours before the crash sets it. During the peak of my caffeine mania, I was scrolling through local news stories and saw an article with the headline “Salesforce gives up another big chunk of office space, one more blow to downtown S.F.”  by SF Chronicle journalist, Roland Li. I thought to myself that this is content. I could do something with this. And I did. I screenshotted the headline and went on an unhinged rant. That unhinged rant now sits at a quarter of a million views within three days between Instagram and TikTok. It’s not my fault that the internet has an appetite for anger. It’s collectively your fault. I just wanna write novels and poems, but you guys want me to talk about hypodermic needles and feces. Blame yourselves.

In the video I state a bunch of things that are essentially self evident. San Francisco doesn’t really give a fuck about us. Us being pretty much anyone that isn’t obscenely wealthy. I say San Francisco sold out people born and raised here, as well as artists and the LGBT community for a ton of tech money. These are things I truly believe.

Benioff’s eye in the sky.

After posting the video, I began my normal day. I started work and slowly but surely, the day got a little more interesting. During a short break from work, I noticed the author of the article I had screenshot, Roland Li, in my comment section. As a favor I pinned his comment so it gets the proper attention it deserves. I empathize with the struggle for content engagement as someone who has built a large online follower, I know how hard it can be.

The problem is, I never said anything about Salesforce or Marc Bennioff at all. I was speaking in a general sense about tech leaving the city.

I noticed Roland’s comments. The way he was speaking made it as if I had said Salesforce was leaving the city. Which I never said. The only time I said the name Salesforce at any point in the video was when I read the headline. He then went on to talk about how Marc Benioff had funded Prop C, a ballot measure to tax companies in San Francisco more to provide homelessness services. The problem is, I never said anything about Salesforce or Marc Bennioff at all, other than read the headline. I was speaking in a general sense about tech leaving the city.

Watch the video HERE

Here’s a list of some big name companies that have left or significantly downsized their presence in San Francisco: Airbnb, Ancestry.com, Eventbrite, Oracle, Paypal, Pinterest, Salesforce (LOL), Slack, Trulia, Twitter and others. Read the full list here.

So…even in the case of Salesforce…I was at least partially right.

I initially wasn’t going to respond to the author’s comments because I tend to get passionate about this subject. However,  a ton of people who think I’m an arrogant prick were celebrating SF Chronicle’s sick ass gotcha…my ego wouldn’t allow it. I stated that I never said Salesforce was leaving and that his comments about Benioff amounted to simping for a billionaire.

Roland and I began messaging and we exchanged numbers. After I got off work, he and I spoke for two hours in a conversation I didn’t initially know was an interview, but I figured it out later because he was asking me interview questions. The conversation was fun. He and I made jokes, talked politics, and generally got along. I asked him to mention my book in the article. He didn’t.

A day later the article came out. You can read it here.

I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either. Some of the things I said weren’t presented in full context. Or reiterated the false narrative that I said Salesforce was leaving the city. I never said Salesforce was leaving the city. AT ALL. To be fair, he never said I said Salesforce was leaving, but he presents a defense as if I did.

Marc Benioff also has given to Republicans, you know the party that cuts taxes for guys like Marc and takes away women’s rights? They call him the “Woke CEO”

“But Woodliff didn’t read the story he’s responding to, which reports that Salesforce isn’t leaving the city, just shrinking its office space in a building that it owns. Salesforce co-CEO Marc Benioff is a fourth generation native San Franciscan and donates millions annually to support local schools and homelessness assistance efforts. Salesforce hasn’t received local tax breaks and Benioff and Salesforce spent $8 million in 2018 to support a ballot measure that raised taxes on large employers, including themselves, to fund homelessness services. (Hearst, owner of The Chronicle, also saw a tax increase.) Salesforce didn’t have immediate comment when contacted Friday. ”

Marc Benioff also has given to Republicans, you know the party that cuts taxes for guys like Marc and takes away women’s rights? They call him the “Woke CEO” Anyways…

What particularly bothered me was that it sounds like it came directly out of a PR firm representing Marc Benioff. Also does being born in San Francisco mean you’re from San Francisco? Dude graduated high school in Burlingame. He was raised in Hillsborough. Mac Dre was born in Oakland. Is he from Oakland? No. San Francisco native my fucking ass. Hillsborough is 20 miles away. When I lived in Vallejo or Martinez which are both 30 miles from San Francisco, I was regularly told I was far out, but I guess if I was Marc Benioff my mere presence would expand San Francisco’s city limits. Fuck outta here.

Something I liked about the article was that the author acknowledged my gripes as genuine. He did a good job of presenting my experience and the ultimate goal of my posts.

Another thing I disliked is how he didn’t specify what I meant by housing for the homeless. I want PERMANENT housing for the homeless. No strings attached. If they want to get clean, they’ll have the support they need. If they get high, they still have a roof over their heads. If housing is provided, and they refuse to take it, then yes, I think they should be arrested. Because jail is better than sleeping outside. I lived in a homeless shelter with my mom as a child. It sucked, but outside sucked more. I’ve been arrested when I was in my late teens for fighting like an idiot, it sucked. Sleeping outside sucks more. I had to sleep outside for a night when I was a kid. It was traumatic. I would’ve rather been in jail. But I guess that’s just me.

“He wants the city to mandate that all homeless people are provided health and support services and apartments, where they are allowed to do drugs. If they refuse to accept shelter, Woodliff thinks they should be arrested. Letting people die on the street is a far worse approach, he said. However, a similar city program to house the homeless saw 166 residents die from overdoses and many residents ended up back on the street, a Chronicle investigation found.

San Francisco DID NOT provide permanent housing. They paid residential hotels to let them live inside. Also the mention of the 166 deaths in my opinion, felt like a strawman argument. They didn’t die because housing isn’t a solution. They died because they did fucking drugs. They also ended up back on the street because the housing WASN’T PERMANENT. You don’t become immortal just because you have a roof over your head.

He’s my favorite writer at the SalesForce Chronicle. Love the guy.

The last part of the article was funny. I liked the joke he made at my expense about how I don’t read the articles that I react to, but he referred to my video as “the Salesforce Video” I only mentioned Salesforce in the context of reading the headline in the video. Maybe he doesn’t research what he writes articles about. Who knows?

Roland Li at Dolores Park with me

Despite all the craziness, I hung out with Roland in person for hours and squashed all possible beef in the most gentrified way possible: with White Claws at Dolores Park. We also talked about video games, politics and life.  He even bought me a burrito in the Mission. He’s my favorite writer at the SalesForce Chronicle. Love the guy.

Now let’s end this article with 3 fun facts about Marc Benioff:

#1. He donated to Paul Ryan.

#2. He’s a San Francisco native that grew up 20 miles from San Francisco.

#3. The Salesforce Tower doesn’t at all look like a penis. He never intended for it to look like a penis, especially not his.

FOLLOW MY WRITING ON INSTAGRAM HERE

FOLLOW BAY AREA MEMES ON FACEBOOK HERE

FOLLOW BAY AREA MEMES ON INSTAGRAM HERE

PURCHASE MY BOOK HERE

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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.

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