MonthNovember 2014

Mutation Vectors: East Bound But Not Yet Down Edition

Portland-Map

Portland neighborhood map from Home Team Portland

Status Update

We’ve been house hunting. As in, to buy a house.

Nothing quite lays class warfare bare like house hunting. It makes you aware of both your own privilege and knee-jerk prejudices, but also your place in the hierarchy of things as you find out just house much houses in certain parts of town cost — and how much money you actually need to make to live there. (Houses in the Alberta district are going for half a million dollars — who has that kind of money?)

It also makes more clear the less obvious, to me anyway, reasons that certain housing trends perpetuate themselves. For example: in general, buyers of single family homes don’t want to live near renters, or multi-family housing units. Affordable housing buildings are right out. You might not mind living next to an apartment building, but if you lose your job and have to sell your house, will you be able to sell it? Even if you find someone who doesn’t mind living next to an apartment either, that person has to also consider selling it further down the line. Even if you don’t mind living next to an apartment building, and you have a dozen people interested in the house interested in buying your house and also don’t mind, they might still pass on it, worried that if they have to sell it down the line, they won’t be able to find someone who doesn’t mind living next to an apartment building.

So other people’s prejudices and preferences end up influencing your own behavior, reinforcing development patterns in place for decades. Weird stuff.

Anyway, we’re probably gonna land in East Portland (the area east of 82nd ave). I’ve been obsessed with this part of town for a while now, even before I thought we’d end up buying a house there.

I could read stuff about East Portland all day, but here are a few starters:

If you really want to go deep, The Oregonian has an ongoing series on the area. And a couple years ago they did a series on how the Portland area’s subsidized housing has been clustered mostly in East Portland, instead of being distributed throughout the city — even though such clustering is against state law.

The place we’re likely to end up living is quite nice. It has paved roads and sidewalks and grocery stores and access to public transit. But I get worked up thinking about how badly other parts of East Portland got shafted.

Browsing

  • Adrian Chen argues that despite the hype, Anonymous hasn’t been particularly effective politically:

    Despite its anointing by Coleman, Anonymous is not a vanguard; it’s the relic of an already twice-failed dream. Anonymous is the latest and most dysfunctional marriage between a particular strain of countercultural utopianism and the boundless faith in technology that first appeared in the 1960s. Fred Turner, in From Counterculture to Cyberculture, traces the evolution of what he calls the New Communalism into contemporary techno-optimism. In the 1960s, the New Communalists became convinced that traditional political action wasn’t working. They attempted to create utopian communes removed from society in order to practice the “politics of consciousness.” The commune movement collapsed, but by the 1980s some of its most prominent adherents had seized on the burgeoning Internet. These idealistic geeks conceptualized the Internet as an “electronic frontier” on which they could create virtual communities that lived up to the ideals of nonhierarchy and total personal freedom and fulfillment they’d tried to implement in the real world. In this new formulation, information technology replaced agriculture and ecology as the tools that would liberate us from corrupt society. The Internet became, as Turner writes, “an idealized political sphere…in which authority was distributed, hierarchies were leveled, and citizens were linked by invisible energies.”

  • Christopher T. Fan examines the way the nerd identity has been racialized, and hits on a few other points as well:

    The conflation of whites and Asians uses diversity to dramatize a crisis of diversity. When we hear repeated that Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn are 91 percent white and Asian, be warned that Asians are being used as human shields. When it comes to leadership positions, there is no “white and Asian” problem. There, it’s a “white and male” problem. Where Asians are overrepresented is in “tech” positions. Whites lead, Asians code. Solnit has been absolutely correct in her insistence on the parallel between Silicon Valley and the Gold Rush era. Then, as now, California profits off coolie labor.

  • Paul Ford delivers an ode to retro computing

Listening

Mutation Vectors: Accelerated Brand Engagement Edition

schwa

Browsing

Everyone likes to live in a media bubble, but conservatives even more so. The media bubble that more and more people are choosing, however, is the one created by their favorite brands. That’s right, ‘“content marketing” is eating both journalism and paid advertising. (See also: Amway journalism)

BTW, if you love engaging with brands, then you’ll love Schwa.

Elsewhere, People are still talking about neoreaction. Meanwhile, #healthgoths and net art people are talking about accelerationism. (Thanks to Jay Owens for those last two. She follows this stuff pretty closely.)

My most interesting find of the week came today, though I doubt many others will be interested: East Portland Historical Overview & Historic Preservation Study.

Last week my computer told me that my cat doesn’t love me. Now it says that that my cat thinks I’m a giant unpredictable ape — which is true — but does indeed care about me. I’ll keep you updated, via your computer, what my computer tells me about my cats’ emotions.

Reading

The Peripheral by Wlliam Gibson

The new Great Dismal book, The Peripheral.

Watching

Friday I started rewatching True Detective season one. Tried watching The Strain over the past couple weeks, but ran out of fucks to give it midway through. But Boardwalk Empire just finished its last season ever, so it’s time to watch that.

Listening

Joy Division, like a good miserablist.

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