Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dallas Sewer Rats


I once joked that the only things that could live in downtown Dallas were rats, pigeons, and cockroaches. It didn't say much for their human neighbors, of which I became one...and paid much higher rent than I have anywhere else in the City. But more on that in a moment.

It turns out the City's real sewer rats mostly only find their light of day in comments sections of the nearest thing to a pure democracy, the web, making a strong case for the Hamiltonian Federalists of time immemorial. And as a Jeffersonian myself, it kills me to say that.

So in the extremely harmless, limited article about me in the Dallas Morning News turns up this comment*:
Non-conformist nut cases like these need a full cranial exam. Grow up, get a job, and drop this frivolous sustainability fad while you are still young.
*Acknowledgement - If it was done ironically it is brilliant.

Since I have no other avenue or recourse and refuse to ignore blatant ignorance this may not jive with the Southern passive aggression-passing-as-hospitality for which too many have preyed upon and you may be used to, but that isn't the way I was raised. I learned long ago to call out ignorance.

I believe in shining the flashlight on the rats because only fungus thrives in the dark anonymity of the internet. Or similarly, giving them a wider audience in which to make themselves a fool. Here is your audience, anonymous one. You're famous. And cast aside. No one cares. But, we should all live exactly like you right? How very Texan of you.

I could talk about studying overseas or being on the fast track at an international corporation. But that is the past. Or currently having quit said architecture firm to focus on local DFW issues, own my own company, and generate multiple revenue streams because I foresaw the end of the 20th century economy to which you cling.

But this isn't about me. This is about you. You, anonymous internet person. You represent the City. You have earned it. You represent the City of Fear. The one behind the locked doors, behind the gated community, afraid of "the other," xenophobe.

You are everything that holds this City back. Nothing inhibits the search engine of progress like ignorance and intolerance. And lucky for us, those that want this City to succeed, you are dying.

You are a coward, Linus. The kind of person who requires the comforting blanky of the status quo. Knowing you are not different, seeking the acceptance of others. But what is different is changing every day. And it is changing without you Sisyphus.

You are the same guy who yells "get a car, faggot" at cyclists and drives away comfortably knowing everybody else, just like you is in a car and a comfortable distance away to ensure your anonymity and self-assured cowardice. And no I won't censor myself. You said it, anonymous ignorant fool. Why should I help to hide you?

So lithely you reach deep into your quiver of cleverness and utilize your one and only tool to perpetuate ignorance as you fearfully watch others surpass you. Afraid of the changing world, you denigrate those that dare live as they choose. Shun them. Please tell me if you are Atlas and can stop the world from spinning. That would be truly newsworthy.

I moved here because I saw opportunity. I saw a City falsely built and doomed to impending rapid change with little leadership, understanding, or direction. I saw a City built by and for people like you. And yes, I want to capitalize on that. I want to make a career of building a better place. How dare I. How very communist of me.

As for the "fad" of sustainability, how about we let the market decide, no? Moneyed investors pay me money and follow my ideas for reducing the cost of inputs and increased the value of outputs in the economic equation and how that relates to cities. Surely that idea sounds ephemeral if only contradicted by the perpetuation of deep and thorough understanding of cities.

If there is any meaning in life, it is the desire to be eternal. Through body impossible, positive ideas can live forever. The tragedy of the Conformity Enforcer mirrors the role you play. You slow progress enough for the dullards to keep up, but then ultimately negativity is pushed aside in favor of problem solving and positivity. You die and accomplished nothing. An ephemeral city is made of ephemeral people.

You are not smart enough to see the future economy. And that is the burden for the rest of us, to drag the ignorant into the future.

Here's your mirror and microphone to begin burying yourself, 20th century City.

If we want to build a great city, we need more of the timeless and less of you.