Tuesday, March 16, 2010

In Which I Rant about Muni Diaries

Muni Diaries is a blog I love to hate on, and for the most part, it doesn't let me down. There are very measured and thoughtful posts on there (I'm a fan of Eugenia's posts, for instance) but so much of it reeks of elitism, casual racism, and an utter disregard and contempt for others.

Today's atrocity is this post, which is a seemingly innocuous story of how a midget got on a bus drinking sake out of a paper bag and proceeded to barf on himself. First, ew. I'm not arguing that isn't disgusting, because it is. But second, the narrative offers helpful clues as to the writer's intentions, which details "shady" parts of town like the Western Addition and Mid-Market, and also offers completely unnecessary details like the fact that the drunk midget got on the bus at the Western Addition.

I see no difference in judging the drunk midget who puked on the bus on the 5 Fulton as I do the drunk bimbo who puked outside of Bar None in the Marina. And I'm not saying that "Alison" is racist, because she's clearly not. I just don't see the need, which Muni Diaries is essentially founded on, to constantly point out the "otherness" of population of Muni riders. When we do so, we inherently put a distance between "them" and "us". That attitude, while we might think we are more highly evolved and can see things with a critical eye, doesn't help to make Muni any better, doesn't help to add anything to spirit of San Francisco, and only gives those who already believe otherwise another reason to attack.

To put it mildly, I think Muni Diaries' attempt at just "telling stories" is akin to Sarah Palin not denying that Barack Obama is a Muslim or a terrorist or not an American citizen, or whatever. She doesn't actually say it, but by not denying it, it allows others who want to believe otherwise vindication for believing so. Muni Diaries may think it's a fun blog joking about some of the always-bizarre things that happen on our daily commutes, but it's essentially a verification of many people's worst thoughts about public transportation.

I am a person who is entirely dependent on public transit in San Francisco, and who believes sincerely that Muni is the one service all San Franciscans, users or not, benefit from, and thinks that running a dependable and reliable transit system should be the single most prioritized service that a city should provide.

I generally find Muni Diaries *could* be a nice collaborative blog on the more entertaining and unique experience of riding transit in San Francisco, but is instead a circle jerk love fest of spectacularly like-minded entitled suburban drama queens.