Greater Greater Washington

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Onion: Nation's Gentrified Neighborhoods Threatened By Aristocratization

Hilarious. "If this trend continues, these exclusive, vibrant communities with their sidewalk cafés and faux dive bars will soon be a thing of the past... 'Around here, you used to be able to get a Fair-Trade latte and a chocolate-chip croissant for only eight bucks,' said Getz, who is planning to move back in with his parents after being forced out of the lease on his organic grocery store by a harpsichord purveyor." Via Michćl.
David Alpert is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Greater Greater Washington and Greater Greater Education. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He loves the area which is, in many ways, greater than those others, and wants to see it become even greater. 

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With the publication of this week’s front-page The Onion story covering her Brookings Institution article on “aristocratization,” Her Three Sons caught up with Piedmont REALTOR® Maureen Kennedy to discuss the story, and her reaction to it. See the article at http://www.theonion.com/content/news/report_nations_gentrified .

Wyatt Alt: So exactly what’s your thesis here, Mom?

It’s just the next stage of my moonlighting work on gentrification at the turn of the century—that truly was on the Brookings bestseller list for most of the last eight years. Now, the gentrifiers of six to eight years ago are facing the influx of the monarchy and its accoutrements. It’s like a tidal wave of artisans, slow foodists, and video content providers. After withstanding years of rage from “original residents,” the gentrifiers now are feeling unwanted and politically overwhelmed. It’s the pace of change that’s problematic, not the change itself.

Corey Alt: So give us your reaction to The Onion coverage, Mom.

Well, you guys always tell me that I have no sense of humor, so I guess my only option is to sue.

No, seriously, it brings a lot of attention to this compelling issue of equity. The piece gets the message to a whole new class of people—Oaklandish blog readers, for instance—that the significant economic burdens of aristocratization shouldn’t be borne by those who could bear them seven years ago, but with the declining housing market and the high prices at Whole Foods by the Lake, now can’t. I mean, when you combine rising latte prices, and the closure of the sweatshop on College Avenue to make way for the yogaware shop and Rockridge Home, we’ve really lost a lot of the diversity and grit for which we all moved to the East Bay. And if Hillary gets the presidency, the monarchy angle will only amplify.

I did buy out this week’s The Onion issue at Dr. Comics and Mr. Games—I figured I’d give them to clients as housewarming gifts.

Corey Alt: So anyone you’d like to thank?

Well, every morning I thank the lord for my family, my research partner, and my colleagues at Pacific Union for giving me the access and insight to do this important work.

Jasper Alt: So really, Mom, who do you think wrote the piece?

I’d look to my competition for the HUD assistant secretary job in the Obama Administration—I guess this story sinks my chances of Senate confirmation. In fact . . . you know, my research partner is my competition for the HUD assistant secretary job in the Obama Administration….

Wyatt Alt: No, really, Mom.

Well, I just don’t know. Some Piedmonter who works for a local rag and thinks my name has a nice ring to it . . . . some high school student developing writing samples for the Harvard Lampoon . . . . or some Berkeley PhD student who got confused and thinks The Onion is the peer-reviewed journal of urban social dynamics at the University of Wisconsin.

You know, I’m really puzzled. I don’t even drink coffee, so why do they think I pay attention to latte? But, as you know from the surprise t-shirts that show up in your laundry piles, I do frequent resale shops and Dress Best for Less. I’ve had Bakesale Bette’s treats at an open house or two. And I have an axe to grind about the royals: I can’t stand the Point Reyes Farmer’s Market—the one Prince Charles went to. I mean, they don’t even open for business until 9 am on Saturdays.

by Maureen Kennedy on Apr 4, 2008 12:23 am • linkreport

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