The "L" word

Jim "Whitey" Bulger.

Friend of mine sent me a great piece from the (I hope this isn't verboten) SFGate about the gentrification of South Boston, the section of Boston once ruled by the iron fist of Jim "Whitey" Bulger. Landmarks that were once the alleged mobster's HQ's now turned wineries, the death of the local Irish pub, all the elements you've seen in a million stories about ethnic enclaves turned "Starbucks Nation". 

Pretty good read as things tend to be (I lived in Boston for 12 years and rarely spent any time in Southie), but one quote stood out like a sore thumb: "The liberals came in and started to buy real estate. They realized how beautiful it is and they started throwing money at it." This from a "Jamie Donnelan", a 41 year old electrician. 

What's that you say, Jamie? "Liberals?" Why, by gosh almighty, I'd a thought "liberals" never worked and were lazy and all on welfare (as that's the meme one sees all over the Net and radio and cable news). Now, it seems that these sloth-like parasites are driving up land and property values--a strange thing occurs to me here. It isn't possible, Jamie my lad, that "liberals" are two polar opposites of each other. Either they're a drain on the hard working people of (name any place) or they're the scourge of "the working class" (a critical distinction) by being successful in business and pricing them out of their homes. (South Boston is a hop, skip and jump over the channel to the business district).

So, which one is it?

I doubt that Mr. Donnelan could answer that one. Because the word "liberal" is now the "L-word". Just as there's an "N-word" and an "S-word" and a "K-word" for the "hated others", "liberal" has become the all purpose epithet of choice for every resentment-addled reactionary, coast to coast. And it isn't that "liberal = bad", it is, astonishingly, "bad = liberal". All bad things are not only the result of liberalism, they ARE liberalism. By making a political point of view (and a vague one at that)synonymous with evil, "liberal" no longer means anything.

After all, the "liberal media" is the one that tells us things we don't want to hear. "Liberal academics" brainwash children (Liberty University and others like it, nah). And were it not for "liberals in the church", none of the pedophile scandals would have happened (yes, they actually believe this!!!!).

All that's wrong with the world = liberal, all good, conservative. Never mind that the rich yuppies that are pricing Southie's long time residents out are doing so because of financial deregulations implemented by, erm..........Nope, that can never be it. Never and ever.



We get it, we get it: liberals are good and noble, and conservatives are terrible and mean. Do you have any other thoughts while you're typing, or just the one?

Posted by Chromefields on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 11:19 am

'Chromefields', is that a Huxley reference?

Kind of pretentious.

How about 'sparkleyard' or 'shinylawn'?

Posted by pete moss on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 11:45 am

It's a metallurgical phenomenon that you shouldn't worry your pretty little head about, Pete. Back to your poems now, there's a good lad.

Posted by Chromefields on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 12:39 pm

But I want to be a pompous ass
Just like you, glitter grass

Posted by pete moss on Jun. 11, 2013 @ 11:52 am

What "we"?

Or is schizophrenia another one of your ailments?


Posted by JohnnyW on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 11:23 am

That was the royal we. Now bow down like a good serf, and don't lift your head until I pass.

Posted by Chromefields on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 12:40 pm

How foolish of me.



Posted by JohnnyW on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 12:46 pm

Just don't let it happen again, serf.

Posted by Chromefields on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 12:59 pm

We are not amused.

Posted by Basta Ya on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 12:55 pm

Tedium, thy name is Johnny Angel.


I wonder what has happened to SFBG's page hits since Johnny became their lead blogger - I bet they went up immediately, and are now crashing.

I guess Tim could no longer be bothered to even phone it in anymore.

Posted by Rob on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 11:37 am

More by-the-numbers progressive twaddle. This guy has nothing to say about San Francisco, since he lives in LA. Now he posts about Boston!

Posted by Rob Anderson on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 11:52 am

Knee-jerk reactionary twaddle that never addresses the content of the post. Because that would require assembling an argument minus talking points.

You may have noticed that we are not in San Francisco, we're on the Internet.

The Guardian itself may be located in San Francisco, the website is not.

Or is that too complex for ya? Everything else is. 


Posted by JohnnyW on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 11:56 am

Why would someone assemble an argument? Against what, exactly? Does "more stuff Johnny hates" require an argument? Also, I'm curious as to whether you consider your own columns "kneejerk reactionary twaddle"?

Posted by Chromefields on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 12:37 pm

One thing none of you cult-worshiping, butt smoochers to the 1% seem to be able to refute: How come "liberals" were "takers" in 2012, but "makers" now? (according to your fellow traveler in Southie).

Did we miss something?


Posted by JohnnyW on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 1:07 pm

Is schizophrenia among your ailments? There, now I've made fun of the mentally ill too.

As for your exemplary treatises, they seem to be little more than a contest you have with yourself to see how many logical fallacies you can string together into a well-worn, if semen-flecked, rosary of liberalism.

Posted by Chromefields on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 1:17 pm


Those who have accumulated power naturally seek to destroy the language with which their opponents might use to criticize them. That's why "Liberal" has become a dirty word. The problem with such ploys is that it only works on a verbal level; one that can be depended on not to reference previous and eminently respectable users of these "bad words":

Thomas Jefferson, from Monticello 1823, in a letter to Marquis Lafayette, wrote:

The parties of whig and tory are those of nature. They exist in all countries, whether called by these names, or by those of aristocrats and democrats, cote droite and cote gauche, ultras and radicals, serviles and liberals. The sickly, weakly, timid man fears the people, and is a tory by nature. The healthy, strong and bold, cherishes them, and is formed a whig by nature.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 12:36 pm

It's not just happening in Southie, it's happening in Johnny's own adopted hood too. Maybe some of the vatos will complain about liberals taking over EP

Posted by Ex-Juggalo on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 12:37 pm

The "libs" in this hood have been here for 90 years. 

Posted by JohnnyW on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 12:48 pm

Just get together and touch tips, why don't you.

Posted by Chromefields on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 1:01 pm

And those libs split the hood in the big white flight after the stadium was built. They haven't been there continuously. The libs there today are not the same libs. They're westsiders or transplants.

Posted by Ex-Juggalo on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 1:18 pm

you know what's funny about this article? SF "progressives" have shit all over SF "liberals" for quite a while now because they deem them not "left" enough on $ issues.

Nice way to broaden the tent. oh, and the constant shitting on young tech workers I'm sure is doing wonders so far as getting them onboard as well.

the labels are tiresome and divisive

Posted by Guest on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 1:16 pm

Just as when applied to the much respected Liberal PM of England, Gladstone, and also Lloyd George.

The problem in modern times is that politicians have taken liberal politics from it's traditional moderate, centrist position and turned it into a form of socialism.

And yes, these champagne socialists and limousine liberals don't really care about the poor at all, which is why they feel no guilt about displacing them. But it sounds so much more interesting at parties to say that you are a liberal or, even better, the meaningless epithet "progressive".

They have brought the word "liberal" into ill repute by their own actions.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 1:17 pm

Fitting that many of the liberals today call themselves progressives because the progressive movement had a nasty, authoritarian side to it.

Posted by Ex-Juggalo on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 1:36 pm

There is nothing tolerant about SF Progressives, nor about class warfare, nor about bloated government, nor about deficit spending, nor about identity politics and the politics of envy, nor about overbearing political correctness.

Posted by anon on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 2:03 pm

"you know what's funny about this article? SF "progressives" have shit all over SF "liberals" for quite a while now because they deem them not "left" enough on $ issues">>>

There is no mention of anything like this in the post.

What did you THINK you saw?

Posted by JohnnyW on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 1:18 pm

the point of your article was that "liberal" has been turned into a dirty word, and I pointed out that "progressives" in SF have been on-board in the turning of that word into something bad by shitting all over "liberals" who they deem not progressive enough for their tastes. THAT is what I saw when I read this article.

Pretty simple stuff there, I hope you get it now.

Look through the SFBG archives a bit, I think it was Steven who came up with the whole definition of who-is-what around these parts when it comes to political labelling. And then look at the comments by some of the hard-core progressives who post on this site.

Thank you, come again.
- Apu

Posted by Guest on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 2:20 pm

In old Echo Park were NOT the same as liberals today

Posted by Ex-Juggalo on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 1:21 pm

Did you say" the "liberal media"is the one that tells us things we don't want to hear?"

Msmbc for example, doesn't even report the news, it's more like feel good place for liberals to hang out to prop up their failed ideas.

Fox News does report the news, along with a lot of what liberals do not want want to hear......the truth.

So it's the conservative media that tells you things that you don't want to hear.

Posted by guest on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 5:15 pm

He wants to feel warm and fuzzy, and so never exposes himself to critical thinking.

He would not survive in 99% of this country.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 5:36 pm

"Fox News does report the news, along with a lot of what liberals do not want want to hear......the truth''.

The trolls on this site have to be some kind of Improv troupe. Like a parody of right wing tomfoolery.


Posted by JohnnyW on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 7:44 pm

Fox News Truther Guy and you are *much* more alike than you realize.

You're both total fringetards who have chosen to frame virtually everything through an "Us verus ThEM!!!" lens of pure fuckery.

Morons like you two - who are entirely incapable of seeing anything outside your comfort zone - are the reason we have "News Made for You" in this country. You both suck.

Posted by Lurker on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 9:07 pm

here on where SF's tech hipsters complained that they were not welcomed by the "progressive" establishment?

Posted by matlock on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 6:06 pm

I sure miss some east coast no nonsense thinking around these parts.

The "liberals" in this town have also done more damage to SF than a thousand greedy developers could have ever...
Change nothing anywhere ever! Bye bye "culture"

Posted by Maldita fondada on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 7:37 pm

I don't know, I just don't think anyone likes to see their area turned. Here in the Bay Area, we have seen areas turn but I don't think conservatives have went in and turned the Mission. Haven't ever been to South Boston but heard about. Good Irish Catholic working class families, blue collar and all that.

I don't blame the Liberal or Conservative, it boils down to people looking for a nice area with cheap property prices. But then again are pubs becoming wine bars, auto garages becoming bike shops, donut shops become coffee houses, diners becoming restaurants, older families being pushed out for educated young people. Kids over Dogs.

Boston has been changing, San Francisco has changed years ago.

I don't see many liberal running to buy a burbs, don't see many conservative running to buy in the inner city.

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