venerdì 28 febbraio 2014

Get the fuck outta here! Spike Lee and Rebecca Solnit on gentrification

Spike Lee on gentrification in Brooklyn:
Here’s the thing: I grew up here in Fort Greene. I grew up here in New York. It’s changed. And why does it take an influx of white New Yorkers in the south Bronx, in Harlem, in Bed Stuy, in Crown Heights for the facilities to get better? The garbage wasn’t picked up every motherfuckin’ day when I was living in 165 Washington Park. P.S. 20 was not good. P.S. 11. Rothschild 294. The police weren’t around. When you see white mothers pushing their babies in strollers, three o’clock in the morning on 125th Street, that must tell you something.
[Audience member: And I don’t dispute that … ]
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. And even more. Let me kill you some more.
[Audience member: Can I talk about something?]
Not yet.
Then comes the motherfuckin’ Christopher Columbus Syndrome. You can’t discover this! We been here. You just can’t come and bogart. There were brothers playing motherfuckin’ African drums in Mount Morris Park for 40 years and now they can’t do it anymore because the new inhabitants said the drums are loud. My father’s a great jazz musician. He bought a house in nineteen-motherfuckin’-sixty-eight, and the motherfuckin’ people moved in last year and called the cops on my father. He’s not — he doesn’t even play electric bass! It’s acoustic! We bought the motherfuckin’ house in nineteen-sixty-motherfuckin’-eight and now you call the cops? In 2013? Get the fuck outta here!
Nah. You can’t do that. You can’t just come in the neighborhood and start bogarting and say, like you’re motherfuckin’ Columbus and kill off the Native Americans. Or what they do in Brazil, what they did to the indigenous people. You have to come with respect. There’s a code. There’s people.
You can’t just — here’s another thing: When Michael Jackson died they wanted to have a party for him in motherfuckin’ Fort Greene Park and all of a sudden the white people in Fort Greene said, “Wait a minute! We can’t have black people having a party for Michael Jackson to celebrate his life. Who’s coming to the neighborhood? They’re gonna leave lots of garbage.” Garbage? Have you seen Fort Greene Park in the morning? It’s like the motherfuckin’ Westminster Dog Show. There’s 20,000 dogs running around. Whoa. So we had to move it to Prospect Park!
I mean, they just move in the neighborhood. You just can’t come in the neighborhood. I’m for democracy and letting everybody live but you gotta have some respect. You can’t just come in when people have a culture that’s been laid down for generations and you come in and now shit gotta change because you’re here? Get the fuck outta here. Can’t do that!
And then! [to audience member] Whoa whoa whoa. And then! So you’re talking about the people’s property change? But what about the people who are renting? They can’t afford it anymore! You can’t afford it. People want live in Fort Greene. People wanna live in Clinton Hill. The Lower East Side, they move to Williamsburg, they can’t even afford fuckin’, motherfuckin’ Williamsburg now because of motherfuckin’ hipsters. What do they call Bushwick now? What’s the word? [Audience: East Williamsburg]
That’s another thing: Motherfuckin’… These real estate motherfuckers are changing names! Stuyvestant Heights? 110th to 125th, there’s another name for Harlem. What is it? What? What is it? No, no, not Morningside Heights. There’s a new one. [Audience: SpaHa] What the fuck is that? How you changin’ names?
And we had the crystal ball, motherfuckin’ Do the Right Thing with John Savage’s character, when he rolled his bike over Buggin’ Out’s sneaker. I wrote that script in 1988. He was the first one. How you walking around Brooklyn with a Larry Bird jersey on? You can’t do that. Not in Bed Stuy.
So, look, you might say, “Well, there’s more police protection. The public schools are better.” Why are the public schools better? First of all, everybody can’t afford — even if you have money it’s still hard to get your kids into private school. Everybody wants to go to Saint Ann’s — you can’t get into Saint Ann’s. You can’t get into Friends. What’s the other one? In Brooklyn Heights. Packer. If you can’t get your child into there … It’s crazy. There’s a business now where people — you pay — people don’t even have kids yet and they’re taking this course about how to get your kid into private school. I’m not lying! If you can’t get your kid into private school and you’re white here, what’s the next best thing? All right, now we’re gonna go to public schools.
So, why did it take this great influx of white people to get the schools better? Why’s there more police protection in Bed Stuy and Harlem now? Why’s the garbage getting picked up more regularly? We been here!
All right, go ahead. Let’s see you come back to that.

Rebecca Solnit on gentrification in San Francisco (from her fb page):

"All these decades, I've moved through San Francisco pursuing my straight white literary activist girl pursuits but with joy in the people pursuing theirs and in the range and variety of life. Those mornings in Golden Gate Park, when I lived on that side of town, when the drummers were doing their thing on Hippie Hill, the roller disco royalty gyrating on skates, the old Chinese people doing their martial arts (with big pink fans, once, a whole flock of old ladies like flamingos), the bullfighters practicing sans bulls in the Panhandle, the swing dancers on the little bridge by the De Young, the saxaphonists and digeri doo guys playing with tunnel reverb, the runners running, the weddings and tourists and museum goers and cyclists and houseless campers and the archers at the far west where the gay men used to cruise before online shopping for sex: it felt like a world with room for everyone. I keep coming back to the sign an old woman held up at Occupy Wall Street: 'We are fighting for a world where everyone matters.'

This is why I'll pay my respects to Esta Noche even though I was never a Latina drag queen and why it pains me to see it and so many other institutions helping the old San Francisco be a world in which many worlds fit, in which everyone mattered, evicted, erased, outpriced. Those worlds are going out like lights as it becomes the brave new world of newcomers--and we always welcomed newcomers, but this many with this much clout are extinguishing what came before and not arriving in San Francisco but replacing it with a strange surburbanized dudely young version of the good life that doesn't have room for Latina drag queen bars, apparently. Or bookstores. Or the Coltrane Church. Or ladies who are nearly 100 and here by grace of rent control who could tell you wonderful stories about the San Francisco of the 1930s and 1940s. Or the godfather of the Mission and the Galeria de la Raza.

Remember that Bernal Hill is where some Sandinistas trained once upon a time, before anyone dreamed the Google Bus would be stopping at its foot, remember that we were the great portal for Zen in the west with San Francisco Zen Center, remember that we have been a great generator of magazines--Rolling Stone, Artforum--that moved, of ideas that stuck, starting with the environmental movement at least since the Sierra Club was founded on Kearny Street in 1892 and Earth Island Institute 90 years or so later, of liberation for queer people at least since North Beach was full of lesbian and drag bars and Jose Sarria (may s/he rest in regal festivity) was running for Supe in 1961 and the drag queens were beating the cops with their purses and heels at the Compton Cafeteria Riot long before Stonewall, remember that the Mission mural scene was all about art that wasn't white or gentrifying, remember that the Alcatraz occupation came out of Native Americans here who inspired a whole continent of indigenous people, remember that Asian rights and identities were often defined from here around the I-Hotel and its cultural center and activists and the great Asian writers of this region, remember that Valencia Street was lesbian bars and appliance stores before the new fancy came in, remember that the support for so many movements, and sometimes the big ideas, came from here. Will they again? I'm worried."

13 commenti:

  1. Mi han fatto venire la pelle d'oca tutti e due, rendono bene il concetto. Grazie per aver condiviso Silvia.

  2. Risposte
    1. Neanch'io vado pazza per i suoi (ultimi) film, ma questo monologo è stupendo.

  3. E' un gran monologo, senza dubbio, e mostra cosa succede dietro le quinte della tanto celebrata rinascita di una città... Maledizione, possibile che tra la Harlem off-limits degli anni '80 e questa specie d'acquario per ricchi non possa esistere una soluzione di mezzo???

    1. La cosa che ho trovato più interessante del monologo è che spiega come i quartieri degradati siano in realtà degradati per un puro calcolo delle amministrazioni cittadine. "E' un quartiere di negri? Non mandiamo la polizia, gli spazzini, non miglioriamo le scuole né i servizi fondamentali, tanto questi non hanno i soldi per pagarli". Harlem non era off-limits per caso, insomma, ma solo perché non ci abitavano i bianchi.

    2. Funziona così un po' ovunque. Non è che a Napoli ci fosse il problema rifiuti, tempo fa: in determinati quartieri erano molto solerti a pulire...

    3. Già, tutto torna. E come al solito, tutto il mondo è paese.

  4. Per i toni, mi e' piaciuto di piu' il brano di Rebecca Solnit. Io comunque mi chiedo come si possa risolvere la situazione, dal momento che la gentrification e' molto dovuta all'aumento delle disuguaglianze sociali (sto scrivendo sotto lo sguardo di mio marito che si occupa proprio di social inequalities, quindi devo fare attenzione a cosa scrivo...) secondarie alla crisi economica. E mi pare che l'intervento politico di molti governi rispetto alla crisi non riguardi per nulla la questione disuguaglianze sociali.

    1. Solnit è una bravissima scrittrice di grande profondità (e questo è un brano scritto di getto, un suo status su fb), mentre Spike Lee è un uomo di spettacolo non particolarmente noto per la sua profondità... e i due brani mi piacciono così, nella loro diversità. La situazione non sembra facilmente risolvibile, hai ragione. Però mi colpisce in particolare quello che sta succedendo a SF, da una parte fedele alla sua tradizionale ruolo di avanguardia dei cambiamenti mondiali, dall'altra completamente e dolorosamente infedele alla sua tradizione di apertura e progressismo. Il punto più basso è stato toccato lo scorso Natale, giorno in cui è diventato esecutivo lo sfratto di uno homeless shelter per minorenni nel quartiere ex-hippy di Haight-Hashbury. Più desolante di così...

  5. Dove si legge in italiano? Help, traduttrice cercasi ;)

    1. Hehe, i due pezzi superano la lunghezza massima che posso tradurre senza venire pagata. Sorry!

  6. Spero allora che quacluno ti paghi, e di leggerlo su qualche giornale ... mi piace Spike Lee, a volte...

  7. Grazie Silvia. Sono bellissimi. Soprattutto quello di Spike Lee, per la rabbia e l'onesta' che si sente nel monologo. In 7 anni, in una citta' come questa in cui tutto si muove in fretta, l'ho visto accadere pressapoco davanti alla porta di casa.