Mr. Gopman, you speaketh too much, methinks…on the wrong topic

I’ve gotta say…

That’s nice, isn’t it? I’ve gotta say. Say it with me: I’ve gotta say.

It covers a manner of sins: it’s soft and humble, the user begrudgingly giving the world the finer curvature of his/her two cents. Thank you user, you’re grand.

I often wondered how such modern sage’s would’ve found ways to sound off before the advent of the Internet, Zuckerberg and the celluloid, I mean, Silly-coin valley?

Well, it’s a good thing we don’t have to worry about that. We have the forum through which we can tweet, be poked by our families, post images of the banal places we go in which are spruced up with fun filters; we’re connected and we can say what we want when we want, to a large contingency of people.

So, when Greg Gopman said, I’ve gotta say, boy did he say it.

Those who are unfamiliar with Greg Gopman clearly have better things to do with their lives than obsess over the new ways to make a fortune without actually doing much of anything.

Greg Gopman, in the style of manifest destiny moved west in order to “…create a global technology product, which would have a positive impact on the world.” Arriving in San Francisco, Greg founded AngelHack, which “…organize[s] hackathons to bring developer communities together and the HACKcelerator program to accelerate the worlds best undiscovered talent into the hands of top tier investors”

To many, the word Hackathon will cause disgust to coil at the base of your arms, and protrude in the form of white knuckles; some of you may even venture to read it as un-American, lazy snooping bullies looking to cause trouble. To others, it is a venue in which today’s innovation takes place.

Regardless of what you think, they are a thing. They exist and someone needs to organize the things. In steps Mr. Gopman.

He makes a lot of money for all intents and purposes, as a glorified event planner. That’s grand, as events need help. This is a capitalist society, and if you can make a buck, make it rain.

But, where does this give those successful the right to damn others who weren’t fortunate enough to make a living without a physical product to sell? The poor and disenfranchised in this world stand in various forms, shapes and colors. They don’t possess simply one uniform, and in fact, they infiltrate your so-called “civilized society. “ In steps me.

That’s a funny concept isn’t it? Civilized society. Traditionally, what comes to mind? People going about their daily business in harmony; being kind and generous, ultimately wishing no harm upon another as we maneuver through our lives in a collective group, regardless of the size of our cash roll.

Surly that is what Gopman meant when he said during his recent tirade, “in other cosmopolitan cities…[Homeless and poor people] realize it’s a privilege to be in the civilized part of town and view themselves as guests.” He applauded the “…the lower part of society keep[ing] to themselves.”

Further on in his comments on social place, Gopman said: “You can preach compassion, equality, and be the biggest lover in the world, but there is an area of town for degenerates and an area of town for the working class.”

How about this for a solution: we take the 15% of Americans who in 2012 lived below the poverty line, which comes to 46.5 million people, and we pick a state, preferably one low on the list of tourism and we ship them out there? Then the degenerates will have their part of the country, and the rest can have a more civilized existence.

I mean, I think it’s been tried before. The Germans tried it once; the Russians; the Serbs; The American’s bunched our “undesirables” into little camps across the country on numerous occasions, so we have a precedent. We have a range of plans to follow, so it should be easy to get the plan off the ground. But, what am I saying? You’re an event planner. You know how it’s done.

Look, I know that he wasn’t suggesting we wrangle up the people he feels are beneath him and lug them out of town. That would be outlandish. They would be forced to leave on their own feet, the layabouts.

In all seriousness, I have issue with what Gopman has said, clearly, but not in the casual flippancy of it. Idiots have been running their mouths for ions upon ions. There is no stopping it. It is a trend we will have until the final ding-dong of doom, and I’ve come to accept it as one of life’s peccadillo’s that can’t be changed. What bothers me most is something I have noticed since moving back to the Bay Area, and is accentuated in these comments. The influx of money to San Francisco is turning my home into an exclusive place. No longer are the weird, wonderful people welcome in the city they have called home for 40+ years. Gopman, who is a transplant himself, and his posse have come to claim San Francisco theirs, and anyone dissimilar to them must learn to behave.

Isn’t that how we got to be called imperialists in the West? This is ours now, deal with it, or else.

I don’t care about all of that to be honest. I do, but there is a darker issue lurking in his comments. The moment we begin to separate ourselves due to financial proclivity, we will find that we are inching towards the society that we shun and grumble at every time the Caste system is mentioned; every time the prosecution of Sunni’s or Shia’s flash across our news. The hypocrisy of the American people knows no bounds. We want wealth, because we attribute wealth with comfort, and comfort with happiness. Outwardly, we want others to be happy and have warmth and food. But, when those less fortunate pass us on the street, ask for help, the nose turns up, and a cold shudder races down the spine.

If we begin to allow financial prowess to dictate our urban planning, San Francisco will become New Delhi. Slums will be built, and death will fall upon those who climb out of them and venture into the “civilized” part of town, not unless we prevent this mentality from spreading.

If you are in position of influence, you cannot make comments like this, even if you believe them. You are farting on the concept of civilization that you so proudly wish to keep intact. Our civilization was built on the idea that all (wo)men were created equal. We had wars to preserve this. We had legislation to ensure mankind would no longer be subjected to such action. Decency and understanding are what make civilization civilized, not the size of your bank account.

Perhaps I live by what many would call socialist values, but I don’t think so. I believe I live by the common tenets of humanity, the material in which all religions are founded: the belief that we are all good people deep down, and it is important to treat others how you would in turn like to be treated.

Now, Mr. Gopman, if you take issue with that, than I would take this opportunity to review your definition of civilization. We are not all as gifted in the art of bullshit to subsist on making millions with no true product. However, we still have to share the same space, as much as it may pain the two of us.

You are a guest in this city.  You moved here for the culture, and I hope that your love affair is renewed and that you will call this home as many others have. But, you must remember what made this city what it is: the stinky, rough and wild patrons on the street; the fledgling art students hoping to experience what this city has to offer in order to find inspiration; and you, the innovators who move here looking to change the world. This is a stew that has been simmering long before the days of hackathons, Google and the like.

What we have today is a world in which we are closer, but disparate incomes are pushing us further apart. We speak, and more people here. You have a chance to do what you sought to: change the world.

So, if you’ve gotta say, make sure it’s what you’re wanting to put out in the world.

But, that’s me, just saying.


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In flux

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