We were happy to find a photo of ourselves -- or is it "ourself"? -- on Flickr the day after we went down to Ritual Roasters to type a letter registering our disapproval of chain stores on Valencia Street.

The photographer, Timoni Grone, duly noted the irony: a man in the picture is wearing American Apparel, but the people are typing letters against American Apparel! In fact, we ourself was wearing an item from American Apparel (and we are wearing the same item as we type this entry on a blog supported by American Apparel advertising). And yet we would rather not have their store on Valencia.

Wait, how can we stand the cognitive dissonance?

Here's how:

As we pecked away on a rickety typewriter, swathed in the stylish comfort of our expensively casual American Apparel hoodie, we felt that the focus on this particular brand has been somewhat misleading. The real issue, it seems to us, is the question of chain stores on the Valencia corridor. Perhaps this confusion is due in part to the many posters visible in shop windows up and down Valencia, the message of which is essentially "No American Apparel in the Mission."

(By the way, our American Apparel hoodie is NOT the new bat wing hoodie, the very existence of which makes our skin crawl, in spite of our fond, nostalgia-tinged memories of the slightly bat-winged mock turtlenecks that were everywhere in about 1987.)

There are plenty of good arguments for and against American Apparel as a company and as a sartorial choice. Nato Green and Daniel Alarcon offered a few of these arguments at Amnesia on Monday night.

But the hearing at City Hall tomorrow afternoon is more fundamentally about this:

Should chain stores be absolutely everywhere in the universe, or could we just have a couple of places in the world where there aren't any?

Because that's where we'd rather live.

Photo by Timoni. Some Rights Reserved. Used by permission.