San Francisco is home to a robust and vibrant Chinatown. We know this because people often complain about it. Or go to visit it. Or complain about the people who visit it. This week, our friends at the Tenderloin Geographic Society once again pay a visit to other towns, this time with the goal of invistigating other pockets of the Easternized West. Or the Westernized East. We're still not sure.
As Mark Twain wrote, “It is a good thing, perhaps, to write for the amusement of the public, but it is a far higher and nobler thing to write for their instruction--their profit--their actual and tangible benefit.”
That said, let’s not turn this into a rote history lesson and just say that we all know that San Francisco Chinatown pre-1906 was a terrible forced ghetto that served to perpetuate squalor and anti-Chinese sentiment, and that after the 1906 earthquake and the ensuing attempt at ousting the Chinese from their valuable real estate, Chinatown fathers were savvy enough to turn the place into a Chinoiserie theme park with the aid of Western architects.
You know what they say: if you can’t beat them, add inauthentic details to your neighborhood’s architecture and try to sell them dim sum at 7PM.
Good, now that we’ve established that San Francisco’s history has not always been a liberal bastion and you know what buses to avoid, let’s get to the point.