If you've had your finger on the pulse of local, Craigslist-based anonymous ranting, you're well aware of the mystery-shrouded and sharp-tongued individual whose tirades against Google Glass wearers have captured the imagination and ire of many. From a July 31 post detailing the "fuckin' idiot bougie Asher-Roth-on-LP small dick nerd-toucher" wearing Glass at a Run the Jewels show to a breastfeeding mother caught sporting Glass at West of Pecos to a "a limp-faced eunuch" dining along with Glass at Delfina, no one wearing the face computer is safe from the harshly eloquent wrath of the person we'll call "Ollie."
We tracked down Ollie to talk over some issues raised by the posts. (Many of the sentiments expressed here echo Uptown Almanac as well.) Warning for easily jangled nerves: strong language and opinions ahead.
SFist: Are you the Craiglist Google Glass critic?
SFist: How many posts have you written about Google Glass?
Ollie: I think there are three currently online, or maybe some of them have expired. There have been more, but they were less angry. God willing, I’ll never have to write another one, but if I keep seeing these idiot Glassholes in public, I’ll keep writing them. Sooner or later someone else will join in. Hate will sew us together.
SFist: What's at the root of your obvious hatred of Google Glass?
Ollie: Two things. One, it's a fucking hyper-expensive toy for idiot children. There are many worthwhile potential applications of Google Glass as it's likely to exist in the future—surgery, fetish porn, monitoring law enforcement—but the incremental value for a regular consumer is nil. It’s just a stupid toy for people who have too much money and who apparently want to skyrocket to the “America’s Most Muggable” list. I mean, I saw that prick wearing Glass at the Run The Jewels show—and Run The Jewels is fucking rap group named after a slang term for robbing people. All of their songs are about crime. Jesus, dude. Awful tone detection. And did you hear about that guy who walked into a big-ass glass pane because he was watching YouTube on his Glass? This. This is the fucking doofus userbase of Google Glass. Fuck them. [Ed. note: Sources say this is an urban legend.]
Two—and maybe this sounds like hippy shit—it represents to me the most aggressive effort to remove people from having to actually experience the world around them. I think the term for it is “present absence”—where you’re physically in a location like the street or a train or whatever, but for whatever reason you’re not emotionally or mentally engaged in the world around you. It’s enjoyable and also upsetting.
I mean, think about Google nerds on the Google bus: do you really belong to a neighborhood if you have a free shuttle from your doorstep and you can order all your food from your iPad? Are you really in a place if you can turn on your Glass and don’t need to look or listen to anything around you? It’s brutally self-indulgent and broadly appealing. And that’s poisonous. You’re putting yourself into the isolation pod.
SFist: What is a nerd-toucher?
Ollie: It is a pejorative term. Its meaning should be self-evident. Please use it constantly.
SFist: Why have you taken to Craigslist to voice your displeasure about all this? What does that platform afford you? It's a pretty old-school approach.
Ollie: I don’t know if I’ve ever thought about any of that. It's a place you can write things. It is a medium designed for anonymity, public access, and hyper-temporality. It is low-commitment, non-self-aggrandizing, and lends itself well to writing shit while throwed. All of these things are good.
SFist: What do you think of the current tech/gentrification conversation that's going on in S.F. right now? Where are we headed with that?
Ollie: At Valencia and 15th there's a complex opening up that costs $2000/head. Two fucking thousand dollars a head. Kitty-corner away at Mission and 16th you've got the city capitol for stabcrimes. The rate of violent crime in the Mission has only increased over the past six years—I think that's how long SFPD has put crime reports online—and that's when rents have really started to take off.
I don't have an answer. I'm a smart person, kind of, but I understand I lack the context and foresight to offer an answer of any actionable value. In a certain meaning of the word, though, I am content to say "here is a tower where wealthy-ass boring motherfuckers eat $50 pizzas and here is a corner where folks get stabbed, and this optical contrast is fucked up." We should feel bad about this. There's a certain virulent strain of Aspiring Rich Person who treats this process as acceptable, or as some kind of necessary tradeoff for "development"—which has taken on a role in the vernacular as a widely misused bullshit-word for when you need to run coverage on some real heinous shit—and that's some borderline sociopathy.
SFist: What do you love and hate about this city?
Ollie: I love the important things. Dore Alley was a couple weeks ago. I was biking through the Mission and I saw a guy walking his kid on a leash. The guy's shirt said "WHORE FUCKER." Three blocks away I threw a thumbs-up at a guy casually stroking off in a crosswalk.
I love that I can walk around and run into Jello Biafra or Russell Quan in a bar. I love that I can go to the San Bruno mountains and walk through four different biospheres in an afternoon. I love that I can look up cool facts about ants and send photos of ants to the Academy of Sciences. I like taking drugs and biking through the park and listening to music. I like that I keep running into compassionate, intelligent weirdos.
I hate a lot of Bay Area things because I need a reason to keep drinking—self-described “entrepreneurs,” technolibertarians, pickup artists, pompous shitheel Dave Morin—but here are two of them:
I hate commodity fetishization. I don't mean that in the Marxist sense. I mean the process of deriving of pleasure from the purchase of commercial goods above and beyond the actual value or utility of the product.
I also hate a manifestation of one of the things that makes the Bay Area great: its willingness to accept failure. In sharp contrast to many other parts of the world, starting a thing and bombing doesn't preclude you from trying it again. That’s good, but taken to an extreme you see a particularly stupid thing happen: a little backward spin of logic which arrives at the conclusion that all companies, or groups, or ideas have merit simply because they exist. That’s why you have stupid bubble startups and “ideas men” and, fuck, that insipid worm-munching Draper University of Heroes bullshit sucked down with starry-eyed enthusiasm by people who purport the trappings of intelligence.
SFist: How do you think we can save our humanity or avoid the sort of dystopian scenario that you seem to be anticipating?
Ollie: Well, i don't think we'll get there; we're suffering from a massive continental drought and all of our toys require a fuckton of blood and resources. The American Ideal Way Of Being is incredibly unsustainable at larger volume.
SFist: Well that's reassuring.
Look for more Glass commentary over on Craiglist. For now, here's Ollie's latest (click to enlarge):