The process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces earlier usually poorer residents.
In reality, there is little renewal of any kind, other than in terms of real estate value. Quite the reverse actually, as anyone who has lived in the bowels of any large older city and experienced gentrification first hand can attest, the process can more appropriately be described as that of culturecide: a complete uprooting and annihilation of an existing social ecosystem by mindless external force – more akin to Mongols sacking Baghdad than any fantasy of civilisation being brought to the unwashed.
The larger of our western cities, especially those that have also been major ports, have traditionally been hotbeds of cosmopolitanism where global cultures have no choice but to collide head on and just deal with it, like it or not – and as a result they have also been the centres that have propelled our civilisation forward. At the very beating heart of these centres have always been the Bohemias – variously labeled as the slums, the red light districts, the criminal quarters and other such derisive terms. The places your momma tells you not to go. Full of the scum. The unwanted. The vermin.
Sleaze, drugs and crime. And art, creativity and culture. This is the world of Oscar Wilde, Charles Bukowski, Jean Genet and Dada. It is where most of what makes life worth living springs from.
But then the ’80s happened. Suddenly, the stupidest our society had to offer ran into wealth they did not deserve. Like dominoes, the great Bohemias that remained tumbled one after the other. London, Berlin, San Francisco, New York. I personally witnessed the corruption of Sydney, Australia. It broke my heart. The nouveau riche decided that greater Bohemia was their lifestyle choice, and so it died. Like cockroaches, they overran the kitchen. Seeking a part of the culture they desired, they only succeeded in exterminating it. The sanitation process to remove the unsavory elements that gave Bohemia its very life systematically rooted out the unpleasant, until all that remained was the safe, cappuccino banality of the kind popularised in Friends. They invaded. They destroyed what they coveted.
Essentially, this is what has happened to the atheist movement over the last decade. There are too many colours on the palette. They want to turn a Jackson Pollock into a nice inoffensive,
pastel Matisse dogs playing pool scene. And so buffoons like Myers and Watson have come to dominate the landscape.
We have been gentrified. We have been purged.