A couple of years ago, back when Hispterism was really at its thumping, fixie-driving heights and people were raving about utter shit bars like Butter, I told a childhood friend who still lives in our hometown, “Dude, the Hipster loves the blue collar. We should get a van, charge a wad of money, and take them on a tour of the hometown.” Thankfully, said friend was too immersed in his “music” and 420 to start up the project, otherwise I’d be driving all the Stuarts and Vendelas up to experience Central Valley Walmart shopping, bingo, and real dive bars every weekend while feeling like a pathetic sell out, although whether to San Francisco or the hometown would be hard to determine.
Apparently, that conversation was recorded and someone came up with doing this in the reverse, in San Francisco. This “Urban Safari” group tools loads of tools around San Francisco showing them the “real city” for a mere $100 a pop plus fuel surcharge, tax, and tip (really, tip?) We saw this group driving up Larkin the other day with a very full vehicle, doing this “Tender Tour” segment of the trip. Naturally, you gotta show George and Margaret from Des Moines how the other half lives while traveling “…in open-air, zebra-striped, game-viewing safari vehicles”. Seriously, we overheard the guide (I thought those were suppose to not be amplified anymore) giving the rundown on how dirty, poor and downtrodden the Tenderloin was and that it’s the center of San Francisco’s crime.
Basically, yes, this is the “human safari” and it’s gross. It’s like whiteys going on tours of slums in Africa wherein they feel like by having seen the problem, that they understand the problem, and in some way that helps. In the case of Africa, it just creates a broken, charity-guilt aid system. In the case of the Tenderloin, it, uh… does pretty much the exact same thing, all the while some dude in a pith helmet makes a buck off it.