A few weeks ago, after The Lakewood announced that it’d be closing, we ran several letters critical of a piece former food editor Victoria Bouloubasis had written last year about the upscale restaurant’s place in a gentrifying neighborhood.
We neglected, however, to run this comment, from cantakerous, which stoutly rises to her defense: “Bouloubasis wrote a thoughtful, balanced piece that gave ample time to both [chef Pheobe] Lawless and two patrons, both of whom work in the food service industry. Can anyone establish definitively that The Lakewood closed because prospective patrons stayed away to avoid feeling guilty about contributing to a wave of gentrification? No information has been made public as to the reason for closing. It could have been for personal reasons, health reasons, as well as business reasons.
“Frankly, I found this comment in the thread to be nauseating: ‘Gentrification is not something that is within one person’s control; it is a part of our ever-evolving lives, as it always has been.’ Bullshit.
“Community land trusts are a thing. Affordable housing developments that are actually built and sold rather than endlessly kicked around in city council meetings are a thing. Bouloubasis dared to question a businesswoman about why she would choose to market to comparatively well-heeled customers versus the low-income residents indigenous to Lakewood. And Lawless gave an interesting response: The sale of ‘commodity proteins’ would not support living wages for her employees. It’s a zero-sum game, you see.
“None of us are helpless before market forces, and every one of us can choose to close our wallets and refuse to shop at nonunion businesses such as Harris Teeter and Amazon. Does anyone think to tip the workers at the movie theaters on Christmas Day? No. Does anyone recognize Kroger’s replacement of eight stores with its Harris Teeter subsidiaries as not just pivoting to take on tough competitors but also as union-busting? Do you care? Of course not.
“We have raised two generations that know nothing of labor unions. The working class gets no respect whatsoever. Neoliberals castigate anyone who dares shine a light on systems that depend on our participation. How dare you attack … an entrepreneur! They’d rather shoot the messenger as opposed to the city council or the mayor whoprofessorially as alwaysexplains, ‘Well, the state’s authority blah blah blah we can’t risk public money on an asset-poor entrepreneur blah blah blah we haven’t thought about restaurants blah blah blah.’
“It’s Bouloubasis’s fault! It’s Trump’s fault! Nope. You neglected the working class, and now it’s come back to bite you in the ass. Where are you going to get your fresh biscuitsBojangles? The horror, the horror!”
On Thursday, the INDY joined more than three hundred news organizations in editorializing against Donald Trump’s attacks on the free press as “enemies of the people.”
Timothy Oswald says the media has it coming: “I don’t think it’s Donald Trump who has eroded the public’s faith in modern journalism. I think the corporate TV news environment (and to a lesser extent print and online) has done that, not to mention activism and advocacy not only being accepted as journalism but becoming the new normalas, unfortunately, Jeffrey Billman proves by stating, ‘We have a mission: to effect change in our communities through the stories we tell, to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted, to hold power to account.’
“And the irony of the latest narrative, that Trump is ‘inciting violence’ against the media, is not lost on me. The media in unison since his election have called Trump and his supporters bigots, racists, fascists, xenophobes, Islamophobes, Nazis, white supremacists, etc., while labeling Trump a treasonous, authoritarian dictator who was installed by ‘the Russians.’ What effect do they think that has on the public?”