Sunday, June 6, 2010

slummyvale and immigrants

Courtesy of socmob
"I'm gonna be brutal.

I call Sunnyvale, Slummyvale. Santa Clara was great in its day but it's not now. Mountain View is not all it's hyped up to be. And so on. In general the older the neighborhood, the worse - except for the "gentrified" places which can be neat to walk around in but do tend to be full of smug pricks. Yes, Los Gatos, I'm talking about you.

I have an interesting theory. In a new neighborhood, for instance Sunnyvale when it was new, you tend to get the achievers, or at least people with a decent work ethic, populating the place. The workers in all the tech companies, and so on. OK great. They buy their little starter houses and well, they got there by working hard and keeping their noses clean, and they live that way frankly, until they die. They're not capable of living any other way. But their kids represent a reversion to the statistical mean. Their kids are just as likely to be lazy, stupid, criminally inclined, as the average of the population. Plus, since the hard working generation tends to want to have things easier for their kids, what you get are spoiled, pot-smoking, whiney, Generation-X and Y (And yes I'm an X) kids who feel entitled to the same standard of living their parents had, by working hard, but the kids expect to get it just by being there.

I've seen this a million times. Daddy is 'way up on the right tail of the bell curve, goes to IIT (I think it's called, it's India's MIT) and comes here to the US, marries his sweetheart from back home, who comes over and has kids. Dad's a statistical outlier, in intelligence, drive, work ethic. Mom's maybe a bit over average, who knows, smart guys like smart gals but mainly like nice gals. Mom could be a genius. Doesn't matter, outliers are just that. The kids tend to be average or a little above average, but with the tech industry nearly gone, the parents' doting, and the kids fairly average, but expecting Dad's lifestyle for just being there, it's not pretty. I've hung out (often because you can't help it, kids swarm around any adult who'll say "hi" to them) with these kids and none of them except to become a janitor, or a fast food cook, or an accountant's assistant, or any of the average, "glue" jobs that millions do and hold society together.

OK so that's the example of a first-generation immigrant, it's worst with those 2nd, 3rd, etc. That's right "white" people like most of us. Chances are the one who bought the house works hard enough, THEIR father was the real workhorse. They picked up some of it from him. But they don't really like work, and they want their kids to have it easy. The end result is frankly horrifying. You get kids in their 30s who've never worked a real job. You get kids in their 30s who have rap sheets as long as your arm, who have taken ever drug but dog worm pills and they're willing to try that next. Tattoos enough to have paid for college at least at State, more half-defunct cars than certificates of training, etc. Losers.

The end result is a neighborhood that's deceptively nice looking, but almost every house holds someone who lives there but would never be enough of an achiever to do more than rent a room on their own. They're half-employed at best, and feel they have a right to a middle-class lifestyle only obtainable by harder work and more discipline than they can imagine. They covet what you have, and feel it's unfair that you have it. They deserve it! And while you're out working to pay for it, they have plenty of time to scope your place out. Imagine one of these characters per house. It's probably higher but it's a safe guess. And the 50-something owner of their nest or base of operations prepared to lie etc. to protect Their Precious.

This is why towns like Santa Clara can be such slums. Nice looking slums but slums nevertheless.

The solution is to go high-end like Palo Alto or Los Gatos, or go to a newer town like Morgan Hill, parts of Campbell, etc. which haven't gone through this whole cycle yet."

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