In Defense of Kelly Kate, Peeing Out Windows, and Giddy, Impulsive, and Offensive Behavior In General
I don’t usually weigh in on local blog gossip because I usually think it’s absolutely insignificant. However, in this instance, the level of maliciousness and hysteria directed at a specific person is so alarmingly high, I feel that someone has to attempt to be reasonable and try to defend both Kelly Kate and some principles and ideas that have been trampled in this frenzy. Not that Kelly Kate needs help defending herself- she’s very adept at taking care of herself and putting her critics in their place. But the fact is, she and everyone else should know she’s not standing alone against the entire city and it’s disappointingly condemnatory inhabitants.
So if you don’t know the deal, you can see it for yourself where it started or where it eventually spread. Kelly Kate is a 24 year old woman, a popular San Franciscan blogger, and a food and beverage industry worker. On New Year’s Eve, Kelly Kate stuck her bare ass out a bus window on Haight Street and took a leak. Someone took a photo, it was pretty promptly put on the internet, and wound up on the blog Mission Mission. The response was immediate and strongly negative. People posted death threats, comments that ripped into Kelly Kate’s character, and alleged information about her substance abuse and work history.
I could, as a friend of Kelly Kate’s, tell you that none of these people have any idea what they’re talking about, that she’s actually one of the most considerate, genuine, and compassionate people I’ve met in this city. I could tell you that initially I was wary of being friends with a quasi high profile hipster bitch who blogged about brawling and drinking constantly, and later discovered she was an insightful and gifted story teller with an unorthodox approach to life and a good heart. I could point out to you that some of the most gifted artists and writers of our time have been drunken and disorderly messes, and that, as these things go, her sins are venal. It was New Year’s Eve for Chrissake. But none of that shit fucking matters. As I said, Kelly Kate is more than capable of defending herself. I’m not worried about Kelly Kate. What truly alarms me is the level of ire this entirely inconsequential event has inspired. I feel that in a society where truly horrific things are going on, right now in our very own city, this level of outrage may be a bit gratuitous. The overwhelmingly vicious response to this photo seems indicative of several larger problems, namely a sense of entitlement that our city dwellers have somehow acquired and an inclination to make absurdly inaccurate judgments about others in corroboration of the larger stereotypes they smugly hold dear. To be perfectly honest, I’m getting real sick of this shit and I got one or two things to say about it.
First, I’d like to discuss the nature of cities. When you move to a city, you make sacrifices. One of these sacrifices is the ability to walk down the street and not smell, see, or in some way experience someone else’s piss. Actually, you’re lucky if it’s just piss. There’s a lot of us in these city things. That’s what they’re about- lots of people in not a lot of space. We are fucking tripping over each other. If that is a Goddamn problem, I highly suggest you move to the suburbs. This is a trade off you make to live in an architectural marvel, a cultural hub, a beehive of ideas, commerce, and the arts. Some people are going to do things you don’t like. That’s how this works since you’re not, you know, God. The other day I saw a pregnant woman smoking a cigarette on sixth street. I was like…damn, I really don’t like that. And then I remembered THAT I’M NOT GOD AND I DON’T MAKE THE RULES. See how that works? Furthermore, This is San Francisco, a notoriously open minded city. Clothing is optional. Marijuana is sold at dispensaries. I think a lot of us moved here because it really bummed us out living in places where people were constantly trying to tell each other what to do. And that’s the thing. This is some California Uber Alles shit, isn’t it? You want to force everyone to embrace the same PC, mainstream liberal values as you. You think Kelly Kate violated your rights or something. Those of you who think you DESERVE to not have to deal with other people’s pee are probably the same people who live above bars and complain about the noise, the same people who cough loudly at people smoking on the street because you DESERVE to live a life free of other’s noise and cigarette smoke. Um.. No. You don’t. Get it? You don’t. If you think it is trashy and disgusting to pee out of a window, good. You’re probably right. If you don’t like it, fine. You don’t have to. But for the sake of your own sanity, I highly suggest accepting that this is a relatively minor offense and moving the fuck on. Accepting things you don’t like about the world, that is to say, learning the difference between what falls into the category of “shit that violates my rights” as opposed to “shit I don’t like about the world” is an important part of becoming a functional human being.
The fact is, this isn’t really about concern for people who were pissed on (of which there were none) or who may be negatively affected by her piss. I suspect people think women pissing outside is somehow much “trashier” and more unseemly than men pissing outside, especially in a way that is public and provocative. This is an outcry against female exhibitionism and is an example of the kind of double standard that I see all the time- we refer to these discrepancies as sexism. Critics can argue that they would be equally offended by a man pissing from a bus window, and maybe specific individuals would be, but I think it’s hard to disagree with the fact that this would not have been anywhere near as big of a deal if this were a man. So how does misogyny fit in with your PC everybody-lets-hold-hands-and-live-in-piss-free-streets San Francisco?
Lastly, I am extremely tired of hearing people making disparaging comments about “hipsters”, people who live in the mission, trust fund babies, art kids, etc. You live in San Francisco- let me tell you, the rest of the country says nasty, nasty shit about you. So, what, because you live here, and, yes, buy organic produce you’re a bunch of dope smoking, sodomizing, communist hippies? These assumptions about you are about as fair as your assumptions about Kelly Kate because she’s a young woman who writes a blog and hangs out in the Mission. To everyone who made disparaging comments about her profession (server), her blog (irreverent), and her drinking and drug habits: go to hell. I’m super happy for you that you’ve found a job in an office/working from home/that provides benefits/where you get to sit down. I’m super happy for you that you finished college. I think it’s great you’re fulfilled by your job. We, society, needs people like you. But you know what? You all need people like me and Kelly Kate. We are the fringe of society and we play a role, too.
I’m tired of being criticized because I dropped out of college, because I’m impulsive, because I drink five nights a week, because I hang out with skateboarders and bike messengers, because my fingernail polish is chipped, because my ass is hanging out of my cutoffs, because I don’t give a fuck about the things I’m apparently supposed to give a fuck about, because I have tattoos, because I like movies/music/art that you don’t, because I’m not ashamed of anything about myself, even the things I don’t like, because my friends piss in public and don’t care if you see a photo on the internet… I care about art, thrills, fucking, friends, death, living before I’m gone, not wasting this cold, hard, short life, this life that is all I have. To be honest I don’t give a fuck about being responsible or polite in the face of not getting my fucking kicks before I die. Just because I’d rather work behind a bar than in an office doesn’t mean my family is rich. I know you can’t fathom sacrificing money for a lifestyle that suits you, but some of us value things besides material comfort. I don’t care too much about offending people. I don’t go out of my way to do it, but if it happens, that person probably needs to not get so offended by what other people say. I’m a loyal friend and I try to do right by people. I’m tired of being called a hipster. What the fuck does that word even mean? I know Ginsberg used it in Howl. I know what it meant in the fifties. I don’t understand why it’s a bad thing. You think I’m pretentious? Why? Because I care about reading books, getting fucked up, making out and riding bikes? Because I don’t give two fucks about money further than what it can get me or because I don’t care about shit that matters to you or because I DO care about shit that DOESN’T matter to you? Because I dress in a way that suits my lifestyle? I’m not a 9-5er, I have no reason to wear a fucking twin set and a pencil skirt. My ass looks great in cutoffs. Is it because I like to get high? Dude…you ever get real, real high? Tell me that ain’t good. Read some Kerouac. Tell me that ain’t good. Irony is funny. Say what you want about me, about Kelly Kate, about any of my friends. For the most part we shamelessly pursue kicks and passions. You don’t have to understand. It doesn’t make us bad people- Kelly Kate would rescue a stray animal in a heart beat, call an ambulance for a sick homeless person, help even your snobby yuppie ass if you were in trouble. You don’t have to care about what we care about or even think we’re cool. But don’t talk shit about what you don’t understand just because it’s not your bag.
Look, I would never piss out of a bus window. It’s not who I am. Kelly Kate would. I’m ok with that. Even more than ok with that- I want to live in a world where people piss out of bus windows. I want to live in a world where people take photos of it. I want to live in a world where there’s graffiti in the alleys, where Iggy Pop slices up his chest on stage, where little latina girls have their ears pierced, where Pentacostals speak in tongues, where pole dancers and circus freaks get paid, where notions about class and what’s appropriate are constantly disrupted and changed, even if I don’t agree with the direction they go in, because living in a world where blood and piss and change and profanity and spray paint and beer aren’t being hurled around in chaotic and terrifying beauty isn’t as much fun. If that’s not what you’re into, no big deal, just…you know. Tolerate us.
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