San Francisco’s Haight Street was the hub of hippie culture back when bell bottoms were worn non-ironically. Now it’s an axis of tension between moneyed tech-sector employees and people who think they’re yuppie scum.
This tension turned into conflict when tech mediaite and Glass wearer Sarah Slocum wore her headgear to a Lower Haight punk bar called Molotov’s.
Glass has plenty of supporters in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, but there’s an undercurrent of animosity in pockets of the city where people feel Glass is intrusive (and bougie). Molotov’s isn’t known for drawing a tech-friendly crowd, and while some patrons were interested in Slocum’s $1,500 gadget, others wereangry. An eyewitness named Brian Lester told San Francisco’s KPIX 5 that Slocum’s behavior roused the bar’s crowd. “She was running around very excited… and people were telling her, ‘you’re being an *** take those glasses off,” he said.
“I think everybody was just upset that she would be recording outside of a bar this late with obvious embarrassing behavior going on,” Lester continued. “And just rather insulted that someone thinks it’s okay to record them the entire time they’re in public.”
Slocum elaborated on her experience on Facebook. “I hope this doesn't deter anyone from getting Google Glass. Usually the experience is 180 degrees different, and right before this happened I was showing one of the normal, excited, and curious individuals there how it works, letting them try it on and demonstrating it for them. This is the experience 95 percent of the time,” she wrote. “These other people were just bitter, ugly, nasty, angry, jealous, confused and threatened people and this was apparently their hive. I would actually like to put pressure on the owners of Molotov because when the guy tore them off my face and ran outside I was instructing the bouncer or anyone to get his ID [and] they did nothing. Additionally, clearly the bar has video inside of person who took my purse, which I would like passed over to the authorities so they can be apprehended.”
Slocum left her Facebook post public so people could comment on the story, and comment they did. Some were sympathetic, others chalked it up to class warfare, and others asked what made this altercation so special, since many people get their stuff stolen from bars.
“What makes this story special is that no one has experienced a hate crime or been targeted for a hate crime, which is what it was, for wearing Google Glass,” Slocum wrote.
While it’s obviously not a hate crime to steal someone’s expensive wearable technology off their face, it is messed-up thing to do. Slocum recorded the incident with her Glass, so perhaps what made her a target will also get her aggressors caught.
[Correction: Writer mixed up the Upper Haight and the Lower Haight in the opening sentence. The Lower Haight, where the incident took place, was not the hub of hippie culture. Writer is from Chicago and does not understand cities that aren't laid out on a grid.]
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