Better a Witty Fool than a Foolish Wit

Inner Workings of My Twisted Mind.

San Francisco Intelligensia

So I’m sorry I’ve been incommunicado for a while.  I’ve decided to work less and oddly enough am not working any less.  Hmmm, thank you parents for instilling me with ridiculous work ethic.  Anyway, I believe when we left our heroine (that would be me) she was all hot and bothered about two lovely lady writers that she looked up to.  Yes, as I predicted Diablo Cody was nominated for that Oscar.  But more importantly I got to hang out with Beth Lisick after her event. 

Beth’s totally the kind of lady you want to go to a super divey bar with, and that’s just what we booksoupers did.  We went to a place called Little Joy in Echo Park, which you wouldn’t know by the sign since it’s been shot out (literally there was a shoot out and a stray bullet hit the sign).  But it was awesome and I got to hang out with a bunch of Bay Area homies who made me miss San Francisco even more. 

This outing and the conversations that ensued got me thinking about intelligensia for some reason.  I remember being in college and having to read about the Russian Intelligensia or the Algonquin Round Table or the Lost Generation of writers and I always thought, why don’t we have those around any more?  You know, even the Beat Generation hung out at divey bars and got drunk together and discussed literature.  What’s up with this generation of writers? 

So after doing a minute bit of research I realized that (as usual) I had simply come to a wrong assumption.  As it turns out a modern intelligensia was sitting right under my nose.  I just had yet to discover it. 

This actually dates back to my culture email a few weeks ago where I promised to start reading ‘The New Yorker’ and ‘Playboy’ to help culture myself further.  In an extension of that I decided that maybe McSweeney’s was the way to high culture.  For those of you who aren’t ridiculously pretentious, McSweeney’s is a publication of Dave Eggers.  It’s a quarterly pretentious lit mag thing and they dress it up all nice and sell it for $25 a pop.  I’m not a huge McSweeneys fan, but they do publish a monthly magazine that I love.  It’s called the Believer and it’s my pretentious lit mag that isn’t quite so high-brow because, let’s face it, I’m a low brow kind of girl.  Anyway, all these publications are located (conveniently enough) on Valencia St. in San Francisco. 

I realized that Dave Eggers, Beth Lisick and, as I soon remembered, Michael Chabon (author of my favorite book ‘The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay’ all live in or around San Francisco.  And, after looking on the Believer credits, I realized that authors I love like Vendela Vida and David Foster Wallace (don’t think he lives in the Bay Area) are also associated with what I’m going to term the Golden Gate Circle (I know it’s not original, I made it up right now).  
I have to say, growing up on the West Coast, I’ve always looked Eastward for the intelligensia.  New York, London, Paris, and Vienna always seemed to hold the greatest minds for art and literature, but it seems that smart people are cropping up in California too.  Go us!  For the very first time we have a circle of intellectuals who have congregated here on the ‘Left Coast.’  And I’m extending a message of gratitude to Eggers, Vida, Chabon, Lisick and everyone else for taking us out of the image of the hippie movement to an image of intellectual maturity and excellence.  The Golden Gate Circle is proving that California is more than just a place where wine and plastic surgery come from.  It’s a place where we have culture.  Culture beyond the San Fernando Valley, beyond Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian.  We finally done good.
Peace, Love, and Pretentious Literary Circles,

Julia 

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January 29, 2008 - Posted by | Books, Culture, Literature, San Francisco

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