Entries in gangs (2)


What's new in gangsta cred

In one of the most sensible judicial decisions in memory, a New York City judge has ruled that anyone, even wannabe gangstas, have the right to look like idiots in the name of authenticity:

Judge Ruben Franco said that although Julio Martinez may have offended the fashion police with his low-hanging and underwear-exposing pants, his manner of dress didn't deserve a ticket from a cop.

All I can say is that I'm glad that saggy pants wasn't a thing back when I was into things. As bratty suburban teams we roamed the streets at night, rifling cars for cassettes and lobbing eggs at rich folks' houses. We thought we were gangsta -- Colors had just come out, so we upped our cred by wrapping our heads in blue and red bandanas. It was a serious thing though, in some parts of America, and the media tried to spook us with stories about kids inadvertently wearing a red bandana while wandering into crips terrritory and getting shot for their troubles. Even just a few years ago, activists staged protest marches in Harlem after a baseball cap company started selling Yankees caps in the colours of bloods, crips, and the Latin Kings.

But time gentrifies all things eventually, and nowadays tourists can pay $65 to get a gangland tour of south central L.A. Meanwhile, Complex magazine brings us a top-ten list of the most gang-affiliated hats in sports. Surprisingly, the Yankees don't even make the list; number 2 is the Cincinnati Reds, and number one are the LA Dodgers. This is shocking news to Matt Bartosik of NBC Chicago, who concluded a blog post about the Complex story by saying, "Still, it is disturbing to think that a sports hat might not signify loyalty to a favorite team but rather to a band of criminals."



Authenticity Watch: Slum tourism edition

California's a competitive place, perhaps no more so than when it comes to the hamster-wheel of one-upmanship known as competitive authenticity. And so when a group of well-meaning civic activists inaugurated gang tours of LA ("giving tourists a look at the cradle of the nation's gang culture"), it was perhaps inevitable that San Franciscans might look on with some jealousy. Which brings us to Tenderloin Tourism:

But now San Francisco’s civic boosters have decided they want to add a highly unlikely stop to the tourist itinerary: the Uptown Tenderloin, the ragged, druggy and determinedly dingy domain of the city’s most down and out.

And what is the appeal?

“We offer a kind of grittiness you can’t find much anymore,” said Randy Shaw, a longtime San Francisco housing advocate and a driving force behind the idea of Tenderloin tourism. “And what is grittier than the Tenderloin?

Of course, if it's serious gritty authenticity you are looking for, nothing beats getting a tour of Naples by a genuine former mafioso.