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13

A millennial good fellowship: the San Francisco earthquake

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terms
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notes

Solnit, R. (2010). A millennial good fellowship: the San Francisco earthquake. In Solnit, R. A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster. Penguin Books, pp. 13-72

18

[...] Many no longer believe that a better world, as opposed to a better life, is possible, and the rhetoric of private well-being trumps public good, at least in the English-speaking world. And yet the yearning remains—all the riches piled up, the security gates and stock options, are only defenses against a world of insecurity and animosity, piecemeal solutions to a pervasive problem. Sometimes it seems as though home improvement has trumped the idealistic notion of a better world. Sometimes. But utopia flares up in other parts of the world, where hope is fiercer and dreams are larger.

—p.18 by Rebecca Solnit 1 year ago

[...] Many no longer believe that a better world, as opposed to a better life, is possible, and the rhetoric of private well-being trumps public good, at least in the English-speaking world. And yet the yearning remains—all the riches piled up, the security gates and stock options, are only defenses against a world of insecurity and animosity, piecemeal solutions to a pervasive problem. Sometimes it seems as though home improvement has trumped the idealistic notion of a better world. Sometimes. But utopia flares up in other parts of the world, where hope is fiercer and dreams are larger.

—p.18 by Rebecca Solnit 1 year ago
28

It's not as though hunger did not exist in San Francisco before April 18, though it was less visible and less widespread; the city was in 1906 a many-tiered society with enormous opulence at the top and grim destitution at the bottom. It's tempting to ask why if you fed your neighbors during the time of the earthquake and fire, you didn't do so before or after. One reason was that you were not focused on long-term plans—giving away thousands of pounds of meat was, of course, not profitable for Miller & Lux, but in the days after the disaster there were no long-term plans, just the immediate demands of survival. Another is social: people at that moment felt a solidarity and an empathy for each other that they did not at other times. They were literally in proximity to each other, the walls literally fallen away from around them as they clustered in squares and parks, moved stoves out onto the street to cook, lined up for supplies. They had all survived the same ordeal. They were members of the same society, and it had been threatened by the calamity.

—p.28 by Rebecca Solnit 1 year ago

It's not as though hunger did not exist in San Francisco before April 18, though it was less visible and less widespread; the city was in 1906 a many-tiered society with enormous opulence at the top and grim destitution at the bottom. It's tempting to ask why if you fed your neighbors during the time of the earthquake and fire, you didn't do so before or after. One reason was that you were not focused on long-term plans—giving away thousands of pounds of meat was, of course, not profitable for Miller & Lux, but in the days after the disaster there were no long-term plans, just the immediate demands of survival. Another is social: people at that moment felt a solidarity and an empathy for each other that they did not at other times. They were literally in proximity to each other, the walls literally fallen away from around them as they clustered in squares and parks, moved stoves out onto the street to cook, lined up for supplies. They had all survived the same ordeal. They were members of the same society, and it had been threatened by the calamity.

—p.28 by Rebecca Solnit 1 year ago

calmness and composure, especially in a difficult situation

29

Generosity was one highlight of the postquake citizenry, equanimity was another.

—p.29 by Rebecca Solnit
notable
1 year ago

Generosity was one highlight of the postquake citizenry, equanimity was another.

—p.29 by Rebecca Solnit
notable
1 year ago
46

Employer-employee relations were turbulent all through this period. A story by the Argonaut, which served the elite of San Francisco, complained in July of "the extreme scarcity of house servants, although there are many thousands of people out of employment. The Relief Committee frequently receives communications asking where all the female servants have gone. According to General Greeley, it seems the relief camps are full of idle domestics." The general remarked, "The sooner this feeding of able-bodied m en and wom en is stopped, the better it will be for the city." The Argonaut admitted the following week that there were few "drones" in the camps, though only six of one thousand wom en accepted employment when it was offered to them. The Bulletin had run a more sympathetic piece, "The Dignity of Labor," in late May, which itemized some of the callous treatm ent m eted out to women servants during the earthquake and reported that w ith the dearth of servants "mistresses who have been the severest of taskmasters . . . have been forced into the position of the scorned menials, and a strange world opens before their startled eyes." The journalist Jane Carr saw the disaster as a great leveler and liberator, though not everyone was eager to be leveled or happy others had been freed from drudgery.

lmao mask off

—p.46 by Rebecca Solnit 1 year ago

Employer-employee relations were turbulent all through this period. A story by the Argonaut, which served the elite of San Francisco, complained in July of "the extreme scarcity of house servants, although there are many thousands of people out of employment. The Relief Committee frequently receives communications asking where all the female servants have gone. According to General Greeley, it seems the relief camps are full of idle domestics." The general remarked, "The sooner this feeding of able-bodied m en and wom en is stopped, the better it will be for the city." The Argonaut admitted the following week that there were few "drones" in the camps, though only six of one thousand wom en accepted employment when it was offered to them. The Bulletin had run a more sympathetic piece, "The Dignity of Labor," in late May, which itemized some of the callous treatm ent m eted out to women servants during the earthquake and reported that w ith the dearth of servants "mistresses who have been the severest of taskmasters . . . have been forced into the position of the scorned menials, and a strange world opens before their startled eyes." The journalist Jane Carr saw the disaster as a great leveler and liberator, though not everyone was eager to be leveled or happy others had been freed from drudgery.

lmao mask off

—p.46 by Rebecca Solnit 1 year ago