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Meet me at the corner of Van Ness and Obama

Written By: daveski on February 1, 2009 1 Comment

Seeing the super-giga-sized and somewhat creepy photo of the thousands of people assembled in front of the Capitol building last week for Obama’s inauguration, with its thousands of unsuspecting faces all looking intently toward the speaker in question, made me wonder: how many other things were going on on the same day, in different places?

San Francisco’s claim to fame, or at least one of them, seems to have been the short-lived but much-photographed name change of Bush Street to Obama Street.

End Bush/Begin Obama

(Photo by Dawn Endico on flickr)

Laughing Squid, San Francisco’s popular art, technology and culture blog, reports that a group calling itself the “Concerned Republicans Assaulting Posterity” went up and down Bush Street from Presidio to Battery (a length of almost 30 blocks), conducting what they called a “municipal upgrade” befitting the outcome of the presidential election. Check out the video below to see some of the action.

Predictably, some commenters on Laughing Squid and other blogs called this act completely misplaced, even criminal–after all, they say, Bush Street wasn’t named for G.W. Bush in the 21st century or even his father at the end of the 20th, but (most likely) a young man named J.P. Bush who ended up helping to map the city’s modern streets in 1847. And the San Francisco Examiner story said that, also predictably, city officials were complaining that given the scale of the operation and the messiness of the adhesive used to affix the Obama stickers, this was “more in the category of vandalizing city property rather than a humorous political stunt.”

What’s interesting to me is to see photos of the ‘municipal upgrade crew’ with people who appear to be SF police and fire officers — nameless and rendered unidentifiable in the images, of course, but apparently taking in stride (and maybe even enjoying) the celebratory inversion of authority, the people’s remapping of the city, if only for a day…

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One Response to “Meet me at the corner of Van Ness and Obama”

  1. Youki on: 1 February 2009 at 2:27 am

    how interesting. I wonder how long the stickers stayed up, because the group in the video says they put them up at midnight, and in the picture above it’s clearly daytime. Although, looking at the 1st group’s stickers and the 2nd group’s stickers, both look different from the picture, so maybe there was a 3rd group as well?

    what a great find, thanks for sharing!

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