Friday, March 27, 2015

Huh.  There was a big mocking to-do last winter when San Francisco's beloved Borderlands bookstore encountered the city's dung-brained minimum-wage increase and the owners' budget keeled over and died.  Much mockery of the liberal-leftist urban economic mindset, all right-thinking libertarians had a field day.

Then this happened.  I'm not sure whether to characterize it as social media meets "other people's money", or the continuing revival of the early-modern patronage system, but bunches of butthurt SF SF&fantasy fans kicked in a lot of money to float the cost of the increased wages for a year.  The owners of Borderlands managed to find a way to monetize urbanite nerdcore cultural status-anxiety by turning their store into a sort of open-doors social club.  I don't know how deep the money-well is for this sort of thing, or whether it will only work for "landmark" cases, and all the marginal outfits which either aren't "club-able" or can't swing the necessary publicity will fall by the wayside, but I have to wonder if this is the gateway to that glittering technocratic neo-Victorianism that Neal Stephenson was on about in The Diamond Age.  We'll see if they eventually pull up the draw-bridges and exclude the wrong sort from dirtying their nice new high-tone clubs.  I rather suspect that the doormen will be theoretically oriented towards ideological outliers, but in practice will tend towards keeping out the smelly street-trash.