I was laying out of this art museum dust up, but Ken Wornick, SVMA board member’s vocal minority comment tipped his hand to how the museum name change cohort really sees things.
Wornick said, “A small and vocal group holds the rest of us hostage. No to the hotel, no to the Oxbow Market, no to redevelopment of the Sonoma Truck Center, no to the door color of an ice cream parlor, and no to a simpler abbreviated name for the museum.”
This is a meme the real minority in town, the local 1%, has promulgated to express their entitled childish tantrums of not getting all they want, and the moon and heaven too. It’s clear now whose and what interests Wornick represents.
Active citizens with an eye for the public interest hold the 1% hostage? Good. It’s hard to feel sorry for a the few 1% guys who don’t get their way with more non-affordable luxury venues, and more monumental projects to their own hubris, or a name change that appears to disenfranchise regular folk who want a bit of High Culture.
Bottom line, if you have a good product, that’s what it’s about, not the frigging name of it, or the “brand”. Branding to me, a 1960s idealist, is the epitome of conspicuous consumption superficiality. If you are authentically good, brand doesn’t matter. Needing to hew to branding, so as to stoke more consumption means either that you aren’t that good to start, or that you want more, more, more, and need to grow, which is exactly what the world doesn’t need.
I think Jim Callahan will find this is not something that will be smoothed over easily, as the 1% keeps on trying to shove their values down the throat of town with more out-of-scale luxury projects that only more 1% actors can afford. The museum name change or the hillside homes, are issues that symbolize the friction and tension between 1% actors and the rest. And while the museum name change is a small issue in the big picture, it does illustrate that framing is critical, and in that very real sense, words are critical markers for delineating where we stand in the world, and what our values are.
The museum name change was the tip of an iceberg of 1% consumerist values foisted on the public as a supposed necessity.
It’s too bad that Wornick equates a mostly benign thing like the art museum with a town culture war with the 1%. In the end, let’s be clear who the real vocal minority here is: it’s the 1%. By any measure, 1% is a minority’s minority, and for the 99% to resist an undue 1% influence is only reasonable.