Well, this is awkward.
The initial seed of discontentment over the nomenclature used to describe the flat portion of the Dominion of Bernalwood along Mission Street has now become an outright counter-rebellion. MissionLocal reports that business-owners along Bernal’s Mission corridor are in the process of creating a merchant’s association, and the group’s first task is to settle upon a name for the area that is something other than “La Lengua”:
Every revolution has its line-in-the-sand moment. For one architect south of Cesar Chavez, the moment came when locals — and even allegedly some city officials — started using “some hipster name” to refer to the neighborhood: La Lengua.
That translates to “The Tongue” in English, and it left a bad taste in the merchants’ mouths. In fact, they are forming their own merchants association — first meeting today — to rebrand themselves and define their commercial interests in the microhood where Bernal Heights and the outer edges of the Mission meet.
“That stupid name really got everyone listening,” said Harlan Hoffman, an architect with an office and a building on Mission Street, who is one of the main members of the association’s formation committee. “In a good way, that kind of spurred us on, and we decided to go ahead with this plan.”
Harlan Hoffman goes on to say:
“It’s not the Inner Mission, it’s not the Outer Mission — it’s its own thing,” Hoffman said. “We don’t know what to call it yet, but it will certainly not be La Lengua.”
See? Ouch. Awwwwwwkwaaaaaard.
Since the disputed area is, and always shall be, an integral part of the Dominion of Bernalwood, we have no stake in the nomenclature controversy, except to treat it is a local matter that requires local resolution among the indigenous people.
However, we would remind the merchants in the disputed region that there is precedent for what they seek to accomplish, as Bernalwood revealed in this old storefront decal:
Hiding in plain sight on a vacant Mission Street storefront just north of 30th Street, [Neighbor Ben] found a vintage decal which pledges fealty to the “South of Army – Mission Merchants Association.”
Who were these proto-La Lenguans? What can we infer about the people who roamed the flatlands in the days before Army Street became Cesar Chavez Boulevard? The decal’s intimation that “He Knows You – You Know Him” suggests they were a paternalistic tribe that was closely bound by kinship ties and sharply-defined notions of geographic solidarity.
Unfortunately, since Army Street is indeed now called Cesar Chavez, the new merchants association is unlikely to embrace its historic antecedent in toto — which is sort of too bad, because that old graphic is ridiculously fabulous. (Memo to Secession Design: That logo. On a t-shirt. PLEASE!)
Bernalwood has reached out to rebel spokesblogger Burrito Justice, leader of the La Lenguan autonomy movement, for comment on this matter. He promised to release a statement soon, but in the meantime, his activity on Twitter suggests there will be more to come in the days ahead:
UPDATE: 1/14/14, 10 am: Burrito Justice has released a statement, and meme-ready image, regarding the burgeoning nomenclature controversy:
Harlan, here’s what you don’t get — La Lengua doesn’t care what you think. La Lengua just… is. We didn’t try very hard, and La Lengua took off. We are having fun.
You seem angry, Harlan. But the more you try to hate on La Lengua, the stronger it will become.