Mobile Gentrification

If you live in LA, you’ve witnessed the recent rise and domination of the food truck. I’m no expert on the history of food trucks, but I am aware that they didn’t start here. That Portland is screaming, disaffectedly, that they had them first. Except their food trucks had the good sense to stay put in a vacant lot and let the hipsters come to them. I also remember when food trucks were one color (industrial white), had blue-tinted skylight-vents, and were called “roach coaches.” Just to add another subtle layer of racism.

Now we’re witnessing what I’m pretty sure is the gentrification of the mobile lunch cart. All the trucks are painted with logos and designs and have acquired the quirky-yet-palatable aesthetic of half-yuppie, half-hipster. White people love these things and flock to them in droves. The prices are sometimes prohibitive. The food is fancy. Gone are the days when you could just get a sandwich or a taco and those with first dibs usually worked at a car wash. (Exaggeration, but still. The vehicles of yore were often spotted at such establishments.) Now the choices of food truck are so numerous as to make one nauseous, thus undermining their whole business model.

What this trend has done is spread gentrification to a cultural space that one might not think was possible: the truck. A space that transcends space, occupying many. Nothing is safe from this upwardly mobile force. It seeks and destroys all things lower-income and non-model-minority. It lives to please the rich, white hegemonic taste and spreads wherever it can. Colonization is not just for neighborhoods, anymore. Now the gentrification comes to you. It goes everywhere. And it’s edible. It’s the gentrification of food; of the cultural forms that carried it.

This theory is still in the germinating phase, but I stand by it.


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One response to “Mobile Gentrification

  1. Pingback: Meanwhile (Part 2) | words away

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