Grand Arbiter of Scum


Photographer Gretchen Robinette captured a piece of perfection over the weekend. First published by SF Weekly, it quickly took the internet by storm.

Local blogger Megan Allison spread the word, calling it “the new face of irony.” Tim Dickinson of Rolling Stone weighed in, declaring the photographa definitional case of the Narcissism of Small Differences.”

And then our very own zinzin came along and delivered probably my favorite commentary yet. If the kid in the picture doesn’t immediately upon hearing his new moniker launch himself into a career in the music industry making records and touring the world as Grand Arbiter of Scum, he’s fooling himself.

Incidentally, this is his second appearance on Mission Mission. I don’t recall whether he was the one that actually uttered the haiku, but he was definitely a member of the crew depicted in Skate-Punk Poetry Overheard Outside the Nice Lady Store.

Thanks, everybody!

Link to photo in Gretchen Robinette’s Flickr photostream.

Update (Tuesday night): Again, I’m not going to censor anybody, but please try to refrain from making death threats or things of that nature in the comments section.

Also, Gretchen Robinette just posted a new version of the photo, properly exposed and with the addition of a second subject, cropped out of the image above. Check it out!

Update (Mid-February): Tim Dickinson changed his Twitter handle, rendering the above hyperlink erroneous. Try this.

52 Responses to “Grand Arbiter of Scum”

  1. Jack says:

    This fellow can be found sitting outside of Muddy’s at 16th & valencia most nights.

  2. brian says:

    Maybe he’s just stopped to write a rebuttal poster?

  3. Zinzin says:

    This fellow needs to gets life.

    He’s kind of cute in a Charlie Brown / Shleprock sort of way though.

    Thx Allan for the kind words.

  4. giant fur diaper says:

    What’s more telling is this media-induced reductionist sickness of making a caricature of everything and everyone so it is easily digestible, readily mocked with no empathy, compassion or responsibility. Entirely dehumanized.

    The corporate mind-f*ck is complete.

  5. f1peeps says:

    nice rainbow grocery bag.

  6. Zinzin says:

    @giant fur


  7. Josh says:

    I’ve seen that guy doodle all over the 22. I fucking hate when people do that. People like him and the drunken marina girls I saw on BART last weekend are why we can’t have nice things.

  8. Zinzin says:

    many folks on here won’t distinguish between a selfish child scribbling on a bus and actual street art.

    Fine line admittedly.

    But watch out.

  9. Katie Ann says:

    he makes me want to punch someone in the face.

  10. daylurker says:

    i see this kid everywhere. we all do.

  11. jeff-ro says:

    I’ve seen charlie brown at Dolores but only within the last year (with his uber hipster crew of course). Probably isn’t local. Maybe he graduated middle school and his mom finally let him cross the street on his own.

  12. henry says:

    Maybe relevant. For the record I thought this was an awful article though. In his defense I’m sure most of us reading this blog could just as easily be described as hipster by some other hipster. Worst word ever.

  13. Allan Hough says:

    The neighborhood is kind of like one big Strokes concert. Everybody looking around at everybody else going, “Ugh, look at all these Strokes fans.”

  14. Zinzin says:

    For the record I personally have nothing against hipsters and count myself among their numbers.

    There are selfish, narrow minded, shallow idiots in every demographic and social group.

    I don’t think those things define hipsters.

  15. Matt says:

    Hello Fellow Contributors to Mission Gentrification,

    This kid is getting labeled ‘hipster’ because he’s a teenager in the mission

    He’s a mission native

    I’m not buds with him but he’s always been pretty nice

    Not only has his neighborhood been transformed, but now you nerds are getting all heated and talking shit because he’s doing some protesting against it.

    This isn’t a sob story or anything, I just wanted to call you all assholes.

    also, that sign is fucking awesome!

    See you at Philz,

    Matt G

  16. Katie Ann says:

    wait! the guy looks like the cartoon teenage boy on American Dad!

  17. zinzin says:

    he’s a teenager? really? meaning, he’s younger than 20? and he hangs out in front of a coffee shop every night?

    is this all the same guy?

    well, “teenager” certainly explains things, and characterizes the whole “movement /cause” thing quite well. and explains the ‘fit.

    that said, if it’s true, then “his” neighborhood was “transformed” when he was fucking 5 years old.

    this is all politics aside, of course.

  18. zinzin says:

    and all THAT said, i just read on the Mission Local blog (certainly no bastion of journalistic excellence in my opinion, but whatever) that the powers that be – Campos and Elsbernd, bless their crooked “progressive” hearts – have received “over 500″ anti-AA letters and “around 5″ from folks that think AA would be fine. no idea if it’s true…

    we all know that i think the anti-AA “movement” is a sham…but you gotta give props for mobilization.

    and shame on the complainers that didnt send a letter. charlie brown’s protector here is right…assholes. complaining without doing anything about it is just lame and lazy.

    i imagine next we’ll be protesting….what? god i can’t even think of anything even remotely funny or sarcastic to say. i mean, in other hoods, the nimby armies keep shit out to maintain narrow order. hayes valley or noe valley or north beach (which is really telegraph hill).

    in the mission, they’re keeping shit out to maintain blight. fucking scary if you ask me.

  19. Will says:

    Jeff-ro probably isn’t a native. This kid definitely is. Are blogs really just made for the biggest losers on the planet to make fun of people who actually go out and do things instead of take lame pictures and write lame comments about them? I guess so. Giant fur, Matt and henry are right. And Katie Ann needs some serious help. I hope she gets stabbed after punching someone. Mission Mission is the type of hipster scum that I hate. This blog makes me understand what “Hipster Scum Sucks” means. Leave the kid alone.

    Zin zin is reasonable as always. And Alan fuckwad would have no one reading this blog if it wasn’t for at least one guy who knew something about anything. We all sound stupid talking to ourselves, so you will never hear from me again.

    Also this: in an age that bleeds sincerity, irony and sarcasm are useful counterweights and people laugh when they hear it. In an age of sarcasm and irony (like this one) it’s the cowards that engage in it, and there’s no laughter or intelligence involved. Good luck with your blogs!


  20. zinzin says:

    um, thanks will.

    but really, you don’t see the irony in the pic?

    really really?

  21. johnny0 says:

    Please vote: is he an ironic or iconic hipster?

  22. Justin says:

    I’ve seen this kids at protests all the time, as part of the “black block” group of “anarcho-activists.” Ugh.

  23. Eric says:

    The hipster/anti-hipster thing is soooo 2 years ago. This guy probably still lived with his parents back then.

  24. doobie says:

    hands down hes the most nattive sf kid i know, everyone knows him everyone loves him. dont be jealous that he has balls to write on the 22. muni sucks anyways. and he still lives with his parents assholes.

  25. if i had known this would generate so much buzz i would have exposed the image correctly. i was probably also wearing american apprel underwear when i shot this.!go figure. he;s just a dude named George, not an icon for the irony.

  26. And to Will: Blog comments are for the cowards that talk shit in the cyber world and do nothing in reality to change what they so venemently stand for. We all hope to never hear from your uneventful ass again.

  27. giant fur diaper says:


    The only irony I see here is that seeing the irony in that photo is considered insightful and cool, acceptable even. It definitely isn’t…it most certainly isn’t…and that just plain sucks balls–in a you-wouldn’t-want-to type way.

  28. Allan Hough says:

    It’s unacceptable to see irony in a photo? What the fuck are we talking about?

  29. giant fur diaper says:

    You can’t expect to understand the third part if you didn’t get the first two.

  30. katie says:

    he once hawked a giant loogie on the sidewalk, a foot away of me eating a schwerma (spelling? who cares.)

  31. A Paul D. says:

    I’m with katie. The loogie hawking, you know, guy. He’s just offensive. Burn him at the stake!!

  32. zinzin says:

    @giant fur diaper

    you’re consistently unintelligible. purposefully so, it seems.

    is there an online translator or something?

  33. dolface says:

    The kid grew up next door to me on 18th and Valencia; he’s about as native as they come.

  34. [...] Background and commentary. [...]

  35. johnny0 says:

    Looks like the kid’s friends are stuffing the poll for iconic hipster. Guess they took offence to the “first AA employee” beating out “ironic”…

  36. fn says:

    yeea. this is stupid.

  37. SFDoggy says:

    This picture is truly hilarious and reveals the mass of contradictions around the anti-AA movement. No one really knows what it is they are trying to protect from whom, but they are all sure that chain stores are bad, bad, bad.

  38. R H says:

    Will: how do you define “Native”? What is a mission native? Do you have to be born in an alley behind the New Mission Market to qualify?

  39. [...] UPDATE 2: Gretchen Robinette shot this photo of a “No More Hipster Scum” sign being made at the Feburary 1st American Apparel protest. People are finding it a bit ironic. [...]

  40. RICK! says:

    Your definition of hipster: Word I use to roundly dismiss complete strangers, ensuring I will always have someone to look down on because I’m small, insecure asshole.

    Goth…yuppie..hipster. You know the the definition is? People who are not me or my friends.

    I see a kid investing in community, but this thread full of assholes who with worthless opinions about Mission and its denizens and I’m convinced have never once lifted a finger to invest in their neighborhood. Because if they did, they’d know how hard it is to bring people together and how easy it is to be a sneering, divisive prick who sits on their ass and bitches about people sitting on their ass and bitching.

    AA isn’t going to ruin the City, neither are badly-dressed kids. Its turds who’s only contribution to SF is to thumb their nose at their neighbors over sad, worn-out stereotypes.

    I have never felt more let down by my hometown then when I read some of these comments. You don’t deserve this City and the hard work some of us put in to make it great.

  41. Allan Hough says:

    Rick, I’ve appreciated most of what you’ve had to say on the issue, but I must point out: It was not a Mission Mission reader to first use the word hipster divisively. It was the kid “investing in community.”

  42. Allan Hough says:

    I mean, presuming he made the sign of course.

  43. RICK! says:

    True. We are all biased, readily slapping labels on people to save ourselves the trouble of getting to know someone.

    I would be exhausted if I spent all my time calling people on prejudices, however it angers me, as an event organizer myself, when do-nothings roundly condemn anyone who not only takes a stand but actually DOES something about it. Even if its a stand I don’t agree with, I applauded their conviction and will gladly backhand those who would rest on the laurels while shooting spitballs on those who strive to elevate us all.

  44. Allan Hough says:

    I hear what you’re saying. And I’m not always thrilled with the bile and name calling I see here in the comments. But, I had a thought about that.

    Looking at the blog’s traffic, I see that there are exponentially more non-commenting readers than commenting ones. And I feel like if these bilious arguments spur even one of them to think a little more critically about some issue, job well done.

    So I don’t think everyone here is automatically a do-nothing. Maybe they’re stuck in an office, maybe they’ve got family responsibilities, or whatever real-life stuff going on that precludes them from taking their anger and energy to the street.

  45. RICK! says:


    I know MissionMission is a front for a hate group or that you encourage such behavior. Also not everyone who reads MM, would rather stay home with a Seinfeld DVD then support local art and music. I do, however, know that Who Can Do, Those Who Can’t Comment.

    Some of these people just needed to be called on their poor attitude to their fellow SFiscan.

    As my mom always said, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, try the Internet.”

  46. Allan Hough says:

    Your mom sounds cool.

  47. Clapback. says:

    He’s hella local, hella under 20, and hella annoying. BUT, he can’t be blamed for being pissed that everyone moved to his neighborhood and started dressing like him. Shit, I did.

  48. hiptrigger says:

    Forget hipster & irony ..this is about SoCalifornication infiltrating a decent hood in a clever disguise. AA is a harmless “gateway” drug to either upscale brandname gentrification which the Mission absolutely does not need (for the greater good of the city since there is so much of this already.) …or the real deal in it’s vilest form: Burger King, Arby’s, Jiffy Lube and so on. There’s enough of that blight, thank you.
    While the protest is a bit silly, I’d rather see a design co-op in the space featuring local designers or something similar.. anything but a brand name. Really the best would be if was something Latino as well ….as the soul of the Mission is being driven-out by ironic hipster scum who may or may not be wearing skinny pants from LA.

  49. andy says:

    i dont think he’s actually pissed. i know him and have known him for years b/c he’s buddies with my little brother. i think he’s 18 or something like that. he’s always younger than i think he is. hangs out at coffee shops all day but got straight a’s at school – comes from a nice caring family and all that.

    like i said, i doubt he’s “sincerely” “pissed.” probably thinks its really really funny to make people eat their own shit. oh, and btw, black bloc or not… whatever he’s like 18! when i was that age i probably thought jokes like that would smash the state too.

    give the kid a break and take a joke b/c the joke is on you/us and its mildly humorous.

  50. baynikkuh says:

    This kid is Named George Crampton he ‘writes’ “Euro” and “Camaro”, he’s all over the mission district, dolores park, or muddy waters on any given day. Rumor had it that he was the one that threw the home-made, c02 canister (i.e. metal fragmenting) m1000 on the fourth of july where that girl got her finger blown off as well.

  51. lardtub says:

    baynikuh- shame on you! you should know better than to try to out people for graffiti.
    i’m going to come to your house, wait until you do something illegal, and then slam you for it all over he internet. and p.s. he didn’t throw the m1000. you are full of misinformation. that isn’t even a rumor anymore because most people know better.
    i know i am commenting way after the comment storm is over, but this guy is, as some people have mentioned, a mission native. i’ve seen photos of him as a child and he had on the exact same pair of glasses, same haircut, same clothes as he does now.
    the fact is, hipsters know that they are fake…so they wouldn’t be caught dead making a sign like this in public. they would talk about it for days but the second there was a threat of someone capturing their bullshit on film they would scurry away to pop’s to do coke in the bathroom and only play one thin lizzy song on the jukebox.

  52. [...] and remember this kid? Discussion on Mission Mission (52 comments!) has turned to the Grand Arbiter’s actual [...]

  53. [...] Grand Arbiter of Fares Remember our favorite hipster kid, the Grand Arbiter of Scum? [...]

  54. Ford says:

    I just have to say, as a completely objective third party only chancing upon this post through numerous links from completely unrelated websites, that all of you sound like assholes. You all are discussing and getting angered at the potential of irony in a photo of some kid being as stupid as the rest of you sound, as if you were world leaders discussing a topic of actual value and relevancy to the rest of the world. Who…the…hell..cares?

    The only irony I see is the irony of imbecilic comments from people who think their opinions matters to anyone with more than half a brain.

    Kbye :)

  55. [...] on somebody’s face or not. So, rest assured, if the Google Maps Street View car catches El Arbitro de Cola de Espuma committing a crime, in costume, it won’t do the prosecution any [...]

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