Happy Birthday, Gertrude Stein!

Even though you’re long dead and really only left Oakland this haunting quote:

“The trouble with Oakland is that when you get there, there isn’t any there there.”

Stein said this after returning to her hometown of Oakland after 30 years to find her childhood house, school, park and synagogue were no longer “there there.” Over the years, the quote has morphed into a disparaging sentiment widely interpreted to mean that the city’s problems were incorrigable. The city rebelled against the misconstrued meaning of the quote by installing Roslyn Mazzilli’s sculpture “There” at Oakland City Center in 1988. (And it looks very 1988.) But at least, 23 years later, it is still “there there.”

Do you think the city’s completely overcome the quote, or do you think the sentiment projected onto the quote still applies?

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