Friday, November 16, 2018

Civic Pride

I have many half-completed posts and even more with only a few notes scratched, but combining work with being face down and now the first snowstorm of the season - a good introductory snow; 5" of light stuff, no wind, snowblower started on the first try - I just can't get to it.  I'll see if I can catch up this weekend.  I'll get this one in tonight anyway.

There are very few places in the country that can claim to be entirely superior places to live because everything is happening there.  New York and LA both assert this for entertainment, sports, business, lifestyle. People in those places do not even take the claims of other cities seriously.  The hedonist crowd might make a claim for Miami and South Beach; Boston used to call itself the Hub of the Universe with only some exaggeration, but that looks a bit shabby now, even with dominant sports teams and high-tech second only to Silicon Valley; anywhere else? DC, I suppose, simply for the concentration of power and influence.  There isn’t anything quite like that elsewhere.  Lots of places make the claim they wouldn’t live anywhere else because of one superiority or another, so that even Twin Cities or Portland or Honolulu or Denver have advocates. Plus, places have superiority because they are simply home and our sort of people, the best sort of people and activities are there.  That’s certainly my view. NYC can say that everything is happening there, but nothing that is happening there is of any interest to me. You can run into famous people all the time in LA! Very cool, except I might not even recognize them, unless they are a lot like the pictures from the checkout lines. (Sandra Bullock is pregnant at 54?  Can this be so?  I am upset.) Even athletes I know a lot about I haven’t seen.  Every once in a while I will realise with amusement that a player I thought was white is black, or vice-versa. No, really, everything of importance is happening in Goffstown or Bedford. The rest of New Hampshire causes me to at least perk up my ears. But Vermont or Rhode Island could empty and I’d know about it only secondhand. (Actually, Vermont did mostly empty in the mid 19th C.  They moved to Ohio and Indiana, I hear.) I guess I need Logan Airport for international flights.  And the New England Aquarium is there, though I suppose I could give that up.

There is something to this idea of a very few prime places, and not just for some minority of people who care about being where the action is.  Even I can see that San Francisco, however much some people prefer it, doesn’t have what LA has and never will. People have loyalty to their cities, but no one grows up in South Dakota with a dream of blowing this two-bit town and moving to Philly or Seattle. Okay, people in Alaska do dream of moving to Seattle.  Special case. Black people keep saying they’re going to move to Atlanta, according to a SWPL-imitator of a decade ago. I have heard that people from the Commonwealth consider Toronto a destination.  That seems completely out of hand, but Jamaicans love it.

People are very proud of being from Chicago, but I detect less enthusiasm for large numbers wanting to be there. Anywhere else?


Christopher B said...

Similar to Chicago, I'm consistently amazed by the number of people I run into with Iowa connections.

james said...

"Madison: 77 square miles surrounded by reality"

Texan99 said...

We spent a summer in San Francisco when I was 12, a magical experience. My parents had traveled there 20 years earlier from East Texas and Kansas to attend school and had found something similar to what I saw in 1968: not just a big city, which was startling enough, but a cosmopolitan, charming, picturesque city out of a dream. It was as exotic as Samarkand. I detest large, congested cities now, but the San Francisco of that era is still my idea of a true city, something worth giving up the countryside for.