[Vision2020] Small Towns?

Donovan Arnold donovanarnold at hotmail.com
Sat Aug 7 16:32:10 PDT 2004

Joan Writes:

"This is what makes small town life simultaneously so interesting, so 
familiar, and so awful.  If I wanted to be anonymous, I'd go back to 
Raleigh, NC, population 310,000.  Sometimes, I'm tempted; at other times, I 
wouldn't dream of it."

My grandfather use to say; "The best thing about living in Moscow is that 
everybody knows you, and the worst thing about living in Moscow is that 
everybody knows you".

Donovan J Arnold

>From: "Joan Opyr" <auntiestablishment at hotmail.com>
>To: "Vision2020 Moscow" <vision2020 at moscow.com>
>Subject: Re: [Vision2020] Small Towns?
>Date: Sat, 7 Aug 2004 16:12:10 -0700
> >From Ted's post:
> >Auntie writes: "What our proximity to one another does is make us more 
>cautious about leveling criticism."
> >Judging from the flamings between locals on V2020, I wonder how true this 
>really is.  Maybe the assumption we know >each other better leads to less 
>fear about what will happen if we criticize each other, because we may 
>assume there is >less danger of someone going psycho than there is in a big 
>Perhaps I should clarify my original observation.  Who feels most free in 
>this town to level criticism and/or launch a flame war?  Those of us who 
>least fear retaliation, either subtle or overt.  Those of us who don't need 
>contracts with the county or city, who can't be fired, and who won't lose 
>business because of what we say or do.  I am free to say what I say in 
>large part because I'm outside the system.  I work for myself.  I'm not 
>going to fire me, or fail to promote me, or in any other way harm my 
>prospects by voicing my opinion.  (It's certainly the case, however, that 
>I've rendered myself unemployable in certain segments of Moscow.  I have 
>years of writing/editing experience, but I'm not being head hunted by Canon 
>Press . . . well, not in the good sense of that term, anyway.)
> >I am also not so sure about the assumption we really know each other 
>better in a small town than in a big city.  The >populations of small towns 
>often assume they know each other better, and this quick, easy assumption 
>can lead to >incomplete or stereotyped notions about who others are.  Then 
>people get trapped in rigid oversimplified stereotypes >that become how 
>someone is seen, leading to less real understanding of who that person is 
>in their totality, stereotypes >that do not allow for change.
>I agree about the danger of generating stereotypes, but we do know each 
>other superficially here in a way that people don't know one another in 
>large cities.  For example, before I met you online, Ted, or knew that you 
>were my near neighbor, I knew that my Uncle-in-law Doug Amos had gone to 
>high school with you.  I knew the names of your parents, and that your dad 
>was in the military.  I knew that you'd studied philosophy at the U of I 
>and that you were a bright student; Melynda had a class with you when she 
>was an undergraduate.  Later on, I met your landlord (and for a brief time, 
>my father-in-law was your landlord) and so I learned how much rent he 
>charged for your house.
>I'm not collecting this information for blackmail purposes, and I'm not 
>stalking you, I swear.  I'm just illustrating a point -- that it's possible 
>to access a certain level of knowledge about one another in this small town 
>that you'd need a private detective to access in a large city.  Does this 
>superficial knowledge mean that I really knew you before I knew you?  No, 
>but it was a start.  When you meet someone for the first time in Moscow, 
>you tick the name off on a little mental list, and then you cross reference 
>it with your friends and family and generate a preliminary portrait of your 
>new acquaintance.  This is what makes small town life simultaneously so 
>interesting, so familiar, and so awful.  If I wanted to be anonymous, I'd 
>go back to Raleigh, NC, population 310,000.  Sometimes, I'm tempted; at 
>other times, I wouldn't dream of it.
> >How many people flee small towns because they feel misunderstood with 
>little hope for this to change?  You can find a >thousand novels and songs 
>based on this theme.
>And at least 99% of the Country Music Billboard Top Forty.  Small town life 
>is both stifling and exhilarating, kind of like marriage.  How many others, 
>though, are fleeing the city, boarding that midnight train to Georgia and 
>going back to find that simpler place and time?  I've got to go, I've got 
>to go, I've got to go . . .
>Sorry.  I was possessed for a moment there by the spirit of Gladys Knight  
>It happens sometimes.
>Joan Opyr/Auntie Establishment
>PS: I also know that you love, love, love Jane Siberry, Ted, but you have 
>only yourself to blame for that.  I'd never have known if you hadn't 
>publicly confessed! Get more from the Web.  FREE MSN Explorer download : 
>  List services made available by First Step Internet,
>  serving the communities of the Palouse since 1994.
>                http://www.fsr.net
>           mailto:Vision2020 at moscow.com

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