[Vision2020] Small Towns?
donovanarnold at hotmail.com
Sat Aug 7 16:32:10 PDT 2004
"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.
> mailto:Vision2020 at moscow.com
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