Why Things Stay Bad in the Hinterlands
May 05, 2012
Here's a thought: Culture in the hinterlands stays bad because people of means isolate themselves.
My hunch is that many of the well-to-do around here enjoy the quiet small town settings and a fairly open-ended, highly-compensated worklife connected to the local university and capitol (where they can teach and run research facilities and their own projects and consult to the capitol, and maybe co-own an office building, all at the same time, say). But then, for much of their afterhours time, they hop onto jets and go fishing, not in the nearby river, but in the Keys, and go biking, not on our local roads, but in Italy. And when they want to meet up with friends they don't go down to the local bar or bistro but instead plan on sharing a house on one of the coasts. They get all other services privately, as well. Because basically these people seem kind of invisible around here. They're taking up space, and jobs, but are they out and about around the local towns? It doesn't seem like it. The local towns just sink deeper into turn-key malaise. Granted, I bet they do give a chunk to local causes. But, really, if everyone lived where they live then life would be better. (Also, if they lived where they worked and where what they worked on had its impact.)
I even wonder about the local grocery stores. Many seemed staffed by short-termers -- ex-cons and other semi-functional, usually bloated folks. Most aren't exactly seedy here (yet), but I wouldn't think that the 1%'ers of this area shop at them. Do they mail-order their groceries from Dean & Deluca? This might not be as far-fetched as I'm thinking it is. I'm so far out of it that the answer might be: DUH! (Actually, I'm out of it in the sense that I'm actually out there -- and I'm by myself.) When I was growing up I was bag-boy at a nearby grocer that was suitable for anyone to shop at. There isn't such a place here anymore. So I'm guessing that the 1%'ers just don't shop here.
There really aren't places around here for 1%'ers to eat out, either. Maybe that's another: DUH! I do have younger white-collar friends who fly to NYC for the weekend just to briefly get to a decent restaurant scene. And they're down the totem-pole a fair ways. "It's cheap!" they say. Maybe it's just so obvious that our local well-off regularly hop into small planes for dinner in Chicago. Is there a lot of in-home dinner catering going on around here? I have no idea, but I wouldn't be surprised.
My family doc mentioned in passing that the previous night a friend called him up and asked if he wanted to go to the Eagles concert in Denver that night in his private plane -- why not? When you're totally off the charts like we are, living totally locally, walking, riding and canoeing locally -- and not seeing hardly anyone, certainly not the movers'n'shakers -- it makes ya wonder. Actually, I *do* know that a fair number of higher-up locals do live in the way that I'm proposing. I'm out of it in that when I'm out and about I'm by myself. That is, no one is around. But I steadily keep getting clues as to where the well-off locals are: NOT HERE.
They live here, but often their work takes them away and even more often their afterhours takes them away.
So, as I said, I suspect it's a big reason why things stay so sucky around here. ...And also get worse.
I suppose the answer is a blend. The local powerful do spend a lot of personal and work time away from here, spending a lot of money and attention elsewhere. But they're also here and here stays bad because the powerful are becoming coarser in some ways themselves.
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