We don’t much like it when nothingburger towns like Albuquerque, Des Moines, and Omaha are held up to us as shining examples of eco-devo marketing savvy, as urban paragons that are doing everything right, and attracting swarms of those oh-so-demographically-desirable young professionals.
That’s why we’re earnestly seeking to re-build, re-brand, and re-imagine ourselves, so that we can get our own bumper crop of the young, the talented, the ambitious and the snooty. They’ll put our economy into overdrive, they’ll breathe new life into the arts, they’ll support regional initiatives to make this a better, more exciting, world-class city. We’ll grow (sustainably – these folks are green!), we’ll prosper, and we’ll all benefit…or will we?
Listen, people, think a little more carefully!
Who are we? We’re flyover folks, people who a.) deliberately decided on a simple, slow-paced life or b.) couldn’t make it in a real city. We lack either ambition or competence – and probably both.
That’s fine. Our faults are actually virtues. A city full of dull-witted underachievers is an easy place to live, with low taxes (we don’t want much) and low property values (we can’t afford much). What happens when the place is overrun by young hotshots?
Nothing good. Let’s be honest with ourselves: we’re mediocre. Mediocre journalists (that’s me!) will lose their jobs, displaced by better ones. Artists who have worked so diligently to make this a friendly, welcoming place for the arts will be relegated to obscurity by talented newcomers. Actors, musicians, elected officials, small businesses, bars, restaurants – all swept away, victims of the “creative destruction” so accurately described by Joseph Schumpeter.
We’ll be on the sidelines, broke and despondent. The glittering, twittering liberal elites who will run things will recreate our city, all right – without us.
So maybe we should just be proud of our city’s disastrous national image. We should brag, not apologize! Our enlightened self-interest requires that we redirect those talented newcomers to Denver and Albuquerque – not here.
So when you’re travelling to New York or California, emphasize the negative!
“No, Pikes Peak isn’t even nearby – and we’re going to level the Garden of the Gods to make a new mega-church. And taxes are really, really high – and we think that Sarah Palin is much too liberal! And you have to own a gun to vote! And 300 days of sunshine – that’s 300 days a decade, not 300 a year!”
So let’s rejoice in our mediocrity, keep our poorly- paying jobs, live in our shabby, underpriced houses – and be glad that we live in the best city in America…as long as we keep our mouths shut!