Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Outsider

PBS recently aired Ken Burns' film about the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression of the 1930's. What piqued my interest was the way people west of the Rocky Mountains treated newly arrived refugees who sought work and a better life on the west coast, upwind of the dust storms.

I wondered if up and down the west coast, the way newly transplanted adults and their families currently perceive being the recipients of negative social behavior that started as a result of the Depression and Dust Bowl of the 1930's; if somehow the behavior has passed down generations and morphed into what has become the "Seattle Freeze." poll online shows that over two thirds of respondents believe that the "Seattle Freeze" is real. The possible remnants of a national tragedy, but it's much bigger than just the Freeze. What the specific wheat farmers did to the land in the great plains to cause the Dust Bowl, in conjunction with the Great Depression which had little or nothing to do with the Dust Bowl or its farmers, has remnants of stigmata that triggers a conditioned response that was passed down to younger generations, to outsiders of all types.

Even after sixty years of improvements in cultivation, farmers are still not given the respect they deserve. Most kids today believe their food comes from the supermarket.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


I moved out here from the Midwest in late June of 2012 to escape many things: Extreme temperatures, drought, a state sinking into unimaginable economic circumstances and a rigid impenetrable privileged class system where people who earn nine dollars per hour believe their earning status to be so high that they shun and speak not to people who earn only seven dollars and twenty five cents per hour. These "rich" people are the conspicuous consumers who shudder at the idea of shopping at discount stores, denying themselves access to many products that actually exceed the quality standards of brand name products. Some are called "White Flighters" because they moved out of the city and created smaller villages when Segregation became outlawed. Subsequent generations are safely tucked away in distant housing developments with brand new state-of-the-art schools, inaccessible to pedestrians and other vagabonds.

The "rich" where I once lived have "McMansions" in the "Slumburbs" near the shopping mall on the outskirts of town. Where I live now it's the real deal. The multimillion dollar condominiums overlooking Puget Sound not only symbolize very real potential economic opportunity, but real people who don't need to take on absurdly myopic social mores.