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The Glory of the Country Life

October 25, 2011

There’s this new movie coming out called “The Greening of Whitney Brown” that is one more entry into the genre of misguided city person moves to country and is fulfilled. This Hollywood myth seems to have long and recurring roots in the minds of movie moguls and is apparently part of the great American folk myth. Like so many folk myths, it is nonsense.
I speak as one who grew up in rural America (Arkansas) and currently lives in rural America (Iowa), all of it in small towns and they suck. Big time.
Rural America is the homeland of half-baked notions, unconsidered beliefs and irrational thought. Small town equals small minds.
No one is dirtier minded than small town people always on the scent of scandal so they revel in and revile another’s missteps. No where are people nosier, more judgmental or more narrow minded than in the country.
And no one in the nation is more likely to be racist, or more quickly bigoted by ethnic group, religious affiliation, political opinion or immigration status than the good old solid down-to-earth country folk.
This is a good place to find lynch mobs and militias, but not tolerance or free will. They build fences around their minds quicker than they do about their fields. They shout and get violent over simple minded positions they never really thought about.
I remember reading a New Yorker writer, who’s name escapes me, writing that city dwellers, with their wide ranging experiences and cohabitants, are the most well adjusted people in the country and I have to agree.
It is still, I understand, a dream of American urban people to move out to the country and live the ‘good life.’ All right if you’re willing to give up culture, art, intelligence, and your privacy in trade. If you’re non-white, I’d forget about it completely.


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