Thursday, April 11, 2013

Quotation Of The Day: Small Towns, Stories, Brain Drain, Leavers, And Stickers Edition

From this Jake Meador review of Rod Dreher's The Little Way of Ruthie Lemming:
Contemporary American storytelling has a funny relationship to small-town America. On the one hand, we can tell stories that show a great love and deep understanding for it, as in NBC's marvelous Friday Night Lights. And yet in my own state of Nebraska, it's become something of a rite of passage for students at our flagship university in Lincoln to bemoan small-town life and vow to flee the state as soon as possible upon graduation. They'll settle in a big coastal city where they'll achieve all sorts of success. They'll finalize their divorce from their small-town roots—and in most cases they'll do so rather happily, as they find opportunities to mock and belittle "flyover country."
The same kind of brain drain is happening in Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota, and North Dakota, and it is wreaking havoc on our region. Worst of all, because the majority of people talking about small-town life are the "leavers" now working in New York, Chicago, D.C., and San Francisco, the image that often emerges is unflattering at best. In contrast, we seldom hear the stories of the "stickers," . . . .

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