Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Another great thing about Seattle is that people on the outside don't really know what it's like

They think they do, but they're mistaken, and that makes the city all that more valuable. I mean, when you think of it, how much do folks really know about Seattle? There was 'Sleepless in Seattle', the rise of the grunge scene in the early to mid '90s, and then the WTO protests and afterwards in '99 and '00, but that was anywhere from eleven to twenty years ago. Since then, Seattle has become uncharted territory. The public mojo in the Northwest has moved to Portland, which lately seems to be burning itself out, particularly since the release of Portlandia, leaving Seattle to do its own thing with not a lot of scrutiny. Sure, there are articles here and there about the progressive culture and innovative things happening, but none of it appears to really capture the vibe that actually exists here.

Of course, I can't off the top of my head articulate it either. Perhaps some of it can be found in the lack of self referential understanding that exists here. In my experience, folks in Seattle don't think of themselves as living in a mental construct known as "Seattle", that may or may not correspond with the reality on the street. This applies to other cities in the greater Seattle area. I was bowled over when talking to an acquaintance in the Olympia area who was a native to find out that they really didn't have a notion of what the rest of the world thought about the city, and that they really didn't notice anything different about the grunge scene because they grew up with it. No attempt to spin living in and growing up in Olympia into a false virtue, although 'civic virtue' takes on very strange forms in Olympia sometimes.

Maybe at one point Seattle was bottled and trademarked, but there's not much of that here now outside of the tourist spots downtown, amazingly enough.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

One of the good things about living in Seattle....

I went down to the Seattle Public Library to check out a book in collage format by Max Ernst, and found that it was already out. Hell, the fact that the public library has a book like that by Max Ernst is cause for celebration.