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Opinion

No, your city is not the center of the universe just because you think so

Today I read a humor column that presented the most shrewd, wise, and well-written (and, of course, humorous) opinion on a subject that has been bothering me lately. The problem I speak of is arrogance regarding one’s superiority based on location.

I suppose the underlying cause is stereotyping. I’m sorry to pick on NYCers, and not to stereotype, but they tend to be the worst offenders. Through the course of a day, I read a lot of weblogs. The people behind the weblogs vary in location from west coasters to east coaster to those across the pond. And a few of these bloggers are, of course, New Yorkers. I won’t mention the worst offenders. I’m sorry I couldn’t find more examples, but it’s more of a collective arrogance gleaned through months of reading posts from various weblogs about how great New York is and how much every where else sucks.

I understand that New York is great and holds a world of experiences that I have not yet been able to experience. However, the egocentristic nature of (at least a good number of) New Yorkers tends to write off the Midwest (and when I say Midwest, I mean flyover states) as a bunch of hicks whose existence in cities and towns that don’t have five borroughs must lead to a life of drudgery, conservativeness, non-education, Repulican misguided tendencies, non-culture, and suburban homogeneity.

Argh.

But that’s a STEREOTYPE people. As forward thinking, fun, and open-minded as New Yorkers claim to be (and I’m sure ARE), it’s ironic that they tend to lump the rest of us together. There is culture and beauty outside of NYC. Lots of it. Sure, maybe it’s a little different than NYCers’ definition of culture and beauty, but it’s here. Can they look out their windows every morning and see rugged mountains jutting into the brightening sky? Or take a drive that could include mountains, flat prairie, and colorful badlands? Or go to a museum and see art that basically tells the story of the Old West at ground zero of the Old West? And despite common misconceptions, many in the flyover states appreciate good music from burgeoning independent artists, love taking in art shows, and hold political and humanistic views ranging from liberal to conservative to libertarian and everything in between. And, yes, as a whole we are highly educated and well-spoken.

Also, I must say that not everyone cares to know on a daily basis what’s going on in New York. Just because you care intimately about New York doesn’t mean the rest of us do. Do I want to see constant Blackout 2003 coverage that cuts into regularly scheduled programming? No. Especially since those that cared couldn’t even watch the damn television. Do I care to watch a twenty minute video clip and listen to a diatribe of the coldness (it’s 20 degrees) in NYC when I’m about to head to work in 30 below air temperature? No. I guess I resent the fact that something’s suddenly news if it happened in New York.

This entry has begun to sing a bitter tune, and that’s not really what I wanted. However, I just want someone, anyone, to acknowledge that there is life beyond NYC. Lots of life. And to admit that they are no better and no worse than the rest of us based solely on their chosen geographic location.

Having said all that, I still really want to experience this whole New York thing everyone’s talking about.

And, thank you Nick for making me proud to be from a Northern Plains state. My name is Nicole Swan — originally from Newell, SD, now living in Helena, MT — and I am proud of it.