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Thread: Regional Myths

  1. #1
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Regional Myths

    Angelyn Davis’ recent thread about Hawaii was very interesting. She mentions where the whole Island Paradise fantasy ends and the real environment and some of its attendant difficulties begin. It encouraged me to wonder what other ‘fantasy’ or mythic reputation/qualities surround other states, communities or regions, and just how do the myths stack up against the realities?

    I’d love to move to Montana. You know, the Land of the Big Sky. Out there the air is clean and people are strong, healthy and lead vigorous lives (almost everyone works on a ranch or a related industry I believe). It is the land of the Free and that charming code of the ‘good guy’ cowboy prevails. Neighbors help each other out in a pinch but for the most part everyone looks out for themselves and accordingly there’s little need for social programs (I’m also sure for the same reason virtually NO federal money goes there – like I said, everyone looks out for themselves and the idea of some handout would offend them).

    So tell us what postcard life is like in your corner of the world?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post

    I’d love to move to Montana.

    Not me. I'm staying as far away from otterpop as possible
    Children in the back seat can cause accidents - and vice versa.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    I’d love to move to Montana.
    Just to raise up a crop of Dental Floss ?
    AIB Frank Zappa
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
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  4. #4
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    Regional myths:

    1. Texas - a lot of the same western ethos you mentioned about Montana, but with more of a southwestern/southern landscape as a background and a violent tint to it (people quick to judge, etc). How does it stack up against reality? Transfer attitude to a suburban sunbelt landscape, keep the violent tint and get rid of about 80% of the western ethos, and it's about right.

    2. Oklahoma - Grapes of Wrath-type characters meet Oklahoma!-type simple living meets intense loyalty and sense of belonging to the land. And everything's dusty and gritty. How does it stack up against reality? Not everything's gritty and dusty, although most built areas tend to look that way. Farmland in many places is more reminiscent of the midwest than the great plains, although there are pockets of plains-looking areas and a sliver of ozarks. The people do prefer to live simple, humble lives, are somewhat reluctant to change (although this is changing in the OKC metro) and they are definitely more attached to their land/state than any other people I've met, even if they don't live there. Everyone has rural roots, too, even city residents. When a karaoke bar starts playing any number of classic country songs, everybody knows them by heart. Which makes you feel kinda awkward and like a city slicker if you're from the Dallas suburbs.
    Last edited by TexanOkie; 04 Dec 2009 at 5:37 PM.

  5. #5
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    So tell us what postcard life is like in your corner of the world?
    Not quite regional, but local.

    Amherst, New York, the place I call "home home", is a suburb of some 140,000 residents northeast of Buffalo. I was born and raised in the City of Buffalo, but the bulk of both sides of my family live in Amherst. By those living in the city who are very loyal to it, they see the entire Town of Amherst as covered in characterless, unauthentic subdivisions filled with McMansions that house affluent white Protestants, mostly corporate executives with their trophy wives and spoiled children. They hear "Amherst" and think of 6,000 square foot houses with four-car garages, with residents who want to live as far away as possible from any people with skin darker than theirs.

    In reality, Amherst is not even among the top 10 wealthiest communities in Upstate New York. (It's #19.) There are just as many affordable middle-class and move-up neighborhoods as those filled with McMansions and Ye Quainte Uppere Middle Classe homes built from the 1920s through the 1960s. There's no shortage of affordable ($130,000-$200,000) single family houses, condominiums, townhouses and patio homes in the otherwise well-heeled 14221 and 14226 Zip codes.

    Amherst actually has quite a few working-class neighborhoods, too. Most of the development around Sweet Home Road consists of very modest and often quite small houses built between the 1950s and 1980s. One part of a neighborhood close to the city line, Eggertsville, is a rough college ghetto. Eggertsville is also home to large apartment complex occupied mostly by Section 8 residents, the majority of which are African-American.

    That brings us to ethnicity. Amherst is not as lily-white as the Buffalo homers would have you believe. Amherst ranks second among Erie County communities for the number of black residents; aside from the aforementioned Allenhurst Apartments, they really aren't concentrated in any one area. Amherst is the center of Buffalo's Jewish, Indian and Chinese communities. There are houses of worship for most faiths; Catholic, Protestant, Mormon, Unitarian Universalist, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and Baha'i. A nationally recognized skeptical inquiry group is also based in the town. Unlike many other suburbs of Buffalo, Amherst isn't dominated by any one ethnic group, although the heritage of the town's early settlers, German immigrant farmers, is reflected in many street names.

    Characterless subdivisions? Yes, there's quite a few, but there's also three pedestrian-oriented neighborhoods (Eggertsville, Snyder, Williamsville) with a good amount of pre-WWII housing stock on gridded streets. Also, since Buffalo only has one national homebuilder (Ryan) operating in the area, most subdivisions in Amherst have a diversity of residential styles not normally found in other parts of the country. Lots are sold off to individual homebuilders, not entire subdivisions.

    Next up: Western New York.
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  6. #6
    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
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    OREGON

    It rains all the time... False. It rains in the winter, and due to the temperate climate west of the Cascades, it rains more than snows. But the summers are sunny, and we have winter breaks, like now, where it's been sunny all week.

    PHILLY FANS

    Yeah, some of the rowdiest, loyal, and dedicated fans... But the reputation just grows and grows because the media enjoys it. Snowballs at Santa? Yeah, that happened... in 1968! Why does L.A. or Boston get a pass when their fans riot, but Philadelphia doesn't? Beats me...
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
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  7. #7
    Yeah, those Phillies fans are real gentlemen.
    On pitching to Stan Musial:
    "Once he timed your fastball, your infielders were in jeopardy."
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  8. #8
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    Angelyn Davis’ recent thread about Hawaii was very interesting. She mentions where the whole Island Paradise fantasy ends and the real environment and some of its attendant difficulties begin. It encouraged me to wonder what other ‘fantasy’ or mythic reputation/qualities surround other states, communities or regions, and just how do the myths stack up against the realities?

    I’d love to move to Montana. You know, the Land of the Big Sky. Out there the air is clean and people are strong, healthy and lead vigorous lives (almost everyone works on a ranch or a related industry I believe). It is the land of the Free and that charming code of the ‘good guy’ cowboy prevails. Neighbors help each other out in a pinch but for the most part everyone looks out for themselves and accordingly there’s little need for social programs (I’m also sure for the same reason virtually NO federal money goes there – like I said, everyone looks out for themselves and the idea of some handout would offend them).

    So tell us what postcard life is like in your corner of the world?
    We do have the Big Sky. Sadly, at least in the urban areas, it is not always clean sky. Particularly July through September when forest fires in the state and neighboring states give the air a smell like a campfire. Yes, people will stop if they think you need help on the road (the next car might not come for hours in some places). The native can be cliquish and prone to tell you how many generations native they are (a fourth generation Montanan has bragging right over a mere third generation). If you aren't born here, you are urged to leave by some natives. People pretty much want you to leave them alone and often hate the guv'mint (that gave their ancestors free or cheap land, killed the Indians for them, gave the railroads land to entice them to lay track, provides them with cheap water, federal highways and such). It is a beautiful, often wild and open country, with good schools and limited economic opportunities. The cowboy more than likely rides a four wheeler more than Old Paint and his battered Stetson looks like it's been through a cattle stampede.

    The people are no better or worse than anywhere else in the country, I suppose. I like it here.

    But that isn't the postcard life: The postcard shows the mountains and rivers, the magnificant elk and buffalo, horses and cattle grazing on sun-bleached grass, a friendly grizzly, cute mountain goats, a mischievous prairie dog, the lone cowboy on his horse. and a sky as wide as the horizon. All true. Mostly.

    The perception is the winters are all snow and blizzards. But the truth is most winter days are sunny and above freezing. The summers are a testament that God vacations in the Big Sky State.


    Quote Originally posted by imaplanner View post
    Not me. I'm staying as far away from otterpop as possible
    Oh, I can feel the love. Yes, I understand. It can be scary to come too close to an idol. Flying too close to the sun is dangerous, as Icarus learned.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  9. #9
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by TexanOkie View post
    Regional myths:

    1. Texas - a lot of the same western ethos you mentioned about Montana, but with more of a southwestern/southern landscape as a background and a violent tint to it (people quick to judge, etc). How does it stack up against reality? Transfer attitude to a suburban sunbelt landscape, keep the violent tint and get rid of about 80% of the western ethos, and it's about right.

    2. Oklahoma - Grapes of Wrath-type characters meet Oklahoma!-type simple living meets intense loyalty and sense of belonging to the land. And everything's dusty and gritty. How does it stack up against reality? Not everything's gritty and dusty, although most built areas tend to look that way. Farmland in many places is more reminiscent of the midwest than the great plains, although there are pockets of plains-looking areas and a sliver of ozarks. The people do prefer to live simple, humble lives, are somewhat reluctant to change (although this is changing in the OKC metro) and they are definitely more attached to their land/state than any other people I've met, even if they don't live there. Everyone has rural roots, too, even city residents. When a karaoke bar starts playing any number of classic country songs, everybody knows them by heart. Which makes you feel kinda awkward and like a city slicker if you're from the Dallas suburbs.
    Both are pretty accurate. Oklahoma always seems to get a bad rap, but I quite like Tulsa and OKC.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  10. #10
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Hawaii: Once you get off the tourist path in Oahu it gets a whole lot more interesting and not necessarily in a good way. My favorite part of the island is the North Shore.

    Montana: I did a stint in Livingston and Bozeman. Livingston is a nice little town, unfortunately the Church Universal Triumphant was in residence when I arrived in town. This is the cultish group that stockpiled weapons in bunkers. The locals were peeved and distrustful if you were new and automatically assumed you were part of the C.U.T. I would say that most of the natives were pretty much like otterpop described. While it was cold in winter the summer was spectacular. Bozeman was a little bigger and home to Montana State University so it was much more diverse and welcoming. I really liked living there.

    Oregon: Yes it rains. A lot. But not all at once and it just sort of mists and drizzles most of the time and largely west of the Cascades. East of the Cascades is high desert and it's beautiful in its own way. Best weather is June to October.

    New Jersey: Oh where to even start. Nah...I am not even going to try!
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Mastiff View post
    OREGON

    It rains all the time... False. It rains in the winter, and due to the temperate climate west of the Cascades, it rains more than snows. But the summers are sunny, and we have winter breaks, like now, where it's been sunny all week.
    No no no! It's not a myth! It rains here all the time! Californians and Arizonies would not be happy here, and neither would Texans. For their own health and well being they should not come to Oregon to live. They will get moldy as we all have. They would end up posting about life-threatening illnesses! Constant rain! It's raining right now, in fact! Seattle is the place where the rain is a myth.

  12. #12
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Otis View post
    No no no! It's not a myth! It rains here all the time! Californians and Arizonies would not be happy here, and neither would Texans. For their own health and well being they should not come to Oregon to live. They will get moldy as we all have. They would end up posting about life-threatening illnesses! Constant rain! It's raining right now, in fact! Seattle is the place where the rain is a myth.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    Regional myths, eh?

    Last time this Bear was in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan I jumped in Lake Superior, just to cool my feet.....the beach sand was incredibly hot and burning my footsies. I was wearing my black Steelers t-shirt and sweating like a troll. The temperature next to the great bike trail along Marquette's Superior shore was about 88F. Dang hot.

    The next day, after the front moved through, it reached a high of about 60F. And it was a cold misty rainy type of day.

    For your viewing pleasure, possible verification of a myth.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3puzN...eature=related

    Bear
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  14. #14
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Bear Up North View post
    Regional myths, eh?

    Last time this Bear was in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan I jumped in Lake Superior, just to cool my feet.....the beach sand was incredibly hot and burning my footsies. I was wearing my black Steelers t-shirt and sweating like a troll. The temperature next to the great bike trail along Marquette's Superior shore was about 88F. Dang hot.

    The next day, after the front moved through, it reached a high of about 60F. And it was a cold misty rainy type of day.

    For your viewing pleasure, possible verification of a myth.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3puzN...eature=related

    Bear
    Naaaahhhhh, nah nah nah nah nah.....

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50IgzksUqpQ



    Mike

  15. #15
    Cyburbian beach_bum's avatar
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    Orlando: When I lived there, I had to explain frequently to outsiders that everything in Orlando does not revolve around Tourism/Disney. I was at bar with a friend and we were chatting with a fella from out of town (ok we were just up the street from Universal Studios, but we lived near there!) but when we told him we were locals, he was shocked to hear that neither one of us had a job that had to do with the tourism industry.

    North Carolina: I live now in an area that has alot of transplants from the Northeast and they are always worried about the "Bible Belt" stereotype and the Southern-ism here. I mean it is sort of southern here and yes, many consider North Carolina in the "South" but no one expects you to start sayin' ya'll and drink sweet tea when you move here.
    "Never invest in any idea you can't illustrate with a crayon." ~Peter Lynch

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Atlanta, GA: Southern Natives can't drive in snow. True story. I flew into Hartsfield and there was a light dusting of snow on the ground. The rental car counter was closing and not renting cars. I said, "Excuse me Ma'am. Here's my Wisconsin driver license. Here's my insurance card. Now give me the f***ing car". She did. As I left the lot, there was a little yellow janitorial sign in the middle of the road that informed me it was wet.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally posted by Chet View post
    Atlanta, GA: Southern Natives can't drive in snow. True story. I flew into Hartsfield and there was a light dusting of snow on the ground. The rental car counter was closing and not renting cars. I said, "Excuse me Ma'am. Here's my Wisconsin driver license. Here's my insurance card. Now give me the f***ing car". She did. As I left the lot, there was a little yellow janitorial sign in the middle of the road that informed me it was wet.

    Was this today? We picked up about an inch here in North Alabama.

    This was one of the topics I was going to address in regional stereotypes about Alabama. Speaking for Huntsville (in North Alabama) I would say that this place functions a bit more normally in snow than non-locals might expect. Generally the city functions as normal as long as there's no more than 2 or 3 inches of snow on the ground. Anything more than that and you'd have to start plowing and we don't have plows, so we have little choice but to shut roads and stuff down.

    Non-southerners tend to think that with one snow flake in the air everything closes. Not really true, although I will admit that people do tend to get WAY too excited over that one little snow flake. But that doesn't necessarily translate into shutting stuff down.

    Non-southerners also tend to think it never snows here or gets below 50 degrees, even in winter. The truth of the matter is that it snows every year in Huntsville, though not much (once or twice a year is the norm, and not more than a couple of inches at a time). No it ain't Buffalo but it's not Florida or Hawaii either. Nobody down here has NOT seen snow, know what I mean? Also Huntsville can get fairly cold in the winter. Will you need a parka? I seriously doubt it, but keep your coat, hat, gloves, and long johns when you move here - temps in the 10s and 20s are not uncommon, and it's certainly not unheard of for it to get colder than that. The lowest temperature ever recorded in the state of Alabama (-27 F) was recorded here in Huntsville back in 1966. Not a LONG time ago, and within the lifetimes of many people alive today.

    Another stereotype about Huntsville (and Alabama in general) is in regards to race relations. People come down here expecting to still see segregated water fountains, so imagine their surprise when they see interracial couples! Or black people who have white friends, or vice versa!

    One more stereotype about Alabama is that everyone is poor. Well I must admit a lot of us are - the stories about people making meth in the trailer parks is real, but Huntsville is also home to NASA and a huge U.S. Army installation called Redstone Arsenal. Lot of military and high-tech types here, and those people generally have pretty nice salaries. You go on top of the mountain here and you will see pretty affluent communities, probably much nicer than anything you imagined in Alabama, and a FAR cry from the trailer park.

    Next up (whenever I feel like getting around to it) - my hometown, Birmingham.

  18. #18
    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Gedunker View post
    Yeah, those Phillies fans are real gentlemen.
    Thank you for making my point. Below are two other very similar events, one in Colorado and one in Atlanta, that went virtually unnoticed:

    http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/footbal...n=ncaaf,122600

    http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P1-117812262.html

    Just MLB? Sure... A Yankees fan did it in 2008:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/recap?gameId=280827110

    Read that entire recap of the baseball game, and there is just a little blurb at the bottom under "game notes." Where was the outrage?! The blogging about evil Yankee fans? People act like 45,000 fans were all shining these things because it was "Laser Pointer Day" at Citizen's Bank Ballpark...

    Type "laser pointer fans" into Google and you get page after page of Phillies... Phillies... Phillies... But the other incidents? Not so much. The media loves to hate on Philly fans, so we get all the press.
    Last edited by Mastiff; 06 Dec 2009 at 11:02 AM.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    C'mon and get me you twist of fate
    I'm standing right here Mr. Destiny
    If you want to talk well then I'll relate
    If you don't so what cause you don't scare me

  19. #19
    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Otis View post
    No no no! It's not a myth! It rains here all the time! Californians and Arizonies would not be happy here, and neither would Texans. For their own health and well being they should not come to Oregon to live. They will get moldy as we all have. They would end up posting about life-threatening illnesses! Constant rain! It's raining right now, in fact! Seattle is the place where the rain is a myth.
    Oh, right! My bad. Yeah, it's pouring now and will continue non-stop for a long time. Bring an ark if you visit...
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    C'mon and get me you twist of fate
    I'm standing right here Mr. Destiny
    If you want to talk well then I'll relate
    If you don't so what cause you don't scare me

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