May 8, 2008

"I wish you'd stay in Brooklyn, as Madison is such a PC backwater."

Wrote commenter Kirby Olson in my post with the photograph of a small protest march, taken from my 9th floor window at Brooklyn Law School. He says there are "real events" in New York City and "history is being made. Whereas Madison is from the 80s." He asks the provocative question: "How can you stand to go back?"

By the way, Kirby has a blog called Lutheran Surrealism, and his blogger profile lists his favorite music as Bach and Captain Beefheart, and if you know me, you should know that these things make me more willing to answer his question.

My answer will be a numbered list.

1. What's the difference between looking at an event through a dusty 9th story window and watching it on television? I am able to monitor the news of everywhere from anywhere. The question is what place keeps me alert and attentive and in a state of mind where I can think and write something worthwhile about what I'm seeing.

2. I am constantly encountering protest marches and other sorts of incidents in Madison, and I can photograph them and talk about them in a way that brings more value because: a. So few of you are in Madison, and b. My Madison readers don't normally get the perspective this blog and its commenters bring to the city. It's a plus that Madison is whatever it is that makes Kirby say "PC backwater."

3. Maybe you are concerned that the pleasures of life do not flow to me in Madison and that New York City is, by contrast, a glorious playground. There is suffering and pleasure anywhere. You need life skills, luck, and perspective to enjoy living where you live. I can not only "stand to go back" to Madison, I eagerly anticipate it.

4. ...

54 comments:

sean said...

O, but Prof. Althouse, we will miss you if you go back. That is why you should stay in NYC.

SteveR said...

While I can understand why they are different, I much prefer the Madison blogging style to the Brooklyn one. Life happens everywhere, contrary to some opinions.

Meade said...

4... the Wisconsin wind cries Mary and the twin Redbuds in the front yard cry Althouse

MadisonMan said...

I would think you'd want to be here to live through the Presidential Election in a battleground state! The ads! John McCain eating creampuffs at the Wisconsin State Fair! Obama running the marathon at the Badger State Games! Hillary stomping grapes at Wollersheim. McCain's VP milking cows. It's gonna be a glorious summer and Fall.

Meanwhile, what candidate will visit NYC? It's not like NY State won't go democratic.

Original Mike said...

Us hicks want you back, Ann.

Triangle Man said...

Add us rubes to the list of people who look forward to your return. I've also heard positive things from the yokels.

BumperStickerist said...

there's a "come to Wisconsin and smell our dairy air" joke lurking about.

somewhere.

Trooper York said...
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PWS said...

That type of comment is another example of the annoying solipsism that emanates from the East Coast.

Ann Althouse said...

"very nice in a solid Midwestern mayonnaisey sort of way"

Well, New York reeks of those overheated candied nuts they sell on the street corners. It's cloying as hell. I need some fresh air. Wisconsin is more about mustard than mayonnaise — I mean, really: brats! — but at least there is enough air in circulation to prevent lingering odors.

Ann Althouse said...

And there is at least as much egg salad in New York as in Madison. God help us, there's SHRIMP salad in New York — and that means shrimp in a ton of mayonnaise, served in a sandwich. That's just disgusting.

Martin Gale said...

4 . . . I mean, really: brats!

Trooper York said...
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rcocean said...

Shrimp Salad - sound awful. A waste of perfectly good shrimp.

OTOH, its probably a good way to use shrimp thats a little too old or fell on the kitchen floor.

Bob said...

I think he's afraid that your conservative leanings (such as they are) are exacerbated in Madison, and he's afraid you'll go over to the dark side. Which is silly, since Madison itself is something of a liberal area, at least by your descriptions of it.

Trooper York said...
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Original Mike said...

Who's been looking after your chickens while you've been gone, Ann?

MadisonMan said...

Now I have never been to the Midwestern heartland

How provincial! When I lived on the east coast, I was amazed at how many people had never left the state (except to go to Florida, of course -- or as they said it, Flahridder). Yet I know very few people in WI who haven't been elsewhere. I think that's a big difference between the two locations.

Trooper York said...
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Kirby Olson said...

Compared to NYC, the rest of the country seems flat to me. That said, I myself live in a tiny village in the Catskills, where I teach at a small branch of SUNY.

Spitzer had promised to put 4 billion dollars into the system, but obviously his money went elsewhere.

Patterson wants to take away SUNY money and give it to the CUNY system (City University of New York), because that's where his political base is.

And I suppose I can see the point that even in Madison there are many things going on. I just feel that NYC is a more major nerve center.

But I think a smart person can blog from anywhere and still be interesting.

Thanks so much for saying something about my little-visited blog (200 hits a day, or thereabouts).

Trooper York said...
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Pogo said...

1) I'd gladly live in New York, but not Philly. The Midwest is fine. Decent place to raise a family and all. NYC takes a lifetime to see. Winona MN takes a lunchtime.

2) I don't get rah rah about anyplace. Each locale has its hidden beauty and dark underbelly. Big deal. You're often where you are entirely by accident (or intelligent design, if you're so inclined), but choice seems to move people to ever larger cities. Because they like them.

3) I find it hilarious that Jon Hassler, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Charles Schulz, and Sinclair Lewis seemed to hate the midwest and left as soon as they could, yet their towns hail them as heroes.

4) The Midwest is great for misanthropes. There can be great distances between people unattainable elsewhere. You can afford land. You can pretend you have the virtues of farmers long dead.

5) NYC is great for those who want to disappear forever. We hear alot about its famous denizens, but most people rise and fade without much notice. I like that; it faces the rhythm of humanity full on.

6) Comparing cities is like comparing favorite music, as if there were some grand standard. Except for Philadelphia. Christ, what a dump.

Beth said...

4. -- Football season. I imagine Wisconsin is a fine place to be for that.

Hey, we (NOLA Saints) drafted a Badger this year! A kicker. Who the hell drafts a kicker?

And what's up with the weather up there? Our friend's mom came down recently for a visit and she said it was 23 degrees in Madison when she left. WTF? That was the last week of April, y'all!

Trooper York said...
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John Lynch said...

You're clinging to guns and religion.

Trooper York said...
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Original Mike said...

Beth, he's a good kicker. Probably a wise pick.

What's your surprise at 23-degrees? You act like that's cold or something.

MadisonMan said...

Today's record low in Madison is 26. The record low in NOLA? 48.

Anthony said...

I've been on the left coast in Seattle and would dearly love to move back to Madison, or at least the midwest. Too many yuppies and burned out hippies out here. The mountains and water are nice, but so is being able to see the horizon stretch off into nowhere in particular. And drive a half hour and be surrounded by farms and pastures and cows and the seemingly slow pace of life which is really quite rapid, just not unproductively frenetic like in the big cities.

And fish fries in a church hall or a supper club on a Friday evening.

I'd mention the beer but I can't really drink beer anymore. But brats. . . .oh yeah. . . .with mustard and kraut and maybe some onion.

Oh well, off to finish my mocha and decide on salmon or donburi for lunch. . .

Trooper York said...
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Beth said...

Trooper, okay, your Giants are okay. They have a good quarterback.

Trooper York said...
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Beth said...

It's a lovely, balmy 81 degrees where I am right now. We've been enjoying cool evenings in the low 70s. I don't think we dipped to 23 all winter, though it happens once in awhile. Though our record low for today is 48, I assure you that doesn't happen very often. I bet Madison in the 20s is more likely in late April than NOLA in the 40s.

The kicker sounds great, by the way -- it's getting one in the draft that perplexes me. They're usually a position you pick up on the market after the draft. We haven't drafted a kicker since Morten Andersen back in 1982(? not sure about that date). But we got burned badly with Olindo Mare last year, so I guess it was a good move.

Beth said...
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Ron said...

Trooper isn't Joe Pesci the Official Linguist of The City of New York?

No matter where they come from, don't all New Yorkers eventually look like Weeb Ewbank?

I'm sure it's nice there in a EastCoasty aioli kind of way...

Trooper York said...
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Beth said...

Country boy? He does look like a big old country goober, but trust me, he grew up in the city. We have sidewalks and all sorts of urban amenities. But good for him for not being caught up in his celebrity; it would be hard for him to get away with it, given his family.

Next time you visit New Orleans, go to Domilese's Po-boy shop. It's a little corner dive whose walls are covered in photos of local high school football hotshots. There's several old Eli and Payton shots up there. The po-boys are excellent, too.

Trooper York said...
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Original Mike said...

cool evenings in the low 70s.

Sounds oxymoronic to me. I like my evenings in the 50s. Good sleeping temperture. To each is own.

Melhaff has a very strong leg. Long fieldgoals, and few of his kickoffs are returned.

Ron said...

at this point in the career, we'd get Joe Pesci in the Joe Pesci role...

My ideal New York RomCom would star Gilbert Gottfried and Fran Drescher, in something like The Days of Whine and Roses...

Beth said...

One of my best friends is an insane New Orleans Saints fan.

You have to be insane to be a real Saints fan. The highs are high but the lows are low indeed. No Ain'ts allowed in my house during the season.

Beth said...

Looking forward to it, Trooper.

Ron said...

Trooper, you always welcome in Ann Arbor...I come to New York when I can, and would happily visit Brooklyn which is, what, somewhat near my Manhattan digs? Or is that Long Island?

Trooper York said...
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SteveR said...

Trooper, you like Pete more than Ali Haji Shank?

Trooper York said...
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Trooper York said...
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blake said...

Wait...

Trooper York is white?

OK, maybe I buy that.

But typical?

Nah.

Kirk Parker said...

Anthony,

"The mountains and water are nice, but so is being able to see the horizon stretch off into nowhere in particular."

I'm from the Puget Sound area, and while I agree that seeing the horizon stretch off into infinity has its own charm, my worst flatland experience was in Norman OK, where I spent a summer at OU. The problem was, with all the buildings on campus, you couldn't see the horizon stretching off anywhere, all you could see were buildings, with the net effect that the world seemed about 1000 yards from one end to the other. It felt darn claustrobic to me.

"And drive a half hour and be surrounded by farms and pastures and cows and the seemingly slow pace of life which is really quite rapid"

We have that here, too. Not just in close-in wild places like this park in King County (also discussed in the comments over here), either. I live in a suburb of Tacoma and know many places that are not only undeveloped but don't even have cell coverage, all within a 1-hour radius.

Trooper York said...
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