Ok, I hope–I really hope–this bit from Hillary Kelly in the New Republic is satire because if it is not, it really signals a new, Slate-esque future of trivial crap to come from The New Republic. The piece is not very long, but it’s an utter waste of time, so it’s hard for me to suggest you read it, but its tone is so pretentious, you really should read it, just so that if you ever catch yourself writing something like this, let alone put it out on a high-profile platform like TNR, you stop and don’t do it. If you have written an essay and “I” appears in it as often as it does here, particularly in claims about what you value, you think is awesome (yourself), your this, your that, just don’t.
For urbanists, I suppose stuff like this is good news: it means that urbanity is, at least in this writer’s mind, superior to those bad, bad, low-class burbs, and that people are sufficiently unreflective about this superiority that they think writing in this manner is somehow, socially obvious.
For all the rest of us: Jesus Christ, would you get a real problem? I often say I am from Iowa. Why? Because there is a chance–albeit not a good one–that people may know where the state is because they sure as hell are not going to know where the town is, even though (gasp!) it’s a LIE! Because no, I am not from the entire state of Iowa. Her husband’s ‘little’ town of 2100 people is roughly 4x the population of the town I come from. I say “Iowa” because it’s a faster and easier, and nobody really gives a rat’s fanny. In dealing with snots like this writer, saying “Iowa” gets us to the conclusion where she can decide I am from “flyover country” and thus, not worth knowing more quickly. Isn’t efficiency worth having?
The politics of place are real, but 1) nobody is entitled to the information about where you are from to begin with and 2) don’t mistake conversational shorthand for “aspiring” to be urban. Yuck all around.