You are here: home   Issues   Wind Resistance   Don't take Manhattan
Topic: Culture & Communities     Department: Letters

Don't take Manhattan

Document Actions

How ironic that HCN would publish an essay romanticizing a city that, like San Francisco in the 19th century and Los Angeles in the 20th, symbolizes the inexorable flow of resources and wealth out of the productive lands of the West and into the warehouses and pockets of the merchant elites (HCN, 11/23/09). Zoellner's piece romanticizes both the myth and the reality of large trading cities, opening with an example of the culture (Dvorak's New World Symphony) that is supposed to sweeten the climb up the economic ladder, or to console those who are trapped at the bottom.

Zoellner's rose-colored glasses next shift to the exploitive origins of cities as markets where merchant elites benefit from the labors of rural pioneers and the natural produce of those "great blank spaces on the map." He honors the Stock Exchange, symbol of the market economy, and he calls our attention to the "democratic and generous" New York-based publishing industry.

In our vast, demographically diverse society, "democratic" is a politician's cliché, obscuring the reality of our political system. Citizens of this society are free to consume a bewildering array of products manufactured from rural natural resources, while they are constrained to labor in the market economy where their success is judged by how far up the ladder they've climbed. Such is the ideology generously gifted to Alamogordo and Bakersfield by the publishing houses of New York City.

Timothy V. Ludington
Silver City, New Mexico


Email Newsletter

The West in your Inbox

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook! Follow us on Twitter! Follow our RSS feeds!
  1. Rancher vs BLM: a 20-year standoff ends with tense roundup |
  2. Photos of a standoff | Armed militia members join a Nevada rancher to pro...
  3. The energy haves and have-nots | Will rooftop solar owners get off the grid — and...
  4. Why homes are lost to wildfire | This Forest Service expert says it's as much a soc...
  5. The future of the Sacramento Delta hangs in the balance | But few Californians seem to grasp what is at stak...
  1. Why homes are lost to wildfire | This Forest Service expert says it's as much a soc...
  2. Photos of a standoff | Armed militia members join a Nevada rancher to pro...
  3. The energy haves and have-nots | Will rooftop solar owners get off the grid — and...
  4. Will the Colorado River reach the Gulf of California once more? | Photographs of last month's historic water pulses....
  5. Locals resist a Bakkenization of the Beartooths | South-central Montanans oppose new drilling, forew...
HCN Classifieds
Subscriber Alert
More from Culture & Communities
International Car Forest of the Last Church For a strange trip, check out Nevada’s otherworldly Stonehenge of wildly painted abandoned vehicles.
Adventure travel vs. conservation A conversation with outdoor entrepreneur Bill Bryan.
The lessons of Ludlow, 100 years later
All Culture & Communities
 
© 2014 High Country News, all rights reserved. | privacy policy | terms of use | powered by Plone