Friday, February 17, 2012

Living Seattle

Photo courtesy Flickr

Writer Calvin Trillin used the term “rubophobia” to describe people who are uncomfortable with simple origins and simple customs. Rubophobia distorts judgement in very entertaining ways, as countless seasons of Frazier have documented.

Seattle choked on its own rubophobia until the 1961 Worlds’ Fair brought it to public attention. That was the only Worlds’ Fair to make a profit, thanks to a heavy dose of popular culture on the fairgrounds. Having Elvis sing about it didn’t hurt, either.

Like the 1968 exhortation to “have pride in yourself” posted on 101 near East Palo Alto, Seattle has slowly come to realize its contributions to the modern world. Composing yesterday’s blog, I realized that the systems that make it convenient to live in town without a car were invented locally: I can hop an airliner to go visiting, I can use software to shop, and the delivery service that started a mile to the south will bring my goods fueled by the gas stations that are also local in origin.

It’s a little different from living in a logging town, now, but perhaps Seattle has lived out Port Angeles’s entertainment manifesto: make your own fun.

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