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comment by rd95
rd95  ·  374 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: What happened when Walmart left

I remember the last time we talked about the mid-west a bit and you talked about ghost towns. It's stuck with me since and I'm thinking that's the direction people are gonna have to go, one way or another, and just accept it.

I actually didn't post this article because of "woe the Mid-West" or "woe the economy." I posted it because this is the first article I think I've ever read where people discussed their emotional attachment to the store, which is something I never even thought possible. I mean, if I lived there, I'd think of Wal-Mart with a bit of resentment, maybe making a joke about how they're the community anchor, dragging the whole ship down with them.

I'm also curious as to whether or not anything will rush in to fill the gap Wal-Mart leaves behind. At the very least, a decent small grocery store would do very well.

Edit: Though I will admit, I think an hour drive for a near minimum wage job is more than a bit too much. Now if it paid $15 an hour, then I'd probably start to think different.

kleinbl00  ·  374 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    I'm also curious as to whether or not anything will rush in to fill the gap Wal-Mart leaves behind. At the very least, a decent small grocery store would do very well.

That's just it, though. It won't. This is how towns die - there aren't enough people within range for a grocery store to make sense.

This is Reserve, NM. Specifically, this is Tubby's place, or Uncle Bill's Bar. I used to know why it was called Uncle Bill's bar. It's run by a guy named Tubby. Tubby made it out to San Francisco for the Summer of Love in '67 in Berkeley and then his dad (also not Bill) got sick, so having spent four years as a paratrooper in Vietnam, having spent a summer as a hippie in the Bay Area, Tubby came back to tend to things at home.

We drove through Reserve in 2000. We were on our way to the Very Large Array and we needed gas. The gas station, which is next to Tubby's, was also the grocery store. Somewhere I have a picture of its "notions" shelf - there's a bottle of Elk Rage next to a Barbie Doll and below that, cans of chili and dog food. We asked where we could get a bite to eat on the road to Datil and were told "nowhere." We asked what we could eat there and were told "Tubby could thaw us a pizza." So we paid $8 for Freschetta and $3 for Budweiser and ate peanuts and threw the shells on the floor as was customary. And sure 'nuff, once we left Reserve we saw no civilization for 130 miles.

Wikipedia informs me that when we passed through Reserve, it had a population of 387. It now has less than 300. Wikipedia also thinks it has two grocery stores which is purest bullshit. It had one place where Elk Rage and Barbie sat side-by-side and where they had to come unlock the pumps to gas us up because it was after 7pm. Reserve is going to die. Make no mistake about it. Once Tubby is gone, nobody will take the bar from him. And guaranteed - everyone in and around Reserve knows this. Their community has been dying for decades. It is the forgotten hinterlands; the only thing anybody knows about Catron County (if they know anything) is Silver City and The Boxcar Children. Much like Stephanie Meyer had never been to Forks, Gertrude Chandler Warner had never been to Silver City. Otherwise we wouldn't have this:

We'd have this:

And the difference between Reserve, NM and whereverthefuck WV this article is set is that nobody ever paid any attention to Reserve, NM.

Multiply times a million for ALL OF THE AMERICAN WEST. I recognize that Bumblefuck WV gets all the press because it's a 5-hour drive from DC while Bumblefuck NV doesn't because it's a 5-hour drive from Reno but for fuck's sake, if Walmart becomes the place where you fuckers come to socialize you are already dead, they're just picking your husk clean while you can still empty your own pockets.


You know what's wrong with this country? We've given politicians a reason to leave dead-enders in place long past the point where they can live like humans because that's the bullshit gerrymandered way the electoral college works. If we were pure popular vote all these places would be semi-agrarian wastelands just like they were when they were originally settled and no one would expect any different.



rd95  ·  374 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    And the difference between Reserve, NM and whereverthefuck WV this article is set is that nobody ever paid any attention to Reserve, NM.

I mean, in all honesty, no one paid much attention to Appalachia, okay, that's a bit of a stretch, until we had a bunch of politicians shouting "coal country" ad nauseam for however long they've been shouting it. Five bucks says we'll see something similar happen in the gulf states when oil falls out of fashion.

kleinbl00  ·  374 days ago  ·  link  ·  

What the fuck ever, dude. WPA, TVA, goddamn all of bluegrass music, fuckin' hatfields and clampetts, mutherfuckin' Snuffy Smith, fuckin' Pogo, My Entire Goddamn Life has been chockablock with goddamn hillbillies and how they're the real Americans while all us half-wetbacks out here ceased to fucking matter as soon as Billy the Kid was dead.

"Real America" has been some fuckin' hillbilly down in the goddamn holler since fucking 1866.

rd95  ·  374 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I mean, I guess if we're willing to ignore the massive cultural influence that is L.A., the tech influence that is silicon valley, the educational influence that is New England, the economic influence that is New York, and the political influence that is D.C., maybe that'd be a sound argument? There's a lot of different facets to America and it's not like the mid-west has a monopoly in ideas of what makes this country what it is.

Shoot. We all have our problems. Ample attention has been given to the housing crunch that is taking place on the west coast, about the jobs being lost pretty much everywhere period, the amount of hay wireness that the environment is wreaking on us, from hurricanes and disappearing coasts to messed up farmlands and tornadoes, to outrageous wildfires. You can shit on the mid-west. That's fine. You can say its inhabitants made its bed and now they're forced to lie in it and that's fine. The mid-west isn't the only place getting attention though. It wasn't yesterday, it's not today, and it won't be tomorrow.

kleinbl00  ·  374 days ago  ·  link  ·  

No mutherfucker sit down. Your statement was

    I mean, in all honesty, no one paid much attention to Appalachia

Which, as evidenced by every name I posted, is rank bullshit. Sure - there are other parts of the country. Sure - they get media coverage. But for as long as I can remember, paeans to "real America" have always put it east of the Mississippi and south of the Mason-Dixon line. "Country" music is all about Nashville. Fried chicken is for Americans and clam chowder is for effete snobs. Yeah - New England has done a lot more for education. New York is a commerce hub. DC is where the laws are made. But whenever "real Americans" are portrayed, they're portrayed via the outsize influence of those fuckin' coal miners from fuckin' rural Appalachia.

Population of Appalachia: 25 million. Population of California: 40 million.

But we're the fuckin' outlanders over here. Probably 'cuz we got 2 senators and Appalachia has 24.

    The mid-west isn't the only place getting attention though.

There are more people working for Sears than there are working for the coal industry but I don't wake up every goddamn morning to someone spewing bullshit about the plight of Sears workers.

rd95  ·  374 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Can we chill for a bit? I'm trying to have a conversation here, not a nasty argument. I know we disagree a lot, but at least on my end I can very much say that our disagreements don't come from a place of antagonism.

When I said no one paid much attention to Appalachia, I mean no one paid much attention to Appalachia in the news and I don't think that you're accurate in your assessment that Appalachia is considered American culture. Anyone could do that with almost any movement. I could choose the subgenre of surf culture and point to movies populated by the likes of Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon, the T.V. show Gidget, bands like The Ventures and The Beast Boys, and on and on. That's easy. Obviously I could talk about Westerns and how a huge characteristic embraced by Westerns are the ideas of independence, ruggedness, and determination, and that those ideals are a base thread in America's ideals to this very day. Half the movies you see on TCM take place in cities like New York, Chicago, or L.A. or feature rich ass folks in rich ass houses doing rich ass things and being glamorous as shit. Modern movies are very much the same way. I can go on and on about the art scenes from various metro hubs, movements in labor and politics that came out of this region or that, and so on and so forth. It's not all about senator counts either. California and Silicon Valley are economic powerhouses and they use that influence like a fucking club sometimes. Sonny Bono and the whole Copyright Term Extension Act is a great example or companies like Facebook and Google dodging taxes like Neo dodges bullets is another example and let's not forget DRM.

I know that retail is more important than coal mining in terms of job numbers. I'm the one who started the tag #retailhell and I even went back to before I even joined Hubski and retroactively tagged some threads with that tag. Retail is a mess and it's scary, partly because it's a mess, but also because so many people who depend on retail for employment already have so little to begin with. I could post retail news all day every day, mergers and acquisitions and layoffs and stock values and on and on. It's all I ever see sometimes. But I don't want to post about retail every day, because I don't want to sound like a broken record for one (which leads to conversations like this) and because I honestly think that at this point, as far as large corporate retail is concerned, I don't think things are fixable until things get well past broken so we can see the pieces we have left to work with. That's something I don't want to spend too much time thinking about.

kleinbl00  ·  374 days ago  ·  link  ·  


- started the thread with a hulk jpg

- explained how the term "coal miner" shuts down my empathy pathways

- stated that I go into "full plague on both your houses mode"

I'm not going to calm down on this one. Your argument, as a midwesterner, is that somehow the part of the country you live in is not grossly overrepresented in popular culture. Why did Clinton lose the election? She didn't fellate the midwest and the south enough. Why should liberals be ashamed? We didn't consider the fucking south. Where's "Middle America?" somewhere with lots of white people in industries that no longer exist because (A) NAFTA (B) the collapse of family values (C) immigration (D) all of the above. Where do the limey fucks go to write a human interest story about Walmart? Fuckin' coal country. This article: boo hoo I have to drive an hour to Walmart.

This article:

Angelinos are leading a Dickensian existence.

But hey, what's the advice?

    I just don't understand the appeal of spending all your money to live in LA.

Midwesterners reading about strife in cities: "why would you live in a city? Come to the midwest where everything is cheap!" Midwesterners reading about strive in the Midwest: "liberal elites in cities don't understand just how rough it is here in real America."

Sure, it's all about Hollywierd. As evidence, Frankie and Annette. One of 'em is even still alive!

    California and Silicon Valley are economic powerhouses and they use that influence like a fucking club sometimes.

When you throw up ogres like Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul... Facebook and Google and taxes oh my? Oh yes. Let's do go there.

Art scenes? My art scene didn't vote to put a wall up to keep your art scene out. My art scene isn't trying to take your healthcare away. And you're right - you don't want a fight but you clearly missed the cues that I am out of fucking patience with all the goddamn human interest stories about those poor benighted ex-coal miners and their woebegone Walmarts.

rd95  ·  374 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I didn't miss any clues. I was trying to change the tone of the conversation to where we could both benefit from a discussion void of vehemence and bitterness. That didn't work. So for tonight, the conversation ends here.

steve  ·  374 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    "Real America" has been some fuckin' hillbilly down in the goddamn holler since fucking 1866.

Bumper sticker....