Tuesday, November 01, 2016
What "Keep [Here] Weird" Movements Are For
Starting something new. Every Tuesday morning, 7:30 - 8:00, I am on WKYB in Danville talking with Archer. On Tuesdays I will post here at the Gruntled Center on the same topic.
I visited Austin, Texas, last week, to explore the "Keep Austin Weird" movement. This movement began as an appreciation to the public radio station for promoting distinctive local culture. It was taken up by independent businesses. That movement has inspired other "Keep [place] Weird" movements in other cities, including Louisville, fostered by local independent business associations.
The "Keep it Weird" movements honor the deep human need to be attached to a place, not just a generic location in space.
"Keep [here] Weird" movements, and other "buy local" campaigns, are also part of a class struggle. This is a struggle within the upper half of the economic structure between what I call the knowledge class and the corporate class.
The knowledge class defines itself by its mastery of distinctive cultural knowledge. They find the McDonaldization of everything to be soul-sapping.
The corporate class defines itself by control of material things. They find brand names and chains to be reassuring.
"Keep [This Place] Weird" is an assertion by the knowledge class that our distinctive culture is what makes this place worth loving and meaningful out of all the spaces in the world.