Sunday, September 30, 2007

The oxymoron of "Appalachian Urbanity"

The headline in the print copy of the NYT referred to Asheville, NC as "Appalachian urbanity," which struck me as an oxymoron, especially in light of Ching and Creed's comments about "rustics" and cultural influence. Ching and Creed argue that once urbanites claim rural items (they use the example of a butter churn) as valued, even "art," those items becomes so, while rural residents themselves have little or no equivalent power to dictate what is considered aesthetically pleasing or otherwise in "good taste." Is it urbanites who have "cleaned up" Asheville and made it the attractive place it is known to be? Or was it ever actually culturally Appalachian (as opposed to Appalachian in physical geography)?

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