LETTER: The New York Times and Nelson's cultural experiment
It is not new for Nelson, being noticed by major media like the New York Times. We’ve become used to it, and it’s no cause for celebration.
This latest piece of journalism sets Nelson in the crosshairs of English-speaking readers, and that’s a vast number thanks to the dominance of our language in the global market.
More people than ever will have an impression of what this little city is about, in the view of an NYT reporter at least.
The NYT article will have an impact for the future, bringing some people here and keeping others from making a visit to find out if this “picture-perfect burg” and “counter-culture paradise” is a place they might like to live.
Personally, I would align with the reporter’s misgivings that Nelson can be ruined by attracting too many who want to share the idyllic lifestyle we project in images to the world.
Our wonderful reputation can be “a curse,” as the reporter wrote; it seems hordes wanting a piece of the magic Nelson ethos might deteriorate our city.
Nelson is as subject to the law of entropy as anywhere. Change embraced by one citizen is rejected by another.
I’ll assert that our city has a walked a well-worn path from obscurity to fame, experiencing the same phenomena — developments promoted by some are seen as a loss of quality by others.
I see there’s little point harkening back to a “golden age” for one’s home, else I’d declare my chosen period in Nelson history.
Such perspectives are unique to personal experience. I’ll withhold my opinion because I don’t wish to be a cliché curmudgeon.
The phenomenon of poor employment prospects and too-expensive, hard-to-find residential accommodation that the NYT piece highlights is worth bringing into focus.
Nelson is creating a social experiment setting rich and poor in close proximity where consequences are unpredictable. I’ve drawn no conclusion yet about Nelson’s fate in the media limelight from afar.
I will not exile myself from this place I love, for fear of change I dislike.
I will thank in advance all the many good people I know, or know about, who will do what they can to manage the changes. Politicians have a thankless task for the most part, so I name them first.
Social workers, police, private therapists, medical personnel, social entrepreneurs, non-profit societies, co-ops, and clergy, are and will be working to carry this Nelson experiment.