Thursday, February 25, 2010

Is Salem Really "So Lame"?

I took my students on a field trip around downtown Salem last week. It was a beautiful day and we got to walk around and through the streets and alleys, take some pictures, and see what was going on. Afterwards when the students wrote about their little jaunt around town, I noticed something very interesting. Those teens who had grown up in Salem had the "So lame" attitude, while the 4 or 5 students who had recently moved to Salem thought it was a really cool place with pretty buildings, lots to do, and cool shops.

So, where are the kids who live here getting this idea that Salem isn't fun or interesting? Is it just because they know it too well and have grown up around here and don't appreciate it? Or are they hearing it from their parents or older siblings?

Now, I grew up in Salem, and I'm well aware of its issues and shortcomings, but compared to the way it was when I was a teenager, Salem is downright cool. But that's another story and I'll have to save those musings for another post.


KandN said...

Interesting observation! Hopefully there are enough fresh eyes to reeducate the natives. I just read an article from Willamette University's student paper about an art exhibit that compares Salem to a urinal. Wow ... talk about a slap in the face. Me thinks those students should be stepping up to learn about their new home instead of insulting it.

B Kinch said...

I have lived in Salem for 10 years now and only started to love it in the last 12 months. It can be very hard for people who move here from culturally rich cities. But, Salem's culture (and counter culture) is growing, and there's still room to get in on the ground level, unlike Eugene and PDX where it sometimes feels like the trust fund hippies have to fight it out over space for tree-sitting.

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