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Burbclaves and Phyles

I read this Mike Boyer entry from Foreign Policy magazine's Passport blog with great interest. For those of you too lazy to click the link, the gist of it is that the situation the Dixie Chicks find themselves in these days, what with replacing concert dates in traditional fan strongholds like St. Louis and Jacksonville, with shows in Canada and Australia, is part of a more widespread trend in the cultural industry that Boyer and another of his quotees, conservative film critic Jason Apuzzo, call "outsourcing the audience".

This sort of thing was really inevitable. Globalisation and communications technology is quite thoroughly making mere geography irrelevant to culture. Your redneck neighbours may hate your music or think you're hellspawn, but it's easier than ever now to cultivate an audience in places that your neighbours may not even have heard of. The question then becomes, for example- what happens when people in, say, New York or San Francisco can feel more in common with people in London or Amsterdam than in their heartland neighbours, and one side starts to resent a government that seemingly caters to the other? The insane amount of polarisation in post-2000 US politics would seem to be an early example of this trend - whoever gets to govern the nation after Bush, I'm sure we'll be seeing more of it, and perhaps an answer to this question.

While a logical endpoint would seem to be the dissolution of traditional nation-states into more culturally unified enclaves like in Snow Crash or The Diamond Age, I don't see that happening any time soon. We humans seem to have a tendency to go with the devils we know, and a paradigm that's governed the human race for milennia is one hell of a devil, no pun intended. Furthermore, the association of land with power in the human mind will be difficult to change.

-D.

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