To attract tourists and settlers, small towns are turning to storytelling festivals and giant killer-bee statues. I've seen this first-hand as, over the last quarter century the town I spent my teenage years, Stockbridge, Massachusetts, pioneered this sort of change. The hardware store, then the pharmacy, the grocery and the elementary school disappeared one-by-one as the community refigured itself in the image that resident Norman Rockwell created for it. I still remember the lunatic old ladies from the city asking if we had toilets or outhouses. At some point we become a world of tourists, all looking in vain for just the right place that fits our demented sensibilities.
Continue reading “The Economist Looks at Small Town America”