Mar 7Liked by Anna E

It’s also ironic that the recurrent theme of “Yellowstone” is “preserving the MT way of life” whatever TF that means. And yes, I do love that show also and no, I’ve not been an extra even once.

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Everyone is traumatized to some degree by migration- both the immigrant, who is uprooted, and the community they migrate to, who has to accommodate them. I don't think we want to say that people don't have a right to move around (contra Thomas More's Utopia, which had a strict permit system that governed when, where, and why people could travel!), and we also don't want to ignore the effect that migration has on communities.

Goodness, we've been bemoaning the disappearance of rural communities across Montana for so long, we weren't prepared for anyone to actually move into them!

I guess, the point I'd make is this: Among whatever we call "Montana values", my observation is the xenophobia is somewhere close to the core, and it's something we (I say "we" loosely, as someone who has only lived in Montana since the mid-2000s, which is long enough to blend in, but not long enough to belong; too late for A River Runs Through It and too early for Yellowstone) need to watch out for.

Mr. Handyman blundered in an interesting way, in that he assumed that these topics fell under the category of "small talk", and that apparently enough people had agreed with him in previous conversations that he felt comfortable leading with it as he spoke with strangers. How telling that he felt like xenophobia was a way to blend in with the locals! Also, it's interesting you put him in a certain class because he cashed out on the California market, and yet, in all of his privilege, he is installing a door. In your observation about the cost-of-living/wage disparity, I think it's worth mentioning that most handymen and tradesmen I talk to lately charge $80/hr. At a 40-hour workweek, that would gross $166K. Minus expenses and unbillable time and maybe they are pulling in $120K? For doing drywall or plumbing or door-installs? I'm not sure why this doesn't get more attention.

This is your story and your blog, and I don't want to co-opt it from the comments. However, I've heard this narrative so many times that it seems to have achieved a mythological status, with certain immutable doctrines. I'd really enjoy hearing it discussed with some more nuance and self awareness about what we are bringing to the table when we look at the "outsiders".

After all, even a 5th generation Montanan is still an "outsider" from the perspective of other people who live around here, and everyone one of us is a 1st generation inside our own skin.

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