What Makes a Cool Town
Anita Sharpe on Life
Many people under age 40 care more about where they live than where they work, according to Worthwhile columnist Rebecca Ryan, who writes about this and identifies several 'cool communities' in the upcoming May issue of the magazine. She doesn't mention Atlanta, which I suspect isn't laid back enough to qualify as cool.
I just read Michael Lewis's entertaining book, Next, where he compares Atlanta with his hometown, New Orleans.
By the mercenary standards of the modern world, New Orleans is a failed place. In my lifetime it has ceased to be the capital of trade and commerce in the American South and become a museum city, like Venice. The new capital of the American South is Atlanta, which has made the shrewd but spiritually vacuous decision not to stand on ceremony or tradition but rather go whoring after progress. Atlanta has transformed itself.
I was mulling over the phrases 'whoring after progress' and 'spiritually vacuous' this morning as I read that the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation is giving a Profile in Courage award to Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, the first African-American woman to lead a major U.S. city.
It's true that Atlanta (a solidly Blue city in a solidly Red state) abandoned Southern traditions. It built a giant airport, welcomed the world and embraced multiculturalism. And it probably confused a lot of people by blending a pro-business posture with progressive politics. But that (along with the climate) is what I love about the city. Meets my definition of cool.