‘We speak now of half-baked Alaska. Having been there, I know its residents are loving people. It's just that to them higher education is learning how to get their pants on over their skis. Even the major cities of Juneau and Fairbanks don't do dinner parties. Know why? Because folks can't spell RSVP. Kill me, beat me, I will never mention the Alaskan grandmother who went on the pill because she didn't want more grandchildren.’ -Cindy Adams, the New York Post
I won’t (today) go into my view of politics (besides to say that even if you adore Sarah Palin, JOHN MCCAIN would still be president. Many people around here seem to forget that.) But this Alaska thing has been irritating me.
It is very cool that this woman who pulled herself up to this position came from our state. It is awesome that she is representative of the average working mom. It is amazing that things like this, to go from the PTA to the potential White House can happen, DO happen in Alaska. I am proud to be from a place where that can happen.
But I would like to point out to the national media and the people in the Lower 48 watching it: we are not all rednecks.
We do not all sit in bars, wearing beer t-shirts and Carrharts, watching Governor Sarah on the Magic Box as she gives a speech.
We do not all carry guns and shoot moose, to then make it into stew to take to the hockey game with us.
We do not all have grizzly beards and wear flannel as we pan for gold, as our dog sled sits idly by.
I came to the University here because at the time, they had a cutting-edge, hands on theatre program. There are 3 community theatre companies that have their own houses, and countless troupes that work out of rented spaces.
We host an international conference every year, where hundreds of playwrights come to workshop new plays, make new connections, and show their work, whether it is on a main stage, a workroom, or the fringe festival.
We have the most coffee houses per capita in the nation, most of them serving locally roasted coffee that makes your mouth water. Even the gruffest sourdough can be found most days with a latte or mocha in his hand.
In order to catch the annual performance of The Nutcracker, (yes, the BALLET) you have to reserve your tickets months in advance. Nearly everyone in town has been at least once. You may see more jeans and fleece than couture and Manolos, but these people will accept you no matter how you are dressed.
Every café or coffee house you go into is plastered with art created by locals. I don’t go a week without an invitation to a new gallery showing. The weekly street market teems with street performers, and even our panhandlers have a witty side.
And we do have dinner parties. Maybe we are all dressed in jeans instead of cocktail dresses, but the food is exceptional, the discussions intellectual, and the games crazy fun. Our thanksgiving potluck last year included a geologist who is now working on a Geoclimate program at Brown University, a writer who spent a year in Iraq in the reserves, an activist for women’s rights, a fisheries biologist, a nurse who is putting herself through school despite working full time and being a single mom, and a women who works to provide healthcare to children in foster care. And I believe all of them could spell RSVP.