WNPR

The Agony And The Ecstasy Of Life In A Small Town

Nov 2, 2017

President Trump wants to "Make America Great Again," by turning back the clock to a time he believes was safer, purer, and removed from the dangers of modern society.

He's not the first president to evoke nostalgia for the Rockwellian image of small town life where everyone knew one another, had a good job, and raised a family. The mental scene may vary but the nostalgia for something lost remains constant.

Yet, the myth of small town America doesn't square with the reality. There is a simultaneous appeal and horror in small towns and the hold they have on our imagination.

With small town life increasingly threatened with obsolescence, it might be a good time to talk about small towns - what they were, what they are, and how they're portrayed in culture.

GUESTS:

  • Gary Greenberg - Psychotherapist and author of Scotland, a story about his years as Chairman of the Zoning Board in the small Connecticut town of Scotland 
  • Kirin Makker - Associate professor of Art and Architecture at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and she’s working on a book called, The Myths of Main Street 
  • Miles Orvell - Professor of English and American Studies at Temple University and the author of  The Death and Life of Main Street: Small Towns in American Memory, Space, and Community

You can join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

Colin McEnroe and Chion Wolf contributed to this show.