Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Angst of Joel Fleischman

Want to know how transitioning to John Robb's resilient communities would feel like?

Watch reruns of the 1990's television series, Northern Exposure.

Its central caracter, Joel Fleischman, found himself in the spot we all will find ourself in - should Robb's resilient community theory pan out.

According to Robb, we would all find ourselves in these tightly knit, self sufficient communities. Places just like Cicely, Alaska, location for the Northern Exposure plot.

Poor Fleischman. He has just graduated from medical school and wants to go to New York, where the money is. But no such luck for him. Alaska has paid his medical bill, so he must pay it back by serving instead in Cicely.

There he learns to avoid the local moose; meets Adam, the wilderness man; courts the local bush pilot; and listens to the local philosopher/DJ. Not exactly the New Yorker Talk of the Town.

And apparently this is where we all are headed - as we come to grips with our own inner moose. And that's all for the best - according to Robb.


  1. I can't find Season One, but Seasons Two, Three and Four are readily accessible. Would I miss much if I were to jump in at Season Two?

  2. Duncan, I trust your opinion implicitly on many issues. When it comes to 4GW, the soft underbelly of the illicit objet d'art black market, or how to interrogate a captured mujaheddin, you are the go-to-guy, the authority, "the man."

    But I have just watched an episode of "Northern Exposure," (Season Two, Episode 1) and I can say without qualification that it is the worst television show I've seen since The Brady Bunch.

    The main character is thoroughly unsympathetic and everyone is bizarrely fixated on bragging about sex. Yes, humans are sexual animals, but this kind of one-upsmanship about dating status only exists in Hollywood.

    It's another installment of television as the cult of male humiliation. I seriously suggest that you check out some men's rights bloggers, particularly The Elusive Wapiti (an American chap of some description, apparently a military pilot, who named himself after the Wapiti (Cervus canadensis) elk). Now *there* is a man who is in touch with his inner ungulate. (I don't think I have an inner moose. I might have an inner tapir.)

    Fleischman is an undignified, over-emotional, unmanly sort. He doesn't feel angst, he feels petulance. He is a poor excuse for a human being. The townspeople are grotesque parodies of real rural people. The men are slaves to pretty girls, and the young people are completely lacking in culture except that which comes from movies and TV.

    I was raised in a house which had potable water on tap, hot and cold. I now have to walk a few blocks with a 20-liter plastic can to get potable water. I know a little something about being a fish out of water. It's not like Northern Exposure. Real life is vastly more satisfying than Hollywood hallucinations.

    Incidentally, you seem to have a sincere and deep-rooted interest in art. Perhaps you feel that the people around you don't appreciate art and culture. This may be entirely true. That is a downside to enjoying art intensely - the lack of people who can understand your opinions can be painful. I encourage you to consider expatriation for a few years.

    "Oho! They cried,
    The world is wide!
    but fettered limbs grow lame!"