Thursday, March 16, 2017

On Spokane

Posted By on Thu, Mar 16, 2017 at 2:33 PM

When I wrote an essay about the Gonzaga basketball team and Spokane, which ran on The Guardian U.S.’s website on March 14, I had meant to capture how important the Gonzaga basketball team has always been to me. But by characterizing the city in an unfairly negative way with errors in fact of various sorts, it has led to a lot of understandable frustration among Spokanites.

The Guardian released an apology today about the way the article came off, but I wanted to pen my own mea culpa as well.

The goal of any piece like this should be to humanize, and this essay didn’t do so. My piece was meant to highlight a point of genuine optimism. It was written as a response to the people outside of Spokane who speak poorly of our hometown. Where I am able to tell these people that they’re wrong about Spokane, is, in part, in the success of the Zags and the sense of community the team engenders. This is what I had tried to show, but in lacking a greater nuance and understanding of contemporary Spokane, it was poorly conveyed. Instead of a piece of optimism, it came across as someone panning a town from afar. That is a thoughtless thing to do, and was never the intention.

Honestly, I’ve been enthralled and charmed by much of the response. The #CodyComeHome hashtag is hilarious and creative, and I really do want to check out all the new shops and restaurants that have popped up in the recent past. I’ve been blown away too by the civic pride so many Spokanites have had in responding to this piece, and, it’s been perversely flattering to read the mirthful stuff that nationally beloved writers like Shawn Vestal and Sharma Shields have penned in response.

Spokane still has problems; every city does. But there is also an overwhelming amount of development and progress and wonderful happenings there. Politically, it’s a different city than from when I grew up. The downtown food scene has gotten way better, the literary and music scenes are thriving, and, most importantly, it is home to some of the most fantastic people I have ever met. These aspects of Spokane deserve their fair share of focus as well. Short articles often have to sacrifice nuance for a clear narrative, and in trying to emphasize the team’s success, the struggling Spokane angle was drawn out more than needed. Clearly, it is not “dreary” and “desperate” as Vestal jokingly wrote. Clearly it’s not the only source of “hope” for the city.

Spokane is still home for me. It is where I went to school, where I grew up, where I went to my mother’s funeral, and it is where I left; but I always come back. It is a place I love, and it is far stronger than a single article. To anyone who was hurt by the essay, I apologize. Spokane is a place, as so many residents know, that is full of courage and progress and success. (No doubt even Larry Gagosian would be proud.) ♦
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Trump's new travel ban swatted down, March Madness starts and morning headlines

Posted By on Thu, Mar 16, 2017 at 9:29 AM


NEWS: After Washington legalized weed, opponents feared rates of teens smoking it would skyrocket. A new survey found that pot use among Washington teens has stayed the same statewide, and actually declined in Spokane.

MUSIC: STRFKR recorded its latest album isolated in a hilltop rental house near Joshua Tree National Park. Perhaps the "poppiest" album yet, the three-piece plays the Knitting Factory next week.

BOOK: The late newspaperman Hill Williams' final book traces his lifetime covering the Pacific Northwest — an atomic bomb explosion, riding in submarines, walking in the crater of Mount St. Helens — and the lessons he learned.


Strike Two
President Donald Trump's second travel ban — a revised version of the one halted by a federal judge in Seattle — was also blocked. By two other federal judges. Orders by judges in Hawaii and Maryland stop the revised ban nationwide. (New York Times)

Obamacare helped police officer's widow

The widow of slain Coeur d'Alene Police Sgt. Greg Moore says Obamacare was the reason she could stay home with her daughter in the aftermath of Moore's death. In an open letter to Idaho lawmakers, she urges them not to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a "comparable replacement." (Spokesman Review)

Mad March
That tournament that everyone's been talking about? The basketball one. It starts today. Click here for the schedule. Click here to print a bracket. Now you better hope the Zags win, otherwise Spokane is in serious trouble.

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