Monthly Archives: April 2015

Oklahoma City April 23, 2015

A most American city. And later today, a most American festival. As I reflect on this city, several things strike me. This is definitely the most American city that I have ever visited. It has NO history. This place was Indian Territory until the 20th century. After stealing all of the Native American land, culture, and (almost) identity, the USA took away their last refuge. A refuge that the same government had given them 70 years before. It opened the area to white settlement in 1889 and finally took the whole place as a state in 1907. Anyway, this very recent state became American with the 20th century. I also read somewhere that the population of Oklahoma City is 90% white and 8% black. There are over 1 million folk in Oklahoma City and there hasn’t been a shooting or murder here since we arrived last weekend.
Now this week there is a festival here-an art festival. It takes place in a park near our hotel. It is not called a park, but a garden (in the middle of the downtown business District) and what a beautiful garden it is! There are a lot of people at the festival, lots of noise, lots of beautiful art, lots of music. In this garden is an amphitheater to rival the classical amphitheaters of the Mediterranean. There is a huge pond next to the theater at the bottom of what I take to be an excavation between two natural hills. Around the pond are waterfalls, walkways, gardens (of course), benches, etc. Which make it a very people-friendly place.
Despite all of the beauty and convenience the place is also a bit too sanitized. A bit too nice. A bit too American. As with the Native Americans, the Oklahomans have tamed the garden, the forests, the ponds, the very plants themselves. It is beautiful – beautiful in the likeness of the “Enlightenment” Gardens of Versailles, etc. it is not very natural at all. So, am I making a value judgment here? Probably so. Does safety and convenience trump earthy, gritty, attractive, but a bit dangerous? In my heart of hearts I am afraid I would have to choose safety over danger. Although, I would like to believe that the French Quarter is better than Bricktown, more real, as it were, I have chosen to live in a rural countryside near New Orleans rather than New Orleans itself. So, what does that say about me? Am I, in the end, a Creole or a Kaintuck !?!?

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