Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Pullman: The Land That Time Forgot

Cosmopolitan aesthete Mike Hanly sees Pullman on a "grand march toward saturated development." Pull-up-the-drawbridger James Krueger sees Pullman becoming a "big-box clone of a thousand other places."

But what does the outside world think of Pullman? Thanks to NCAA Division I sports, we get an occasional glimpse.

On College Football Signing Day this year, Tom Dienhart of The Sporting News wrote that Pullman reminded him of a moonscape.

Now, in a story last Friday on Cougar men's basketball, Monte Pool of InsideBayArea.com has even more unflattering things to say about our town. Some of the more memorable quotes:
There is the Land That Time Forgot. Then there is Pullman, Wash., an entire town in the witness protection program.

The home of Washington State University is a dot in the southeast corner of the state in the northwest corner of the country. Among Division I basketball programs in a major conference, it's probably the most isolated and arguably the most forlorn.

A group of recruits nobody else wanted are out to change that. While they can't do much about the sleepy solitude of Pullman, they are progressing nicely at bringing some cachet to the place.

This proves to civilization that there is life in Pullman, of which it was famously said is "not the end of the world, but you can see it from there." More to the point, there is a quality program in the outback of the Pacific-10 Conference.

As if the charm of Pullman wouldn't be enough.

"When I actually got there, I flew into Spokane and I was thinking the school was somewhere in that area," Weaver, of Beloit, Wisc., said. "Then we started driving and driving and driving.

"An hour-and-a-half later, I saw this town spring up out of nowhere. And I'm thinking 'There's a school here? People live here? In this little village?' I didn't see many people of color, either. There wasn't really a lot to do. I just remember going home and telling my mama it's like jail out there. That I can't go to school there."

Weaver has come to accept Pullman. So have his teammates. They got to love the program and embrace the town.
Thank goodness for the Cougars that Weaver and his teammates came to accept Pullman. But how many others haven't? What other potential talents have we been denied? How can we have a "world class university," or a world class anything, when people say Pullman is "forlorn" and compare the town to a jail? We can't do anything about our distance from large cities, but we can provide more things to do, more places to shop, and better places to live.

For many of these elitist PARD professors, living in Pullman is nothing more than a nostalgic trip to Disney World's Main Street USA. They're here for a few years enjoying the "quaintness" and then head off back to "the real world" of Berkeley, Seattle, Columbus, East Lansing, Boulder, Urbana, or wherever. If we let them hold back our progress, Pullman truly will be the Land That Time Forgot.

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1 comment:

April E. Coggins said...

Tie this article in with the testimony of Greg Hooks "students don't really shop here, they bring everything with them or they buy it over the internet," and James Krueger "I can do my research in this dinky town because of the internet," and you soon realize that Tom is right. Pullman and the people here are nothing to them. They don't care about supporting local schools, local merchants, local workers. We can all be replaced "over the internet". And it's all TAX FREE! They prefer their goods and services come from somewhere else so that they aren't bothered by the actual people that do the service. Deirdre Rogers put it so well, "Low prices will bring in an undesirable element to Pullman." As if Deirdre Rogers is a desirable element in Pullman.