Sunday, August 20, 2006

Hammer Time

We went to a friend's wedding last night, and it was lovely, and everyone had a great time. We took some good-natured ribbing about living in 'the hammer', but I quickly defended our town, which is, in my opinion very 'punk rock'. As opposed to Toronto, which is too 'pop punk' for my tastes.

It's funny how often people make jokes about the Hammer. I've found it to be true that every area I've lived in has had its black sheep town. What's brilliantly funny about the Simpsons' 'Shelbyville' is how important it is to the people of Springfield. It's a dead-on, and sweet-natured, parody of provincialism, with all of its attendant charms. When I lived in Fairfax, Virginia, the jokes were about Manassas, Virginia. When I lived in Williamsburg, the jokes were about Virginia Beach (in spite of the Neptunes and Missy Elliot). Every place has its doppleganger.

What the Simpsons winks at is the fact that nobody else really cares. People in Ontario have heard of the Hammer, but when I go home to Virginia, nobody has any idea what I'm talking about. Actually, most of them don't know anything at all about Toronto (the Springfield to our Shelbyville), which would shock half of the people I know in Toronto, who are convinced that it as important a city as London or New York. But, for most Americans, Toronto is "in Canada, right?"

I get a sort of delight out of living in Southern Ontario's Shelbyville. Actually, even more than I did when Claire and I lived in Springfield. We used to live near people who really really gave a shit what other people think of them. It was a trendy neighborhood, and boring. That's not the case here at all. A while back we watched a woman walking a shopping cart full of chairs down the sidewalk in her bath towel. Nobody else batted an eye. This is what I love about Shelbyville. It's punk rock.

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