There is a clear line between self-analysis and self-loathing.
Often, in Memphis, we don't just step over it, but we run past it.
We were reminded of this a few ago when a guest post of this blog urged us to think about what we like most about Memphis and to build a community on our shared values. It became the springboard for a screed in response that blamed Memphis for everything short of kidnapping the Lindbergh baby.
Such is the energy that we will put into trashing our city – no, in trashing ourselves. We often are like the guys who spend their energies thinking up viruses to corrupt our computers. Every one of us has at one time or another said, "What if they would put all that expertise and energy into doing something productive?" The same goes for us.
Yes, we have serious challenges. Formidable challenges.
But that doesn't mean that we don't look for the distinctive assets and shared values so that we can join hands to tackle these tough challenges.
That was what our friend Charlie Santo was doing in his post about Live Where You Live whose central objective is to encourage us to be advocates willing to fight for our city's future. As Live Where You Live says, there is "strength in numbers" and "if we expect anyone to work hard enough to come up with lasting solutions, we need to let people know that Memphis is worth fighting for."
To that, our immediate response was, "Amen."
And yet, Mr. Santo was pilloried for taking this attitude and challenged to name 10 things that give you hope for or that you like about Memphis. To follow up, we asked him for his list, and he gave us 33 things in a matter of minutes. We are printing it here, but we are asking that you take the time to name your 10.
We'd enjoying hearing them here if you're willing to share.
Here's Mr. Santo's list (we'll post ours tomorrow):
* Current Memphis music, including the long list of artists who will be representing Memphis at Austin's South by Southwest festival (Lucero, Jack O & the Tearjerkers, River City Tanlines, Lord T and Eloise, Eightball & MJG, Al Kapone, Free Sol, Amy Lavere, etc.)
* Cost of living
* Memphis Zoo (one of only 4 in the nation with pandas)
* Civil rights heritage that when understood can inspire our future. (e.g., Robert Church Park)
* AutoZone Park – a world class stadium built in the right place with almost entirely private money (how many of those can you name?)
* Memphis Tigers – not just the team, but the way the city rallied around them together
* Harbor town – one of the best examples of new urbanist development in the nation
* V&E Greenline
* Greenbelt Park
* Greening Greater Memphis / the Greater Memphis Greenline / Sustainable Shelby
* SkateLife Memphis
* Memphis Arts Park
* Brooks Museum
* Central Library
* Campus School (an MCS/UofM collaboration and the best elementary school in the state)
* St. Jude
* Le Bonheur
* Church Health Center
* Streets ministries
* Goner Records
* The Big Scoop ice cream festival
* Cooper Young Parents Network
* Cooper Young festival
* Caritas Village
* Indie Memphis
* Halloween in High Point Terrace
* Peabody-Vance Christmas tree lighting
* Soulsville underpass murals on Bellevue
* The Shell at Overton Park
* Memphis Rock-n-Romp
* Willingness to be different
* The fact that my kids don't know the terms "black people" and "white people"