Missoula: Old-Fashioned, Retro, or a Bunch of Luddites?
After moving home to Missoula one of the first things that made me feel like I was a "Missoulian" again was when I bought a record player.
Playing records rekindled my dormant appreciation for the nuances of sound and the ritual of habit while sparking a joy in collecting I'd yet to experience.
When I told my Billings friends that I got a record player they laughed and said, "That's so Missoula," but I wasn't sure exactly which part made it seem "Missoula." Was it the fact that the technology is old, or that it was a hobby based on music, or that the whole thing bordered on pretentious?
But then the other day I saw passionate pleas to resurrect some other arguably "outdated" hobbies. We asked what stores people wanted to come to Southgate Mall and we got answers like:
- a music store with cds
- a book store
It made me wonder, is Missoula old-fashioned, retro, or are we a bunch of Luddites?
Being a lover of words, let's start with some definitions:
Old Fashioned: in or according to styles or types no longer current or common; not modern
Retro: imitative of a style, fashion or design from the recent past
Luddite: a person opposed to new technology or ways of working
You might say with our love of records, CDs, and books we're old-fashioned, but Missoula is still stylish, so this doesn't seem to fit.
You might say that Missoula loves looking back and our ways are simply retro, but I wonder if something else is at work.
Fast Company points out that being a Luddite was maybe more of a protest movement than people who were unwilling to change with the times.
Contrary to popular belief, the original Luddites were not anti-technology, more were they technologically incompetent. Rather they were skilled adopters and users of the artisanal textile technologies of the time. Their argument was not with technology, per se, but with the ways that wealthy industrialists were robbing them of their way of life. - Fast Company
Missoula for a long time has been a town with a healthy appreciation for fist-shakers and people who challenge the status quo. Maybe the tendency toward books and CDs is a subtle rejection of streaming and digital culture the way the original Luddites were responding to industrialists.
Or, maybe it's just preference.
Stores Missoulians Want at Southgate Mall
Gallery Credit: Ashley