June 27, 2017

Under the Microscope

In recent weeks I’ve run across two — yes, two — graduate students spending time in Floyd County to study our lives and ways for use in a thesis.

One is looking at the music culture of Floyd while the other examines homesteading.

Both have degrees in anthropology which, I guess, puts us in the same class with primates as a species worthy of study by academic minds.

I also got a call from a young man inverviewing for a job in the Associated Press’s Roanoke bureau. He wanted information about “life, culture and issues” in Southwestern Virginia hoping such knowledge would give him an edge during the interview. The AP wrote recently about Floyd’s barter system with the headline “Roads less traveled: Bartering is old way to get what you want.”

Jim Minick, a Radford University English instructor, Roanoke Times colummnist and author breezed through town last week to promote his book of essays on ecology, food and forestry. Minick’s book is published by West Virginia University Press, which offers a whole catalog of works on the joys of country life.

Gotta wonder if life in our quaint little part of the world is worthy of all this scholarly and journalistic attention. Browse the magazine rack at the Barnes & Noble in Christiansburg and you can find more than a dozen publications focused on country life and living. A Google search of “country living” brings 56.9 million listings. A search of the news section brings up about 23,900 hits, including one from the Houston Chronicle that says “Country living has its drawbacks.”

Yes, country living has its drawbacks — like trying to deal with all the attention.

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