February 8, 2009
A couple of summers ago, when the Top Secret Writer and I were holed up in a Bisbee, Arizona apartment, working out the plot points for Mickey Free, when we would hit the wall, we would venture out, wandering around the old mining town to eat, check out the museums and historic buildings and talk up the locals. One thing became crystal clear: most of the Bisbee-ites we talked to dislike Tombstone—intensely. They don't seem to get why the town too tough to die is so popular and they look down their noses at, what they see as a right-wing-worshipping-violence-culture.
Evidently, a reporter for the Washington Post agrees, as a glowing piece in today's edition slams the home of the O.K. Corral:
"I came to southern Arizona looking for an older West, one that has managed, by luck or design, to preserve some of its past without becoming either museum or amusement park. Anti-examples abound: Phoenix long ago surrendered to generica, with strip malls and gated communities splaying endlessly outward from a nucleus of skyscrapers. Tombstone, the site of the shootout at the OK Corral, over-hyped its history; it now has a Disney slime, dominated by schlock souvenirs and reenactments. Bisbee has moseyed into the 21st century without shedding its history or selling out. Like the best of the Old West, Bisbee was a center of commerce, debauchery and colorful characters, claiming distinctions in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as home of the second most productive copper mine in the United States and one of the West's rowdier party towns."
It's interesting to me that Jerome and Bisbee both got the hippie influx, but Tombstone didn't (all three were mining towns on the decline and hippies gravitated to these type of towns in the sixties and seventies from Cripple Creek to Telluride). Probably because Tombstone is meaner, or at least not as attractive to the hippie vibe. Not sure, but it's an interesting rivalry, similiar to Tucson vs. Phoenix.
When I lived in Tucson everybody hated Phoenix, thought it was a sell-out town. People in Phoenix are oblivious to Tucson, and they don't really care.
"Now where is Tucson, exactly?"
—Typical Phoenix Newcomer
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