Letter: Portrait of an Aspen stereotype
Portrait of an Aspen stereotype
As a product and local of this valley for all 24 years of my life, I’ve never felt more compelled about my inaugural submission to the Times.
Growing up here, you feel an inexplicable, yet unavoidable sensation of guilt every time you are introduced to somebody from elsewhere in the world. You wait for the searing glare of judgment as you utter, “I’m from Aspen.” You watch people size you up and act as if they know everything about you, just from speaking those three words. I’ve spent the majority of my adult life dedicated to disproving the notion that we all wear mink coats and have butlers named Chauncey waiting on our every whim.
People who don’t understand the diversity and beauty of this valley treat you as if you live in a bubble, detached from the realities of every day life.
This letter should not be regarded as a criticism of charity, or any program aimed at the stimulation of young minds, as I applaud the intentions of Portraits of Hope and what they are achieving in bringing people together and providing therapy to those in need. However, I feel that we are advertising this message through a very inappropriate avenue.
The “floralization” of emergency responder and law enforcement vehicles is only adding to the stereotypes about Aspen as gimmick of a town and one not grounded in the same realities as the rest of the world. To make light of the very entity that should be taken most seriously in this town is a disservice to locals as well as tourists that may, unfortunately, be in need of those services. It is borderline offensive for emergency services to be responding to life and death situations in vehicles that look borrowed from Cirque du Soleil.
I have always championed the spirit of this town as one that is very much aware of how lucky we are and devoted to providing that lifestyle of levity. Enjoying every moment for all the things we have been blessed with. But to advertise this carelessness in the most serious of situations is a blemish on this town and only a nod of the head to all the people who doubt our town’s conviction and recognition of reality.
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