Living in Aspen’s past has passed
Aspen “locals” so feverishly guard the legacy of Hunter Thompson that sometimes it seems that they insist, and insist on the inevitability of his words. His ominous warnings about Aspen (sucking) have to come true — or else, what will be made of our prophet?
His independence and magnetism are not in question (I see pitchforks already!). Hunter stimulated community, made people think and, with riveting charisma, shone a light on the absurdity outside as well as within. I don’t blame them for their love.
But nothing is lurking. You don’t “let the snakes in” to where the snakes already live. Whatever could destroy Aspen is already here.
It has always been.
There’s no such thing as locals, unless your memory only goes back 100 years. We cannot insist on trusting something (us vs. them) that has never been. It’s a path that leads straight to disappointment. Look around. What you remember as vibrant “before” was not localness, but community.
Continuing to fall for the “I’m a local kid, I won’t let you down” (ahem, Jeff) trick is a lapse of mind reserved for nostalgic reactivity. Even those who were never on board with the Gorsuch 1A adventure do so with an attitude of rote defensiveness.
This city sucks a lot of resources, but, you know, it also attracts a lot. For as many people who come in brainless posturing are those who genuinely see the extraordinary where even the “locals” forgot.
Please keep telling the real Aspen stories and keep them, and let’s also tell ourselves the truth — that a culture and a community to be proud of is not something angrily clung to, but lived.
There are always hard questions that need to be asked. There’s always asking yourself what you value, why you are here, and what you by your example are growing in your community. Let’s not dig into old habits out of nostalgic longing for those we admired, but invigorate ourselves in the creativity of the present, because that’s what they would have wanted.
And have a laugh, dammit.