Thursday, January 8, 2009

Nashville is the New LA (Or the New Memphis)

Posted By on Thu, Jan 8, 2009 at 5:33 AM

click to enlarge whitesnake-thumb-400x300.jpg
You will know the new arrivals from LA by the powers invested in their blow dryers

The Tennessean was rather giddy the other day when it reported that Nashville's second-greatest source of new residents was Los Angeles. According to IRS data, 462 people moved here from the City of Angels between 2006-07, a time-frame that conspicuously coincides with Nissan HQ's move from suburban LA to Franklin.

Still, such numbers tend to be rah-rah moments for we shameless creatures in the media business, a chance to strut hometown superiority over a larger, supposedly cooler city. And so The Tennessean did, regaling readers with tales of sold out "Nashville is the new LA" T-shirts and anecdotes about our fabulous quality of life. (Using the same data, a writer in Pittsburgh was able to declare that city the New Washington, D.C.)

But the problem is that we should really be calling ourselves The New Memphis, since that's our leading source of new residents. I'm not sure people would take that as a compliment. (Chamber of Commerce slogan: Visit vast swaths of ghetto! Meet crazy fundamentalists! Behold our crumbling infrastructure! Watch bad NBA basketball!

And as colleague Tracy Moore points out on Nashville Cream, who wants to be the New LA when we could just be a cooler Nashville? "When we've become a city of transplants always importing coastal and other regional cues, what makes us authentically us anymore?" she asks.

My own theory: This migration is composed entirely of washed-up rockers who somehow believe it'll be easy to find a second career in country. I think that just makes us Home to the New Whitesnake.

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