Saturday, October 6, 2007

[Jim's Eclectic World] New comment on Re-mythologizing Yellowstone: Part 3 - A new Wonde....

Mike has left a new comment on your post "Re-mythologizing Yellowstone: Part 3 - A new Wonde...":

This topic interests me, and I enjoyed reading your essays.

You ask, "where is the Yellowstone community that can tell its tale?"

If Yellowstone is primarily a public commons, established specifically to prevent privatization and exploitation, then the Yellowstone Community would theoretically be the entire American population (or the world). This idea can seem very egalitarian and liberating. In practice, however, maintenance of this public commons seems to require an authoritarian local administration that is run by the executive branch of the US government. (I don't mean this as a criticism. It's just a reality.) As a result, the community of people that live in the park are almost entirely shaped by cicrumstances that are, as you term them, either paternalistic/authoritarian or the result of corporate control by the concessionaires.

In other words, the unaffiliated average citizen is a very transient phenomenon in Yellowstone, staying an average of only 1.5 days. By default, the park is shaped and inhabited by agents of law enforcement and capitalism. Perhaps this is the reason that the more egalitarian myths which you seek have not surfaced.

I think (and hope) that most people visiting Yellowstone view it as a "blank slate," ignoring the pre-conceptions of past visitors. If Yellowstone is left largely undefined culturally, then people are more likely to be inspired by it. This, at least, is my argument in "Yellowstone: The two million acre conceptual space" (an essay in The Yellowstone Spectator". (

Mike Tercek

Posted by Mike to Jim's Eclectic World at 10/6/07 1:14 PM