Place attachment — it’s a thing. And I’m a believer. More than an emotional bond someone feels toward a physical place, it’s actually a component to the interdisciplinary field of environmental psychology. Insert eye roll here, for sure, but stick with me.
Assuming my name wasn’t etched into the Book of Life with disappearing ink, which my behavior sometimes might suggest, I have a specific destination in mind for the afterlife. John 3:16 and all. But you can rest assured that post-Earth, a part of me will be imprinted to the following places, among others: Razorback and War Memorial stadiums, for starters (or for you unpopular kids, stadia); the sage-green second bedroom of our first house, where we lived when both boys were born, spilling over with memories of babies growing into toddlers, dogs as pillows, Matchbox cars and bedtime stories; the Allsopp trails where I twisted many an ankle and crested many a hill (and need to do so again, stat); the “view” at South Lookout and Fairview, which once served as the functioning balcony of the old Razorback Drive-In for neighborhood kids who’d bring binoculars to watch movies from afar (and from where at least one of those kids, years later, would propose to his future wife); and of course, can’t forget the pick-up window at Whatta-Burger in Russellville… You get the idea. My future residual hauntings, if you will.
Architecture being a focus of this month’s issue of AMP, place has been prominent on my mind. Like kids and dogs, “place” is the product of environment, and architecture is the vehicle through which it can be transformative. That’s the idea behind the reimagined Arkansas Arts Center, the new Argenta Plaza, the future Walmart corporate campus, for example.
Good vibrations, you know. They can lead to increased efficiency among workers, for one, and architecture impacts the ability of a place to flow with them.
It’s a thing, they say. And I think they’re right. But sometimes, you just need a factory, the only necessary “vibe” being efficiency. And Arkansas practitioners seem to be excelling in their field, whether their work is utilitarian or transformative.
Check out some of that work inside, where we reveal AIA/Arkansas winners and finalists for 2020. And as for vibes, I highly recommend the Dogs Playing Poker series by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge.
Back in the day, I pulled for the Lakers in the epic, ongoing rivalry with the Celtics that consumed America throughout the ’80s. They weren’t my favorite team, but when it came to Boston-LA, I was all in for Showtime. (My old favorite team, by the way, was the Bullets. Big E and Big Wes Unseld, baby. And, yes, astute readers will have noticed a pattern in my pro sports allegiances. Frankly, not really a fan of the NBA anymore except for ex-Hogs like Bobby Portis and Pat Beverly, both beautiful throwbacks.)
My littlest brother reminded me of all this recently. He was watching a replay of game 7 from the ’82 Eastern Conference championship series between the Celtics and the Dr. J-led Sixers. Philly took Game 7 at the Garden and would go on to lose to LA in the finals. I’ll let little bro’s text take it from here:
“What was great, which makes you realize how far we have fallen in sports all together is that with about 20 seconds left in the game, the 76ers had closed it out and were up by 12 or 13 points. The Boston faithful who had not left the garden began to chant Beat LA, beat LA. That’s when sports were great.”
Seize the Loom
As promised (all six of you just breathed a sigh of relief, I’m confident), we re-introduce Word of the Month as a regular component to the ol’ Editor’s Letter.
Away we go….
This month’s word, courtesy of Rhonda Dishner of the Economic Development Alliance of Jefferson County: Luddite.
Well played, Rhonda. A “Luddite” of course, in contemporary terms, is one who bristles against new technology. It’s mostly used to refer, simply, to someone clumsy with new tech. (Right now, I’m envisioning myself with a new iPhone, but I digress.) Historically, and this is where it always gets interesting, the term “Luddite” refers to a secret group of English textile workers formed in the early 19th century to protest the factory mechanization that was leading to widespread unemployment. So, essentially, a Terminator prequel.
Specifically, “Luddite” was coined from an alleged incident that took place in 1779. A Leicester weaver, whose name may or may not have been Ned Ludd, smashed two knitting frames in a fit of rage after being admonished by his employer. Of course, history can’t seem to agree if he was a real chap or not, but the name came to be associated with machine destruction. Rage Against the Machine, indeed. The organizers of the “Luddite” movement, centered around Nottingham beginning in 1811, adopted Ned as their symbolic captain. Carpe loom-em, anyone?
Luddites often clashed with the British military — HistoricUK.com says as many as 14,000 British troops were mobilized to suppress Luddite activity (which included mill and factory burning); more than that were sent to the Iberian peninsula to deal with Napoleon. But by 1816, machine destruction had been made a crime punishable by death, and the movement essentially quelled. Three Luddites were hanged for murder related to the killing of a mill owner and many others (precise numbers are elusive) sent to the gallows or Australia. In essence, down under or down… Under.
And there you have it, like it or not. What a tale we, ahem, weaved. Thank you, Rhonda, for your contribution. Nominations for Word of the Month — or for that matter, all comments, questions or suggestions — are welcomed. Hit me up at [email protected] Unless you’re a Luddite, of course, in which case an owl or raven will do depending on your level of nerd.
And as always, thanks for reading.