27 June 2007


Filed under: Reflections — ktismatics @ 6:25 pm

The day before yesterday Anne and I took our daughter and her old pal to the downtown mall. We parked in front of the Daily Camera building, customary gathering place for the hippies, street musicians and vagabonds who pass through town every summer. We grownups had a couple errands to accomplish, so we told the girls to meet us back at the car in an hour. As we parted ways I wondered aloud whether it was a good idea to set up a rendezvous point in the midst of this crowd. “What’s the matter with this crowd?” Some young dude sitting under a tree clearly took exception to my attitude. Um, er, well, nothing, but they’re young, see? So be nice to them. The dude, smiling, said nothing.

Boulder is a capital of American bobo culture: plenty of liberal-thinking, art-film-watching, tree-hugging, Whole-Foods-shopping, mountain-bike-riding, SUV-driving, skinny-latte-sipping lawyers and entrepreneurs and stay-at-home moms. But this is also a university town that boasts a storied heritage of beat writers, Tibetan Buddhist gurus, ski bums and hippies. Soaring real estate prices have exiled most of the real bohemians. The downtown pedestrian mall is definitely a bourgeois haven, lined with pricey boutiques and trendy restaurants. But every summer the hippies make the pilgrimage to Boulder, where they hang out on the mall and make the locals just a little bit nervous.

Now we’re back in Boulder, artsier, edgier, poorer, more bohemian than our prior bobo incarnations. But our brief exchange with the dude under the tree made clear to us that we’ve still got bourgeois instincts. We should have been attuned to the opportunity of engaging in a possibly fruitful conversation. Or at least we should have been able to see “this crowd” less as a potential menace and more as fellow travelers. It’s time to de-bourgify ourselves.



  1. France. Argh. Lol.


    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 27 June 2007 @ 7:24 pm

  2. -Jason


    Comment by Odile — 28 June 2007 @ 8:22 am

  3. It’s about
    the rimmigration blues.


    Comment by Odile — 28 June 2007 @ 8:38 am

  4. Ktismatics: It’s time to de-bourgify ourselves.

    You say that as though you actually believe it is possible.


    Comment by Erdman — 28 June 2007 @ 2:44 pm

  5. Agreed — probably a futile undertaking. Maybe post-bourgeois?


    Comment by ktismatics — 28 June 2007 @ 3:35 pm

  6. Odile –

    “Rimmigration blues” — that’s the name of this tune, is it? The other night we looked at an apartment to rent, and when we told the owner we’d just returned from France he started speaking fluent French. It turns out he went to school in Bordeaux, married (and subsequently divorced) a French girl, led bicycling tours through France for a few years. Bordeaux — tres beaux, tres chic, tres elegant. He nodded: tres bourgeois, though difficult for poor students like he had been. Now he’s a real estate attorney, remarried with two kids, bourgeois. His wife wants him to quit his practice so they can move to someplace like Africa — she hopes maybe their “brat” kids would shape up if they saw real hardship. He’s skeptical; besides, if he quit his practice he’d have to start all over again when he got back to the States. Now it was our turn to nod in agreement.


    Comment by ktismatics — 28 June 2007 @ 4:14 pm

  7. yes. (nodding too)


    Comment by Odile — 28 June 2007 @ 4:37 pm

  8. To de-bourgify one’s self might be akin to Paris Hilton’s “finding god” or the fact that she has become a new person through her “suffering.”

    Or perhaps it is similar to how we Christians identify with Christ once every so often by taking communion? We want a little bit of Christ here and there in order to feel “Christ-like”, and yet the radical call to complete self-surrender seems a bit much….


    Comment by Erdman — 28 June 2007 @ 6:37 pm

  9. Hey John,

    I wanted to ask you a question and its not really connected I know.

    Why is it, that so many rich people seem to suffer various mental illnesses? I am thinking Britney Spears Anna Nicole etc. We have many of them over here but you wouldn’t recognise the names. What is it about money and fame that causes such big problems in peoples lives? What things can one do to prevent these kinds of problems?



    Comment by Ivan — 24 July 2007 @ 5:02 pm

  10. I’m reminded of the Mae West line: “I’ve been rich, and I’ve been poor, and rich is better.” Substance abuse seems to be part of the celebrity lifestyle — weird hours, bad company and ready access. Besides, going into rehab is a way to get your name in the papers. It makes you wonder: if the paparazzi and gossip columnists pried into ordinary people’s lives would they dig up just as much emotional distress, addiction, etc.? I’m guessing yes. But the drive to fame probably also takes a certain kind of extreme personality, something beyond ordinary discipline, something narcissistic that makes them vulnerable. I bet too that the incidence of mental illness shoots up when the fame starts slipping away. What do you think Ivan?


    Comment by ktismatics — 24 July 2007 @ 6:12 pm

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