The Vermont of the imagination is a powerful thing, especially when you’re unencumbered by reality. We’ve all chuckled at out-of-state reporters who parachute into our state and go back to their urban newsrooms to hack out a feature story about how Vermont is smaller in scale, slower in pace, neighborly in demeanor, and just generally downright happier than whichever benighted hellhole they call home.
This is the Hallmarkization of Vermont. There are several Hallmark Channel flicks set in fictional small Vermont towns where the people are uniformly neighborly, everybody helps each other, the main streets are vibrant places without a speck of litter but chock full of charming shops and eateries, and no one is poor, disabled, or in the throes of substance use disorder. They are places where busy Big City professionals come to discover What Really Matters In Life.
A particularly heinous example of Hallmarkization was published by the Christian Science Monitor back on December 7. It just came to my attention thanks to the Twitter feed of Dr. Michael Shank. The story is about how Vermont is beating Covid-19 through sheer unadulterated niceness.
It’s obnoxious in a whole bunch of ways. Let me count them…Continue reading