Hardly bewitching

I recently discovered your paper and fell in love. Thank you for a truly informative and entertaining piece of media. I love it!

Although I write this lovely compliment, I have to say that I am writing to respond to a [commentary] by H. Byron Ballard [“Bewitched: Baba Yaga in the Sacred Landscape,” April 2]. As I’m drinking in the Xpress, I continue to read a piece I’m sure will be talking about the dastardly high-rise. I, too, am opposed to such degradation of our beloved city, so I’m interested to read the article.

Then I read: “We’re insufferable that way—what must the newcomers think, those people who have no roots and don’t care to have any.” I am incensed, livid, exasperated and even heartbroken. As a newcomer (moved here last year), I take great offense to such a comment. Just who does she think she is—a Native American (the only true natives of the place)? Does she think people need to stay in the place where they’re born, and if they don’t, they are unrespectable morons? Do newcomers exist who blunder things up? Sure they do, but so do so-called natives.

We’re all people here, and just because we weren’t born in this place doesn’t mean we don’t deeply, deeply care for it. I love Asheville more than any land I’ve ever known. It may even be a newcomer who helps save it, so don’t you dare belittle a whole group of people who want to love, enjoy and care for Asheville. Be a little open-minded, Ms. Ballard, and see that just because my mother wasn’t here when she gave birth to me doesn’t make me less of a person, and doesn’t mean I can’t contribute to this city, and doesn’t mean I’m not interested in my roots.

— Janet Salonius

Author Byron Ballard responds: If all it takes is an 800-word essay to bring this person to “incensed, livid, exasperated and heartbroken,” she might want to pay a little more attention to the wholesale destruction of the natural world, the crashing economy and the endless war in Iraq—and a little less attention to an essay in a weekly newspaper. If roots are important, make a commitment to stay here, work for the betterment of the community you call home and put some down. As for who I think I am—I’m a woman whose family has been here for a long, long time.

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6 thoughts on “Hardly bewitching

  1. I’ve been here over 12 years, and while I am not a local, I’ve certainly put down roots. I too was at least mildly offended by the line “what must the newcomers think, those people who have no roots and don’t care to have any” — it’s the “don’t care to have any” that feels dismissive and judgmental. Not what I expect from my favorite witch.

  2. All my direct ancestors were parents and parenthood is what is destroying the environment. Thus it is roots themselves that are the destroyers. However I did have a childfree great aunt. NO ZONING!!

  3. NC Granny

    So right, Alan7. Parenthood and its resulting demands are decimating the environment. Since corporations, in pushing toward ever expanding economies, took control of our government and media via the gullible Christian Right, we hear zilch in this country about population control. While globally, our species approaches lemming threshold, resulting in ever more war, famine and hell on Earth.

  4. Except I think it is more about public schools taxing the childfree to relieve parental educational responsibilities than about corporations. Rockefeller was a major corporate overpopulation advocate. Plus no childfree access to TANF.

  5. NC Granny

    I fully agree that the childless should not be penalized in this way for their wisdom, or misfortune, depending on circumstance. I’ve forgotten which, but there’s at least one Canadian province that doesn’t tax the childless for public education. I find this fair and reasonable. Especially since my only child has chosen to remain childless… for the benefit of the planet.

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