Talk up Tulsa

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There's a great letter in today's Whirled from someone named L. D. Young who is tired of the whiny expressions of boredom emanating from some young professional types:

At a recent meeting on the proposed river development plan, I was irritated by comments from the Young Tulsa Professionals that, "There's nothing to do in Tulsa."

Are they in the same Tulsa area as me? A town that offers the breadth of cultural and social opportunities as Tulsa can hardly be termed "nothing to do." Let me direct their short attention spans to a few things to do.

The writer goes on to list museums, festivals, theater groups, art galleries, nightclubs, live music venues, coffeehouses, and places to see and be seen and then concludes:

Filling the river bed with water will just be another short-term fix for the mini-me entitlement generation who visualize life as an episode of "Sex in the City." Sorry, but that is not the real world. Quit your whining and find something to do.

The funny thing is that none of what's proposed in the river tax plan is going to produce the kind of excitement that these TYpros types say they're after.

Any parent knows that you can't cure kid boredom with more stuff. If you cave in when they complain of boredom and give them something new, in less than a day they'll be bored once more. The better path is to reintroduce them to something cool that they've forgotten or overlooked.

And that's what the grownups ought to be doing in this situation. The Tulsa Metro Chamber ought to be introducing these discontented youngsters to all the opportunities for fun around town, all the excitement being generated by private enterprise, aka "commerce," a word that used to be in that organization's name.

Instead, those with a vested interest in relieving taxpayers of their money are cynically exploiting the ennui of these young adults by telling them that it's not their fault that they're bored. No, Tulsa voters are the scapegoats, and if only those selfish naysayers would pay higher taxes, Tulsa would be transformed into a young single adults' paradise. Just like Surf City there'd be "two girls for every boy," but also vice versa!

Four years ago we listened to the tax proponents tell us how lousy Tulsa was -- stagnant, boring, dying. They told us if we gave them half a billion dollars they'd make it all better. Voters bought what they were selling. So how can they keep claiming that Tulsa is stagnant, boring, dying? Isn't that an admission that the package they sold us in 2003 -- Vision 2025 -- didn't work as promised? Or wasn't even what we needed?

A few months ago I linked to this wonderful testimonial to the free and inexpensive fun that Tulsa offers, and how you can find out about it in the events pages of Urban Tulsa Weekly. Tasha Does Tulsa has the same theme.

It would be nice if what was once known as the Chamber of Commerce and their affiliated young professional group (TYpros) would do more to talk up Tulsa instead of running it down.

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see-dubya said:

Amen to that. One of the reasons that I would love to live in Tulsa if I could is precisely that it is not Carrie Bradshaw's Manhattan. Neat tall buildings, art and music, but not a soulless whirl of loveless coupling.

Plus the nearby bass fishing is better.

Dan Paden said:

Some people would say that griping over Tulsa's alleged lack of things to do might indicate excessive free time.

Excellent post. I share the same frustration--I am baffled by people who don't see this as an excellent place to live and raise a family.

Jeff Shaw Author Profile Page said:

I think when the young people say there is nothing to do, I think what they are really saying is there are not a plethora of places to party all night. I'm not being facetious, I'm just remembering when I was younger. That's what I would say, when I lived here before. When I moved to Indy, I remember saying "Now we've got plenty to do!" - partying all night.

While I wouldn't say the the YP crowd shouldn't be taken seriously, I take them with a grain of salt. If we build a city around the YP set, we're in trouble when they finally get bored of partying.

The A team said:

The TYPros(Chamber Youth) are organizing a Rock the River(vote yes) concert on Thursday September 13.( Rumor has it bands are being paid a premium to perform at this event. I wonder of this could be yet another disgusting display of the misappropriations of our city hotel motel taxes by our region-er, I mean, metropolitan chamber of commerce?

sbtulsa said:

--I am baffled by people who don't see this as an excellent place to live and raise a family.
posted by ocks n my dryer.

I am baffled by contradiction here. The same peole who will execise energy and initiative in their careers, will not do the same to find entertainment in the city. are these types really the ones we want to attract to Tulsa?

I think there is some truth to what they say. But I would go further in saying that the problem lies a bit deeper than simply "something to do'. Many of my "YP" friends in other cities are used to having a large cohort of like minded people to hang around with. Who like doing many of the same things, carry similar attitudes, live in a similar fashion. This creates areas that cater to them, areas of town that visibly look "hip", you can drive though those areas and see that the area is full of people like yourself. The shops, stores, restaurants, condos, streetlife, etc. say "these are my people", here is a place where I can fit in and enjoy the comeraderie of other young, energetic, urban people who think and have values, hobbies, activities, life experiences, educational levels, etc. similar to my own. You can go to places like Austin, Denver, or Seattle and find large groups of those types of people and the areas where they congregate and live. (You will often find those areas as being the healthiest or "thinnest" versus Tulsas fattest and unhealthiest as one example of different types of people with different attitudes, lifestyles, activities, etc. congregating in and influencing some areas). It may be an alien thought and hard for the local unfit population to grasp this... but many of my friends when visiting Tulsa, one of the first things they ask about is the parks and trails system. Where is the best place to bike? Whats the trail and park system like. Those things may seem superficial to some people here but really are just one indication of what this communities values and attitudes are in a broader sense. Our educational levels and lack of a full fledged, public graduate university is yet another indication which also has an effect on our cities young population. We are improving in that area, but still have a looong way to go. I personally would rather see us spend money on creating a thriving OSU Tulsa campus downtown. Now that would make a large underlying difference in our cities demographics,culture and economics.

Mark Sanders said:

Not everyone is bored.

My wife and I spent last week on vacation in Rhode Island, and met a couple of sophisticated 30-something Boston musicians. I mentioned in passing that I had grown up in Tulsa, and their eyes lit up. They said that they had played with the Tulsa Philharmonic and lived in Midtown for several years until the Philharmonic folded.

I then cringed awaiting what I thought would be an inevitable put-down of the social and/or cultural opportunities in Tulsa (I was feeling particularly vulnerable since I've been trying to convince my wife to relocate our family there). Much to my delight, they went on and on about how much they had enjoyed Tulsa and were upset to have to move. Their summary: "There were so many new and interesting things to explore; we were never bored!"

Take that TYpros!

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on August 24, 2007 9:38 PM.

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