Either/or. That game.
Sometimes the options don’t feel very different. Would you rather watch Seinfeld or watch The Simpsons? Would you rather be itchy or scratchy?
Sometimes they are very different, despite the superficial structure of the game. Would you rather be telekinetic or telepathic? Would you rather have the power of invisibility or the power of flight?
My dad and I took one of those little personality tests. I remember one question that clarified things for me. Would you rather have your head in the clouds or be stuck in a rut? That’s easy, I thought: head in the clouds. That’s easy, he thought: stuck in a rut.
For him it was about getting something done, even if it was the same old thing. For me it was about possibility, vision, about doing things better, doing things differently.
So, would you rather have Andy or Howard? Someone emailed me, said here’s the issue: non-arts folks don’t see a lot of difference between Andy Smith and Howard Duvall. Said we got rid of the regressive element on the council, and either of these guys would be good.
Don't see a lot of difference? Really? Are we watching the same news, reading the same webpages, thinking about the same city—and what they think a city could and should be?
Everyone knows Andy Smith is the arts candidate—or to rephrase that, the candidate at the heart of the city’s cultural boom, the candidate with a comprehensive vision for strategic planning. Everyone cites his transformation of the Nickelodeon Theatre from a tiny arts venue to a central cultural venue for the city—and his creation and direction of Indie Grits, one of the most exciting recent developments in our city’s ongoing cultural renaissance. (And don’t say you haven’t noticed this cultural renaissance? Columbia is not the sleepy little self-satisfied city I moved to 20 years ago. It is something better, something more. It is an urban ecology in transformation.) And doesn’t that massive film festival suggest he is more than an arts candidate: he is also the entrepreneurial business and infrastructure and commercialvision candidate? Look at their webpages. Look at Andy’s response to the flood and the infrastructure and local business issues it addresses. What have they done, what can they do? Earlier this year, the Free Times named him one of “50 People Who Get Things Done.”
Would you rather…? There’s a difference.