As Bruni writes,
The people there don't tether their identities to the luster or mythology of their surroundings. Their self-image isn't tied to their ZIP codes.
[. . . . ]
[I]f you inhabit the gilded precincts favored by those of us who fancy ourselves power brokers or opinion makers or players of one kind or another, it's a remarkable thing--and a welcome one.
The political operative in Washington, the financial whiz or magazine editor in New York, the studio executive in Los Angeles, the Internet impresario in Seattle or San Francisco: all are creatures not just of a profession but of a profession that blooms and struts in a given self-regarding place. Many have egos nourished by that terrain, which feeds a hyperawareness of status, a persistent jockeying for position.
Now, I grew up in Seattle and spent six years in Manhattan, and I love a world-class city at least as much as the next person. If I got a job offer in one of those places--or in Chicago or San Francisco, Boston or Austin--I probably wouldn't turn it down. But I find the geographically limited worldview of my creative-class peers both tedious and sad.
Certainly, there are industries that are centered around a single region, and it makes sense--it may even be necessary--for many people to live in-or-around D.C., L.A., or New York. But deriving your sense of hipness or glamor or self-consequence from where you live (or once lived) strikes me as a tragic kind of overcompensation. And I've got no time for transplants who can't forgive their current location for not being New York or San Francisco. Each of those cities? There's exactly one of. Move back, or get over it.
I wouldn't have moved here if I hadn't gotten this job, but I'd be thrilled to be here for another decade. Indeed, the fact that it's not hip and not a place that people move to means there's no anxiety about keeping up (cool new bars or restaurants open at the rate of about one per year) and no unusual cachet to doing so (at almost any venue you're equally as likely to run into your dentist, your tattoo artist, and some random meathead from your gym).
It's not that there's no tribal signalling of one's hipness and aesthetic and intellectual sensibility here, but it's not foregrounded in the same way. And thank goodness.