Thanks, once again, to all who read and responded to my previous two questions regarding the Soul of Knoxville. For those who haven’t, there is still time to read and respond to both. I am still a long way off from a clear answer, and so I still need your help. For those who responded and wish to re-think your answers, I am still very much open to hearing from you.
What follows is my own very tentative and ambivalent response to the closing question of my last post.
If we were to start at a central point, say downtown, and taking all possible roads out of town, where and when would we start finding people for whom we (as well as they) would feel generally comfortable saying they were not from Knoxville?
My reasoning process:
By the time we get to Nashville, Chattanooga, the Tri-Cities, and Asheville, NC we could certainly say that we are not in Knoxville anymore. The people who have lived in those cities a fair bit would feel quite comfortable saying they are not from Knoxville. Yet we would also feel quite certain that we had passed that point a long way back. But at what point?
As I followed the lines of an East Tennessee road map out and away from Henley Street, I asked myself, where would I find, more often than not, people who would agree with me in saying they were not from Knoxville?
Below are my own far-from-final answers:
By the time we get to the above places, we would find most people claiming they were not from Knoxville. Therefore, I would conclude we were no longer in Knoxville.
Why is this relevant?
If we are to speak in any meaningful way about the “soul” of Knoxville, i.e. its distinctiveness, we have to make distinctions between Knoxville and other places. The above list is my first attempt at that. Bear in mind it is just a hypothesis. Not only do I believe I could be mistaken, I’m almost certain that I am. But where? How? What do you think?