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Missoula loves to love itself, and why not? It’s a great place to live. But let’s face it, it’s also a tough place to live and we can’t all run around sprinkled with pixie dust all the time. For real, man, you can only take so much “We Like It Here!” before you start asking yourself what’s so great about inversions and casinos and strip-mall sprawl and why am I still shucking art-food sandwiches for rich trusties when I’ve got a Masters degree?

We read sometime (but longtime) Missoula resident Benford Standley’s ongoing online cyber-chronicle Goodbye to Ole Missoula, and we said, hell yeah! Finally, a little caustic substance to break down the waxy yellow buildup of rampant boosterism! Standley has some 33 years of trying to make a go of it as a performer and musician in Missoula under his belt. In the course of this rambling essay about life in and away from Missoula, he manages to get a few jabs in at those whom he perceives to be conspirators against culture and dignity in the Garden City. And on at least one score, the Indy is in full agreement.

Starting in the ’70s and adding chapters as he completes them, Standley paints a picture of a gritty minimum wage town where individuals trying to organize concerts have to contend with fairweather community support and—surprise, surprise—the reliable ineptitude of a certain daily newspaper’s entertainment coverage. At one point, he less than gently suggests that the Missoulian might not be able to discern its cranial unit from its rectal aperture.

Now, we may not know Benford Standley from Adam. But we sure like his attitude.

“Corporations are in the air we breathe, the water we drink, the land we walk on. They are in the food, the clothes, the cars, the speed, the news, the music, the cool, the hype, the sex. But who are these legal fictions that we ourselves created? How did they get to be omnipotent? Do corporations serve us, or do we serve them?”–

Here’s a question for you, the reader: How do you feel about private, commercial ventures operating on public property? Should corporations be allowed to use public resources to hawk their wares? And should we, the taxpayers, support their upkeep? Where do YOU draw the line? We’d like to know. Write us: Missoula Independent, 115 South 4th West, Missoula, MT 59801, or respond via e-mail:

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