Developing monoculture in Revelstoke


John Devitt
John Devitt

Oh magical Stoke List! Never failing to make us dizzy from eye rolling at idiots all the time.  As much as the new Revy Book classified site has made it categorically easier to find items, nothing can replace the Stoke List for the sheer ridiculousness and magnitude of ranting entertainment.  In some ways it is the closest thing we have to the ‘Jersey Shore’ of Revelstoke.  Only on the Stoke List can we read about people (often) intentionally making jackasses of themselves for attention and to stoke the fires of intolerance bubbling just under the surface of our fair community.  Case in point, this week’s ‘debate’ about policing marijuana usage on the Revelstoke Mountain Resort gondola.

For those who missed it, the RCMP made its presence known by reportedly busting those smoking pot on the gondola.  The rage followed was from those who felt the police should be out fighting ‘real’ crime versus the respect of not smoking on the gondola in the first place.  Well like it or not, smoking marijuana is still a crime.  Yes, we may often look the other way, but simply the RCMP were in fact doing their jobs fighting crime and using taxpayer dollars the way they are meant to.  The problem is that not everyone agrees with the law.  Unfortunately, this root of the issue was not where the debate focused.  Constructive energy was instead used for absolutist statements and magnificent frustration.

And then?  Poof!  After an explosion of complaining everything is back to normal within a day or two.  Not such a big deal after all.  Quickly supplanted by a new rant regarding sensationalized media.  How many details and ‘facts’ are necessary to know everything?  Isn’t it easier to just assume you know everything without reading?  It is much safer to ignore what is challenging or offensive, then to develop critical reasoning skills.

People either love or hate the Stoke List and the animosity that is unleashed on its web pages.  It is either read religiously, multiple times per day, or avoided at all costs like a plague.  It is often said ‘no news is good news’.  This age-old adage suggests that when everything is hunky dory we will be met with resounding silence.  For those who question why the Stoke List cannot have more friendly, happy go lucky news, the reason could be people are too busy being blissful to report on the smile of the day.  On the flip side one must ask why there is so much negativity on the List.  It could be chalked up to one or two fire starters seeking to get a rise out of people, or perhaps signifies something else lurking behind all the “this is the best place on Earth”-isms propagated in Revelstoke.

Of late, the legendary welcoming and tolerant community of Revelstoke appears to be morphing into something different.  Welcoming yes, but more demanding of conformity.  Once thriving with diversity, it now seems Revelstoke is giving way to a monoculture of adventure sports professionals, practically.  For those with diverging interests, expertise and opinions, the monoculture demands conformity or threatens exodus from the community.

We should ask what is so threatening that we must demand others to be like us?  Revelstoke has changed at a lightning pace in the past few years.  Changes that previously took place over two, three or even four years are now happening season to season.  Whether those changes are for better or worse is a matter of perspective.  Ridiculing others for not sharing the same interests or opinions is simply narrow minded.  Someone should not be made to feel inferior because they do not like to ski.  Freedom to live wherever you choose and be free from persecution is what it means to be Canadian.

Discount the Stoke List as hot air, or see it as manifesting an underlying sentiment in the Revelstoke micro-fishbowl.  Fearful of public reprisal from the monoculture, anonymity becomes an almost necessary alter ego to express opinions that in turn are shouted down by the same monoculture.  Like a guitar with only one string the monoculture rejects any melody that does not share the same tone.  On the surface, there may be some different notes, but it all ends up sounding alike.