But it's important to remember there is also a sense that it was conceived almost as a substitute for evening and weekend transit. There's a coincidence there that is not so coincidental. Better marketing for Salem, not transit or other substantive improvements, is what the Chamber thinks is important.
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a "sizzle video"?
So what version of Salem is it performing?
Early in it, OBRA Director Kenji shows up on his bike. That's nice to see.
But that's mostly a throw-away accent detail. There's not a consistent bikey theme - though a bike taxi shows up later.
There's not any transportation theme, in fact. Transportation, the way people actually get to a place, move from place to place, has a shadowy existence in the video. There's a lovely evening shot of the Liberty Parkade and looking west up State Street with the intersection at Liberty - but not much foot traffic or car traffic. The Train Depot gets a drive-by at night from 12th Street. But the Transit Mall as gathering place or bus hub has no meaningful presence and may be totally absent.
It's also about stationary consumption, all about consumer goods and services - and lots of convivial drinking. Most activities have a "price for entry" and, especially if you think of it as a recruiting video, there's an implied level of income.
So, you know, it's a dating profile and self-affirmation, not a documentary. Asking for a more representative kind of truth is bringing demands to it from a different genre. Criticizing it in this way engages in some "straw man" argument and isn't all fair play.
But I still wish it were a little more real and had a little less fantasy and sizzle.
And I worry that the effect is narcotic - all that alcohol! - that its real purpose is to lull people into thinking that there's not more to do. "We're ok just the way we are!"
As performance and as artifice, it strips out complexity and ambiguity, serves up one side only of a binary. Nuance is hard, and it is not easy to say "Salem has wonderful, underappreciated charm" and "Salem is terrible in some ways and we have lots of work to do." From here anyway, it's both/and. Both statements are deeply true.
(Though it is possible I suppose that people will have a very different reading and primarily be inspired. It will be interesting to learn if that is the primary effect instead.)
What did you think of it?