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Surfing into the Sunset

San Luis Obispo

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As a surfer residing in San Luis Obispo, who considers himself to be relatively “cultured and educated,” it was interesting to read, in the recent Sunset Magazine piece, about the City of San Luis Obispo (August 2008 issue, page 67),Üa quote attributed to SLO County accountant Merilee Wilhelm. She proclaims that: “You have a lot of cultured and educated people here [in SLO], but it’s not a stuck up town—I’m not sure it could be with all the surf shops around.”

What exactly is this supposed to mean? ÜThat “cultured and educated” people have a tendency to be “stuck up” except, of course, if they are surfers? That it’s simply pretty ridiculous to be “stuck up” about a town, no matter how “cultured and educated” its citizens are, when there are so many surfers about? Am I to feel insulted or affirmed?

As a surfer trained in philosophy and “plain language” usage analysis, I am simply curious about the relationship perceived by Wilhelm between the terms “cultured and educated,” “stuck up,”Üand “surf shops”— or, I presume, surf culture. If this relationship is somehow indicative of some ingrained cultural construct, I’d like to hear it explicated or unpacked, as it were.

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