One of the most irritating things about the debate in North Dakota over the rapid industrial, social and economic development of western North Dakota is the complaining about people who would rather it stay a desolate, sparsely-populated wasteland because they think that sort of thing is quaint.
One of the worst offenders in this regard is the Bismarck Tribune’s Clay Jenkinson, who claims to be in favor of oil development generally but can’t seem to write a single column without griping about how he can hear oil trucks on nearby highways when he’s out hiking his favorite trails or something.
But when it comes to obnoxious, intemperate denunciations of western development the folks at the Fargo Forum take the cake. Case in point, this Twitter posting from Forum editor Matt Von Pinnon expressing his satisfaction that western North Dakota has poor cell phone service:
Southwestern North Dakota is a beautifully untouched landscape made all the better by spotty cell phone service. Hope it stays that way.
— Matthew Von Pinnon (@inforumed) April 27, 2013
I guess Von Pinnon’s point is that he likes being able to vacation in western North Dakota and not be bothered by his cell phone so much. So he’s happy the service isn’t very good. And, you know, screw the people who actually live there. Those dumb rubes don’t need reliable cell phone service, am I right?
It gets back to the mentality that seems to permeate the Fargo-centric media’s coverage of western North Dakota. It’s as though they see the western part of the state not as a place where people live and work – people who would like to see their communities grow and prosper just like everyone else – but as their personal playground to be kept in social and economic stasis for their enjoyment.