Chapel Hill’s (debatable) reign as the new Seattle

“The ‘Seattle’ phenomenon spawned a series of imitators in the music press…. For some time, Chapel Hill appeared to enjoy frontrunner status and a spate of pieces appeared touting central North Carolina as the place to watch….

“The most notable of the Chapel Hill pieces was certainly Mr. Eric Konigsberg’s for Details…. Konigsberg does yeoman’s work in fabricating a Chapel Hill to suit his fantasies: ‘In the Chapel Hill-Raleigh-Durham triangle of sleepy, left-leaning college towns, English lit students argue structuralism on their front porches while listening to hardcore songs like “Wheel-chair Full of Old Man.” ‘

“Yes, Chapel Hill, Raleigh, and Durham are in fact replicas of the same town…. Amazing that the fiction of them being distinct municipalities endured so long. And never mind that structuralism has not been a topic of compelling academic interest for 30 years, because state law does in fact mandate that the graduate stipend for studying literature include a house with a front porch….”

— From “Brain Dead in Seattle: A Jeremiad” by Eric Iversen in the Baffler (1993)

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