Video portrait of Sussex County in the words of Sussex Countians (Smyrna: home, high school)
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Video portrait of Sussex County in the words of Sussex Countians
I came across this on youtube: Heart & Soul of Sussex County, Delaware - YouTube I thought it would obviously be of interest on this forum, but what I'd really like to solicit is the reactions people have to it, especially the reactions of Sussex County residents. To what extent do you think the portrait is accurate? What does it leave out or underplay? Is it exaggerated in any details or assertions?
"Spring is here and in full bloom..."
(set 23 days ago)
Location: Ocean View, DE
1,017 posts, read 685,664 times
It's amazing what you'll find on YouTube--thanks for sharing. I think, for the most part, this video is extremely accurate. I was surprised how detailed it was as well, mentioned businesses that have been around for generations along with popular attractions. Some of my favorite parks were mentioned (even James Farm) along with the many farmers' markets and roadside produce stands we have here which go hand-in-hand with the county's strong agricultural background.
I had to laugh when the video mentioned "abandoned buildings along country roads"--can't leave that one out! It's true though. Now, the small town "everyone knows everyone" comment is accurate to a point, but I don't think this is a commonplace as it was twenty or so years ago in any part of the county (particularly at the beaches). Speaking of the beaches--the video was spot on. However, I must note that they never mentioned the beach traffic. Sorry to always be whining about this, but it's a major part of Sussex. Even inland towns have traffic issues on the weekends and it's a real pain. Just when I think it cannot get any worse...it does. I believe they should have filmed route one on a summer weekend to really portray the Delaware beaches. Just my two cents....
The failure to mention Rt 1 traffic seems to be an illustration of one thing I noted about the video, which is that it really didn't mention any negatives. However, this project was based on Sussex residents' own descriptions of their county, so perhaps it shouldn't be too surprising that people would have wished to put their best foot forward and concentrate on positive descriptions; it's also conceivable that descriptions like, "horrible traffic on Rt 1 in summertime" were given but not included by the UD folks making the video. I know the traffic's no fun. We avoid it as much as possible by never going downstate on a Friday or coming back upstate on a Sunday. Of course, if you live in Sussex around Rt 1, it could be a lot harder to avoid.
They mentioned 2nd Street in Lewes but failed to include a picture (except for The Buttery), which I thought was unfortunate. It's my favorite street in my favorite town in Delaware.
Although a native, I have not lived in Sussex County since graduating from HS. That said, I return regularly and feel I have a pretty good handle on how things are today so will share my views. Overall, I think the video does a good job of capturing the sense of Sussex today. Like Liz, the one thing that feels a bit off to me is the comment that in the small towns, everyone knows one another. When I visit western Sussex today, I get the sense that dynamic has changed significantly over time. Not sure if it's due to a change specific to the area, or the fact that technology (internet, smart phones, home entertainment systems, etc.) keeps people everywhere more isolated today.
There are only two significant elements of today's Sussex I find missing. The first is that the non-coastal area of the country are suffering more economically that they have in years past. This is of course true in nearly every rural area in the US today, and in a video of this nature, not something I would expect to see included. The other missing element is that the county has a lot more diversity than is reflected in the video.
jm02, could you expand on your observation that Sussex involves a lot more diversity than portrayed in the video? What occurs to me, of course, is the signficant gay/lesbian population in the coastal area, but I imagine you are thinking of other aspects of diversity beyond that. What are they?
^^^ Sure. First of all, I saw just a few African American faces. Further, there is a growing number of Hispanics and even a noticeable Haitian community. The demographics of the county will only continue to diversify. That's an important characteristic of the county that I think video missed.
Yeah, that occurred to me. Actually, I think there is just one good shot of an African-American man at a football game or something, and no shots that I could identify of Hispanic residents. I'm aware there are plenty of Hispanic Sussex Countians and even with my limited touring of the county west of Rt 1, it's very apparent around Georgetown. I have also been under the impression that the African-American population in southwestern Sussex is a significant one.
You could contrast the video with the great Delaware photos of Kevin Fleming, who seems very attuned to the ethnic diversity of the state, something that is especially apparent in his photos of Sussex County folks. As I think about it, I'm somewhat dismayed that the video seems to reflect what is probably an unconscious cultural bias. At the same time, I want to emphasise that I very much enjoyed the video myself. I would tend to fault the producers of the video more than the Sussex resident-participants for its shortcomings.
The failure to mention Rt 1 traffic seems to be an illustration of one thing I noted about the video, which is that it really didn't mention any negatives. However, this project was based on Sussex residents' own descriptions of their county, so perhaps it shouldn't be too surprising .......
To me (a Kent Countian) it's not surprising that Sussex residents neglected to comment on the beach traffic, and I don't think it's because it's a negative. It's pretty much known that locals do not visit the beaches like they did many years ago, and the beach is not a big part of their lives, at least during peak season. While tourists have contributed monetarily to the state, the other side of the sword is - our beaches have been taken over by out-of-staters. I think one would be hard pressed to find a local Kent Countian or Sussex Countian in that crawling weekend and holiday beach traffic. Actually, there's more buzz about the annual Delaware State Fair, car shows, and local festivals, than the beach (at least that's what I hear in my circles). When I, personally, think of Sussex County, I think of the Route 13 trip south through rural towns with views of farm land.
I believe the video was accurate.
By the way, Kevin Fleming is the pride and joy of Smyrna, graduating from our Smyrna High School, then going on to an illustrious career. http://www.kevinfleming.com/about/
I think I've got all of Kevin Fleming's photographic studies of Delaware, with the exception of his book of wildlife photos (which includes wildlife outside of DE, I think, though maybe just across the DelMarVa). His photos of diverse aspects of DE are tremendous, though sadly some of his subjects like the big automobile factories are now gone. Fleming now has a studio on Rehoboth Ave in RB, which is definitely worth a visit for anyone going down to Rehoboth Beach.
Rdlr, I may be making mistaken assumptions, but when we are down in RB, I usually feel I can identify many local daytrippers who I assume are coming to RB from rural/small town Sussex, Kent or the Eastern Shore -- mostly rather sketchy looking young people. If I'm correct in this, it may largely be a certain older teen to twenty-something demographic in Lower Delaware who make the trek to Rehoboth Beach. Of course, for all I know they could be from farther afield, but they just look like lower SES locals to me (meaning I wouldn't notice the middle class locals at the beach because they don't stand out or else they're the ones who stay away from the beach).
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