Seattle's reputation as an agnostically enlightened outpost—anti-establishment, anti-materialist, anti-upward-mobility, a laid-back and civil burg with an economy designed for people with no measurable drive—has been severely tested over the past two decades.
Moody (The Visionary Position, 1999, etc.) recounts here his own immersion into the whirlpool of Silicon dollars: thanks to Microsoft, where once the citizens had little money and a lot of time, now the opposite was asserting itself. Starbucks, Amazon, high-tech upstarts, natural grandeur . . . the city was hailed as a mecca for innovative personalities. But persistent was the thrum of discontent between the high-rents and low-rents, the embrace of celebrity and the embedded culture that reflected “a psychological manifestation of our meteorological conditions.” Working as a writer for the Seattle Weekly, Moody took good advantage of his position to gauge the city's vicissitudes, the warring visions of the lesser and greater Seattlites that reached a critical mass with the WTO riots. Then came the economic bust, and Moody unveils a Seattle true to itself, a city that “always finds a way to knock itself off the perch of pretension it ascends every few decades or so.”