It's time to put the local vs. non-local debate to bed

It's not even a contest


Charlestonians are a proud lot — and rightfully so. We live in arguably the most beautiful and loved city in the United States and clearly one of the most historically important. We're home to a celebrated food scene, a burgeoning music mecca, and, if we get lucky, a future hub for high-tech firms. And no one is more fiercely proud of our fair city than the men and women who've lived here all their lives. 

Sadly, far too many Holy City natives are dismissive of anyone who wasn't born in town. In the minds of these provincial puritans, if you aren't from here, well, then you have no business having an opinion about what goes on here. You're not from here, you never will be from here, and, honestly, you might as well go back to wherever the hell it is you're from. Charleston doesn't want you, and it certainly doesn't need you. Charleston is what Charleston is, and all of you outsiders can't do a damn thing about it.

Except, of course, the outsiders are.

When it comes right down to it, the people who define today's Charleston and who are guiding us into the future, well, they're from off. 

Yes, there are a few native sons and daughters who are still helping to plot Charleston's destiny, but their numbers are small. Here's a by-no-means comprehensive list of local-born VIPS (Feel free to get back to me with more):

1. Joe Riley (mayor, Charleston)
2. Jeremiah Bacon (chef, Macintosh, Oak)
3. Thomas Ravenel (former state treasurer, reality TV star)
4. Tim Scott (U.S. senator)
5. Darius Rucker (singer-songwriter, Hootie and the Blowfish, Grand Ole Opry member)
6. Glenn McConnell (CofC president, former S.C. Senate leader)
7. Dorothea Benton Frank (author)
8. Leon Stavrinakis (state representative)
9. Pierre Manigault (owner, chairman, Evening Post Publishing)
10. Charlton Singleton (trumpet player, bandleader, Charleston Jazz Orchestra)
11. Joel T. Hamilton (singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, Mechanical River, former Working Title)
12. Quentin Baxter (jazz drummer)
13. Nate Dapore (entrepreneur, People Matter)
14. Charles Carmody (Charleston Music Hall)
15. Hank Holliday (hotelier, restauranteur)

(Note: Neither Shepard Fairey nor Stephen Colbert count since they don't live here and haven't for some time.)

They're an impressive group for sure, but let's consider the ranks of the non-natives (Once again, get back to me with more):

1. Mike Lata (chef, FIG, The Ordinary, James Beard winner,)
2. Sean Brock (chef, Husk, McCrady's, Minero, James Beard winner)
3. Mark Sanford (former governor, internationally known lothario)
4. Jenny Sanford (former first lady)
5. Mary Alice Monroe (author)
6. Marjory Wentworth (poet)
7. Cary Ann Hearst (award-winning singer-songwriter, Shovels & Rope)
8. Michael Trent (award-winning singer-songwriter, Shovels & Rope)
9. Mark Bryan (singer-songwriter, Hootie and the Blowfish, instructor)
10. Ben Bridwell (singer-songwriter, Band of Horses
11. Bill Murray (actor, kickball player)
12. Mike Veeck (minor league baseball owner, promotional legend)
13. Nathan Durfee (painter)
14. Jonathan Green (painter)
15. The Lee Brothers (cookbook authors, foodie personalities)
16. Spoleto 
17. Jamee Haley (activist, Lowcountry Local First)
18. Jamie Tenny (Coast Brewing, beer pioneer)
19. Anita Zucker (the richest person in the state, InterTech)
20. Harve Jacobs (investigative journalist, Live 5)
21. Dana Beach (activist, Coastal Conservation League)
22. Nancy McGinley (school superintendent)
23. Mike Seekings (city councilman)
24. Bobby Harrell (S.C. speaker of the House)
25. Four out of five of the City Paper's editorial department
26. Robert Stehling (chef, Hominy Grill, James Beard winner)
27. Brian Hicks (journalist, Post and Courier)
28. Alison Piepmeier (columnist, professor, feminist activist)
29. Steve Palmer (restauranteur, Indigo Road)
30. Ayoka Lucas (fashionista, Charleston Fashion Week)
31. Rodney Lee Rogers (actor, founder PURE Theater)
31. Pat Fucking Conroy (author)
I don't know about you, but I think that pretty much settles it, once and for all.

Comments (14)

Showing 1-14 of 14

Add a comment

Add a comment