Weird is good

Thanks, Chico, for not being Bakersfield

In this week’s cover feature, we’ve highlighted a number of people who make our community such a vibrant and interesting place in which to live, work and play. And we want to extend our thanks to them for being bold enough to share their stories in these pages.

As you’ll read in the introduction to our first-ever Keep Chico Weird issue (page 18), the weirdness we’re talking about here is a good thing. First of all, the colorful characters in town keep Chico from being like your average rural farming community. You know, places where there are few surprises, places you visit only while passing through on the way to another destination.

Let’s face it, life here would be pretty boring—and unbearable for some—without the diversity of thought, culture and experience that these folks, and many more not mentioned in our pages, bring to the table. Their presence here and contributions to the community—be it socially, or in the arts or entertainment—not only are refreshing and inspiring, but also foster an environment of tolerance and creativity.

A couple of U.S. cities have wisely embraced the peculiarities in their midst. Austin, Texas, proudly adopted the slogan “Keep Austin Weird” more than a decade ago. And though it began mostly as a marketing campaign for small businesses in the city, it has come to stand for much more: namely, that the city is a progressive hub in that conservative state and that its subcultures are valued. Portland, Ore., too, has latched onto the motto, attracting visitors from afar to bear witness to the unusual aspects of the city and its populace.

So, the next time you think to yourself that something is weird, make sure to realize that that’s very likely a good thing.