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September 02, 2009

Dutch TV Puts VT Secession in Context

For this week's paper I wrote a very short State of the Arts item about Vermonter Jim Hogue's upcoming appearance on the Dutch TV and online series Metropolis, which commissions short videos from all over the world on a weekly given subject. Tomorrow at 4 p.m., U.S. correspondents Kel O'Neill and Eline Jongsma will be filming Hogue at the Adamant Co-op as he does his "living history" presentation in Ethan Allen drag and talks about Vermont's future and the notion of secession.

I emailed O'Neill to ask him the theme of the episode in which Hogue will appear, but he didn't answer till after press time (not surprisingly, since my missive was pretty last minute). When he did respond, though, he had some interesting stuff to say, which I'm quoting below.

We get so caught up in local debates that it's refreshing to see how folks outside VT are viewing us and placing us in an international perspective. "Metropolis" sounds like a cool endeavor, and I hope to catch the clip when it airs. (Yes, their site is in English!)

O'Neill wrote:

The broad theme of the episode is "Nationalism," but Jim's story allows us the opportunity to examine the topic from a different perspective: In Jim's words, the 2nd Vermont Republic exists not in the physical world, but in the minds of its members.

We became interested in the Vermont Independence movement because it subverts many of the preconceptions about secessionist movements: its members are pacifists, and their message is philosophical rather than reactionary. It's our understanding that our story for this episode was commissioned precisely because it will contrast with the other stories coming in from around the world.

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