“There’s nothing to do here.”

by Rich Wright

The world is getting smaller.

Okay, not really, but it seems like it.

Computer algorithms keep pushing the same limited number of options to your ears and eyeballs. The same musicians. The same videos. The same TikTok and Instagram stars.

In the early days of the internet they promised us a “long tail,” where you could find anything you wanted. And you can still do that, to some extent, if you’re willing to suss it out. But it you’re just browsing the infinity of the internet you’re wading in the common river. You’re rinsing yourself off in someone else’s bathwater.

There are a plethora of options, but you don’t find them unless you actively seek them out.

Remember when they sold us the ballpark? They said it was the answer to the complaint that “there’s nothing to do in El Paso.”

Ironically, there’s less to do in El Paso now than there was ten years ago.

The B Section, the El Paso Inc.’s version of an entertainment weekly, was only 8 pages this week. Last week The B Section had an events calendar, but this week that feature disappeared. Last week the events calendar listed events in Las Cruces and Silver City, as well as a few in El Paso, but the pickings were pretty slim.

There’s less to do in El Paso now than there was when the ballpark was built.

Go figger. The ballpark hosts a few more than 70 baseball games a year, and maybe 20 soccer games, and some other events. Those games and events are sucking up El Paso’s entertainment dollars but maybe more importantly El Pasoans’ time. How many nights a week can the average El Paso go out to enjoy themselves?

The ballpark is sucking the air out of the entertainment scene in El Paso, and well as hoovering up the time and money of fun loving El Pasoans.

I know it’s not just the ballpark. There’s also the residual COVID mindset, and TopGolf (which got major tax concessions to open up here) and the water parks (which continue to get annual injections of City money). But higher taxes and competition from tax subsidized destinations, like Southwest University Park, TopGolf, and the waterparks, are driving a stake through the heart of lots of smaller businesses.

Our local governments are happy to envision grand designs and big plans, but the grand designs, big plans, and local governments, don’t do a lot for the little guy.

One comment

  1. Funny how that works, innit? Regarding algorithms, the problem seems to be that whatever you do is seen, and instead of looking alternatives or variety, the built in algorithms just offer you more of the same, as in “more (or bigger) is better.” Obviously, that is wrong, but tell that to the algorithms. Meanwhile, it just seems to me that when the Texas League existed, we could choose to go out to the Dudly Dome or Cohen Stadium while other options might have been available in other parts of the city. Now, they want you to believe that there is only one destination, and that just doesn’t work for everybody.

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