Let me start out by telling you a story. It's about two towns and the people in them and the distance between them.
This is PoVille. It looks nice enough to the people who live there. Nothing's really fancy, but their whole family is here, maybe minus a person or two. As we learned in school, there are all sorts of families. There are some with two parents, some with only one, some with three or four (yay stepparents!) . Some families have one or two kids, some five or six, some none, and every other permutation you can think of. Family, of course, is very important to the PoVilliens. They look out for one another and want the best for each other. Sure, the folks of PoVille have their problems, but by and large they get by.
They sound pretty much exactly alike, don't they? And there really are many, many similarities, even once you look past the surface. There is one big difference, though: the people of PerityVille spend a lot of time thinking about the people of PoVille.
A lot of the PerityVilliens think that the folks in PoVille are all good, no bad. They are, of course, wrong.
Conversely, a lot of PerityVilliens think that the PoVilliens are, to a person, horrible, untrustworthy folks. They are, of course, wrong.
Naturally, reality is far more complicated. Some PoVilliens are wonderful people. Some are shitty people. Some are both, depending upon circumstances, while the vast majority are neither.
The folks in PerityVille are...Well, pretty much exactly the same as the folks in PoVille, actually, except for generally thinking they're better than the folks in PoVille (something which is true for almost all PerityVilliens, no matter how they look upon the folks in PoVille).
So, why do PerityVilliens spend so much time thinking about PoVilliens? Well, it just so happens that PerityVille is the place to be. Everybody in PerityVille agrees on this, and so do a a lot of the folks in PoVille.
The problem lies in the distance, and in perception of it. Here we see PerityVille up top and PoVille down below. It's not an insurmountable distance, by any means, but most of the folks in PerityVille don't have a clue how the trail actually is.
Most of the people in PerityVille think there is a broad, wide road between them and PoVille, and that it's an easy jaunt up a small hill.
In reality, the path from PoVille to PerityVille looks more like this. Not only is it incredibly long and meandering and difficult, it is tiny and nearly impossible to find, and that's if you know it's there.
You see, for a significant proportion of the PoVilliens, PerityVille may well not exist, near as they can tell. See, they don't know anyone in PerityVille, and they don't know anyone in PoVille who has visited PerityVille. Sure, maybe Aunt Myrtle's second cousin's hairdresser's ex-boyfriend moved there, but no one's heard from him in years, so who knows what really became of him? Why should they even worry about leaving PoVille? After all, it's a nice place. It was good enough for their mother and grandfather and their entire family. And their family is pretty damn great, so PoVille is good enough for them too. To hell with PerityVille anyway, right?
So why is it that PerityVilliens think it's so easy to get there? Because sometimes an exceptionally clever PoVillien will figure out a way around the obstacles that lie between the towns. And if he can do it, surely all those other folks can too.
Complicating matters are the folks who fight their way along the path between the two, and end up thinking that anyone can do it, because they somehow have missed the fact that they are stone-cold badasses.
Of course, there are some people in PerityVille who know the truth about how hard the path is. Maybe they took it themselves, or maybe their grandmother did and told them about it, or maybe they talked to one of the lucky people and heard about how clever they had to be to bypass it. Whatever the case may be, for the most part the other folks in PerityVille don't want to hear it.
Why is that? Well, there are some folks in PerityVille who have decided that other PerityVilliens are mean, evil people who exist only to keep those sweet innocent PoVilliens from coming to PerityVille. (Remember, almost all PerityVilliens think the road is wide and easy, regardless of what they think about the people in PoVille.) Whether they actually believe this or just claim to because it helps them to control other PerityVilliens is a story for another time.
Another issue at play is that nearly every PerityVillien really does think he or she is better than PoVilliens. Some of them feel very bad for the PoVilliens (usually the folks discussed above, and those who feel the PoVilliens are stupid). Some just feel superior to them (usually the ones vilified as above, and those who think PoVilliens are lazy). But they all think the PoVilliens are lesser folk.
And so, the disconnect continues.
Upon coming to the end of my story, I realize that this is becoming ridiculously long, even by my standards. So I am going to cut it here and publish the rest of it tomorrow. And I promise this time that it will be published tomorrow; I'm going to write it right now and schedule it ahead of time.