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Popular culture seems to have two general depictions of small towns. The first is a naive, sleepy, hamlet where nothing ever happens, populated with lovable eccentrics and warm-hearted folk (always folk, never people). Generally this setup sees the return of the prodigal son or arrival of an outsider, almost always from the “big city,” of which the townies speak with disdain. The protagonist will eventually fall in love with a more wholesome type of woman and realize what he’s needed all along is a simpler kind of life. See television shows like Northern Exposure and Ed, for example. The other stereotype involves a placid calm that masks a swirling tempest of murder (Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt), violence, racism (Pudd’nhead Wilson), small mindedness, and cowfucking (that would be Faulkner). The most accurate depiction of life in a small town I have ever seen, the TV show Friday Night Lights, is… More…