441 CHRONICLESnthe enemy. The Batavia Daily Newsnrecently profiled a local lass who’dnrisen to stratospheric heights — as secretarynto George Bush! Somewhere innnightmarish Northern Virginia herncondo doubtless desecrates some CivilnWar site. She wanted to say hi to all hernfriends back home, and vouchsafednthat she couldn’t understand how somenlost souls “just stay there.”nIn saner times, such a turncoatnwould be pitied by the community.nToday, she is emulated. Look! See hownthis plucky gal overcame her GeneseenCounty upbringing and is at this verynmoment typing documents crucial tonthe extension of the American imperium!nMr. Bush’s Burned-Over minionnknows well that moment at which thenexiled colonial faces a choice: abandonnthe province and pledge allegiance tonthe metropolis, or dig in your heels inndefense of a home and a culture thatnelite opinion has encouraged you tonrenounce. For most choosing expatriation,nhome recedes quickly, until itnbecomes nothing more than a joke.n(Western New York-born choreographernMichael Bennett: “Buffalo andnsuicide are synonymous.” Ha ha.)nHow does one revive a longdormantnregionalism? Loyalties tontowns, villages, counties exist, but anyngreater regional awareness has vanished.nThere is no Burned-Over sectionalncharacter, just as there is nonextant Burned-Over literature. Thenfootsteps of Frederic and Gardner andnthe anti-Masons are obscured by timenand indifference; even the mostnancestor-minded Burned-Over son willnhave trouble finding his way.nA few gusts of anti-urbanism stillnwhistle through the district, thoughnthey are pooh-poohed by provincialnelites and ignored by New York’s mandarins,nwhen the upstate serfs roarednprotest over his mandatory seat-beltnlaw. Governor Cuomo dismissed thenopposition as “NRA hunters who drinknbeer, don’t vote, and lie to their wivesnabout where they were all weekend.”n(High wit from a man who sees St.nFrancis of Assisi’s imprint all over thenDepartment of Health and HumannServices.)nFor a time, the Attica prison riot ofn1971 cleaved the state along geographicnlines. As refracted through the NewnYork City media lens, Atticans ap­npeared to be gap-toothed inbreds justnaching to join some hillbilly lynchingnparty. When Governor Rockefeller orderednthe storming of the prison, killingn11 hostage-guards and 32 inmates,nAttica forever after became a bywordnfor racism.nLost in all the bloviating postmortemsnwas the social and sectional significancenof Attica. In the Burned-OvernDistrict, the inmates are not seen as thenprime villains in the Attica riot. Mostnlocals were aware of the squalid conditionsninside the prison, as well as thenoccasional brutality of some guards.nThe real criminal was the hated Rockefeller,nsymbol of the inexorable forcesnof downstate tyranny. The dead, said anrelative of one murdered guard, werenkilled with “a bullet that had the namenRockefeller on it.”nTom Wicker, back in the days beforena legion of “researchers” wrote hisnlifeless copy, backhandedly commemoratednWyoming and Genesee countiesnwith A Time to Die, his account ofnAttica. Wicker’s impressions are aboutnwhat you’d expect from a culturalnturncoat: when apprised of his assignmentnto Attica, he whines that he’snbeing sent to “such a remote part ofnNew York territory.” When he witnessesna hysterical woman beratingnblack Buffalo Assemblyman ArthurnEve, he chalks her rage up to “thendrudge life in Alexander, New York.”nWhen he sups (to satiation, I wouldnguess), he can’t help “watching cheerfulnBatavians enjoying themselves atnthe local hot-spot,” which, yuk yuk,nturns out to be “a bowling-alley restaurant.”nThey filmed ole Tom’s book a couplenyears back, and an attractive girlnof my acquaintance — a lifelongnGeneseean — sought a spot as an extra.nShe didn’t make it. “Not hick-lookingnenough,” the Hollywood casting personntold her.nPredictably, Burned-Over influencenon state politics has dwindled to nilnover the last century. No one muchncares. Oh, the seat-belt law still rankles,nas do the tax and bond referenda thatnthe corporate-state managers sneaknonto the ballot (in indecipherablenprose, to discourage voters from readingn’em). But why get involved innpolitics? Downstate dominates thenever-widening public sphere, resistancenis generally futile, and statewide elec­nnntions are a joke. As an alternative tonmanagerial state Democrats from NewnYork City, the GOP offers millionairensuburban patroons from Long Islandnor Westchester County, take your pick.nMost sensible folk don’t.nStill the embers in the Burned-OvernDistrict do erupt into glorious flames atnfitful intervals — witness last winter’snheroic fight by the citizens of WaynenCounty to save it.nThe protagonists of Progress andnPrivilege, i.e.. Saint Mario, the Chambernof Commerce, and Albany’s swollennbureaucracy, betook a flashy effortnto attract the multibillion-dollarnsupercollider boondoggle to Wayne,nthe second-largest apple-producingncounty in the country. (The supercollidernis the perfect Reagan-era publicnwork: subsidized employment fornupper-middle-class white engineers.)nMore than 12,000 acres of land,nmuch of it devoted to apple orchards,nwere to be destroyed. As many as anthousand homes were to be razed. ThenHill Cumorah, a sacred Mormon site,nwas to be sacrificed to the Moloch ofnscience.nIn an instant, the Wayne precinct ofnthe Burned-Over District was ablaze.nThe governor was hung in efiigy. Thenlieutenant governor, a token upstaternfrom Jamestown, a turncoat quislingncollaborating student council presidentnof a man, was spat upon. The jellyfishnpols, sensing that the Cuomo/nChamber of Commerce juggernautnwas encountering fierce and potentiallynviolent opposition, jumped ship, thenslimy lot of them burbling about nature’snpristine beauty, the will of thenpeople, blahblahblah. Remarkably, thenstate gave in. The supercollider wouldnhave to profane some other site, innsome other state.nSecession is the obvious remedy.nThe prospects for a severed New Yorknare actually far brighter than exist innany other state. As recently as the laten1960’s, Norman Mailer and BellanAbzug were proposing statehood fornNew York City. Mailer made secessionnthe keystone of his 1969 mayoraltyncampaign, though Brooklyn’s bard ofnfugging slighted the prospect of gainingnupstate support for a split: “Whilenthe separation could hardly be as advantageousnto New York State as itnwould be for the city, it might nonethelessnbegin the development of what hasn