Not the same Island

To the Editor:

To be from a place was once thought to be part of a person’s essence, as quintessential as their bones, flesh, and blood. My life here on this Island is now one of shame, as I regard a bleak and souless future for my community, dominated by addiction, suicide, and vapid consumerism. Before she hung up on me, the representative of the town of Tisbury told me that I needed to submit to the state in order to receive permission to put on a concert of music that I composed at the Katharine Cornell Theater. Her rude cadence and abrasive tone are exemplary of the new form of “Islander” — a form that causes me to regret my life spent on the same Island on which I buried my father.


Milo Silva
Vineyard Haven


  1. You get a lot of that these days. I blame all the screen time people spend with their electronics and the fact that they don’t learn how to properly act and react with people. I also feel as though people feel like they can be as rude or non caring as they want because we are essentially held hostage by people of authority and lack of options (ie, places to grocery shop, hardware stores, gyms, ect.)

  2. Let me also state, that I do love living here, I love my little house and my neighborhood. I love going for walks on the beach anytime of the year and many many little things that allow me to overlook some of the drawbacks (SSA, job opportunities) so, if you love it enough to stay, we have to embrace the island warts and all.

  3. Someone was rude on the phone, so you regret your whole life? That’s a little much. There are wonderful people on this island that I encounter every single day. And while I’ve seen monumental changes on the island, they haven’t all been for the worse.

      • Your mileage may vary, but I’d put the following on the positive side of the ledger:

        1) The “New” Ag Hall . . . disassembled, moved, and rebuilt as a community effort

        2) Bringing the local osprey population back from the brink;

        3) The emergence of a thriving aquaculture industry in Katama Bay, and the Vineyard’s newfound reputation as a source of oysters;

        4) The construction of three magnificent new public libraries that — like their older counterparts — double as vibrant community centers (OB, Edgartown & WT);

        5) The transformation of the Carnegie Library into a museum/visitor’s center, and of the Marine Hospital into the new home of the Martha’s Vineyard Museum;

        6) The rescue of the Strand and Capawock movie theaters, and the East Chop and Edgartown lighthouses, from years of decay and the specter of possible demolition

        7) The emergence of a local farm-to-table movement and the resurgence of small farms; and (essentially unrelated), the expansion and diversification of year-round dining and grocery-buying options

        8) Greater diversity on select boards and in local elected positions;

        9) The proliferation of solar panels, electric vehicle charging stations, and busses running on things other than petroleum;

        10) The whole “not letting the Gay Head Light fall into the sea” thing

        And, A level of public engagement with, and citizen activism related to, dauntingly complex local problems (and the local manifestations of regional and global ones) that’s higher by far than anything I’ve seen on the island in my adult lifetime. A sense that, even if we don’t have solutions (yet) we’re trying like hell to find them . . . and, wherever possible, to implement measures to mitigate the worst effects of those problems while we keep looking.

  4. Quite the non sequitur going from addiction, suicide and consumerism to getting your feelings hurt,but ok…

  5. You’re upset because you need to get a permit to perform? I am sure you’re not singled out. At the Tabernacle we need to do the same, at the High School, we need permission too. I am sure your anger blocked your ability to hear correctly. You talk about addiction and other situations which ravage our world today? Why not think of the positive in your fathers light and talk about his demons he overcame and how he learned to love this place his gracious and amazing soul is buried.

  6. I seem to remember that recently a concert promoter had to jump through hoops of fire to put on a show. He was supported by some, pilloried by others. Both success and catastrophe from the event were publicly debated. I doubt anyone on either side of the discourse expected the promoter either to fold or persevere based on stridently expressed public opinions. Your life should not be filled with shame over the hurdles presented in a telephone call. From what you described, you encountered bureaucracy, not an outright refusal. What happens next is up to you.

  7. Culture is wasted on the corporate Philistines, and the dim and dull locals that whore themselves for their money, who have degraded Martha’s Vineyard from community to commodity.

    True Art will not return to this island until the pure of heart dance round the bonfires of Revolution, and lustily beat their drums with the bones of the vanquished elites.

    • Culture is wasted on What? What do you mean by True Art, as if you know something that no one else is smart enough, cultured enough, or artistic enough to know or see? The Vineyard economy, including its ability to support art and culture, has always depended on visitors and tourists and seasonal residents. And who exactly are the elites? White guys? Politicians? Hollywood actors? Royalty? People with more money than you? People who have secure housing? Cronig’s shoppers? Or people you assume think of themselves as elite. I’d really like to know. “Elite” is thrown around these days as a slur, the way “liberal” is thrown out by Trump supporters as if it’s a dirty word. Could it be that “elite” is a term used by immature, millennial Bernie bros who like to use big words to try to prove they are uncelebrated for being better, smarter, more culltured, blah blah? Sounds like a lot of anger, jealousy and lack of gratitute to me, but who knows? Used to be that elites were well educated intellectuals at the top of their field. These days, angry people who can’t compromise to get along in life, throw the word around, ignoring that within the natural animal kingdom there is a pecking order… always has been, always will be– which is not to say we can’t always do better as empathetic humans. But there are always people who will have more and do more, just as there are those who have less and do less. Doesn’t mean anyone IS more or IS less. You should really think about what you intend to get across when you use words like “elite”. “True Art will not return to this island until…”??? Ego and entitlement can be big, and talent can be small. There is plenty of art and culture on the island. Most of it is mediocre, and always has been, but rarely, some of it is great. And people who make art, whether good, bad or inbetween, don’t have to go around moaning about corporate philistines, whose work didn’t get shown/heard, and what is true art. They make art and sometimes, (rarely), the art says it all.

      • As you can see, Milo, either native or Wash Ashore, Islanders are may things. This response is for you. Not for Jackie, not for Bulkington, and certainly not for Bart Gee. (Bart, recently, The Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Society presented t a concert series, during which over the course of two evenings, Boston-based cellist Benjamin Swartz played all of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Unaccompanied Cello Suites.) An Islander can be many things, though one thing an Islander is NOT is a pushover. Now, then. Such being duly noted, pick up your phone, dial the one who told what you did not want to hear, and demand to know what you have to do to make your contribution to Marthas Vineyard known. Many in this thread will support you, just as there are those who disapprove no matter what you do. Of one factor you may be sure; no one here will do it for you.

        • Bulk, Islanders are just like everyone else in the world: human and tribal. There are plenty of “pushover” Islanders, too. Ask any of the Island elders and their families who have been ripped off by Island caretakers.

          • A good point. I was thinking more in the context of this thread. On this Island, I work and I sleep. (More of the former than the later.) That’s how I live. The MV Times is a significant part of my window to MV.

  8. Alas poor Milo. I knew him well. With a shrug of his shoulders and a wave of his hand, your dearly departed father would have merely said “Whatever anybody else is thinking about me is none of my business.”Pick yourself up,dust yourself off and start all over again.

  9. “Dominated” by the tragic things you mention ? Really ?
    We all have our view of reality. I feel sad for you that you can only see the negative.

  10. Yes a great island for beaches and walking but addiction out of control, alcohol and drugs; unaccountably contractors; deadbeats on receivables, foreclosures; leeches and con men/charmers; disrepair and junkyard cars and boats; witchcraft and channeling; dogs out of control; tattooed/pierced and morose indigents; insufficient housing for poor and a magnet for even more. Gambling coming for even more negative pathology, but otherwise a charming island.

    • I love that none of your ramblings are even close to making grammatical sense, and you appear to not know how to reply to someone.

  11. B4Jaws1V, the designated reader knows exactly what those words mean. You have jumped too quickly to a conclusion.

  12. Wow, it didn’t take too long at all for the topic to change from ” too much bureaucracy” to be a political rant from the usual suspects.
    Milo, nothing on this island is easy. Take a deep breath, go back in person, and find out the required procedure for putting on an event. Lots of people have done it. You have the talent and ability to do this. I am sure it will be well attended. “Rome wasn’t built in a day” as they say.

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