The Call of the Wild

Has the Internet really made geography a moot point? A report from Alaska on how a music scene looks, sounds, and feels on the outer edge of civilization. (Spoiler: It’s freezing!)
  1. "The Yukon is the place for us! That's where we want to live. Up there, we'll get to yell and cuss, and act real primitive" — Calvin & Hobbes, "The Yukon Song"

    "This is not flippin' easy." — Sarah Palin

    If you're in Alaska, there's a reason you're in Alaska. It's not a destination; it's a conclusion. Much of the state is only accessible via single-engine bush plane, geriatric cruise, or umiak. The Great Alaska Highway slashes north or south, offering two options: flee to Canada and the lower 48 or vanish to the end of the earth — a Stone Age midnight of polar bears, Eskimos, and glaciers melting into the Arctic Ocean. This is Texas in the tundra, thickly mythologized and a permanent frontier. Alaska is four times the size of California with a population comparable to Fresno. Each of its 600,000 residents receive a yearly dividend from the Alaska Permanent Fund, ranging from $500 to $4,000, depending on the price of petroleum and the population flux.

    It's unclear if there...

The complete text of “The Call of the Wild” is not in the Byliner library, but we love it so much we included an excerpt and a link to the full story on

Originally published in Spin, November 2012

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