The murmur of the snarkmatrix…

August § The Common Test / 2016-02-16 21:04:46
Robin § Unforgotten / 2016-01-08 21:19:16
MsFitNZ § Towards A Theory of Secondary Literacy / 2015-11-03 21:23:21
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 18:39:56
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 16:32:50
Matt § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-05 01:49:12
Greg Linch § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 18:05:52
Robin § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 05:11:02
P. Renaud § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 04:13:09
Bob Stepno § The structure of journalism today / 2014-03-10 18:42:32

Drove to Chicago / All Things Know, All Things Know

The Economist raves:

Appearances often deceive, but, in one respect at least, the visitor’s first impression of Chicago is likely to be correct: this is a city buzzing with life, humming with prosperity, sparkling with new buildings, new sculptures, new parks, and generally exuding vitality.

You know, I gotta say, Chicagoans past and present are more passionate about their town than any other group of city-dwellers I’ve met. (And there are a lot of Bay Area zealots here in SF, so that’s saying something.)

Alas, if only it wasn’t THE COLDEST PLACE ON EARTH in the winter.

March 22, 2006 / Uncategorized


Yes and yes.

(Chicago’s wonderfulness and bitter, bitter cold, respectively.)

When my face thaws back to emotion around the month of May, I’ll smile at your ignorance of *real* cold (or did you mean earth as continental-US-earth? Now I’d put a smiley, but I don’t know how to code a frozen smile… :#?).

The reason you don’t hear this about the Twin Cities is that everybody here apparently loves it so much, they never leave. I’ve lived in a lot of towns where many people spent their whole lives, moaning about it the entire time, but unable to bring themselves to leave. This is the first place I’ve lived where many people have spent their whole lives already, and they cheerily anticipate spending the rest of their lives here, too.

By the way, the cold here? Totally overhyped. Minnesota, my perfectly-intact , non-snow-tire-having car and I scoff at your feeble threats.

The whole Economist series was fantastic. Particularly the article Brawn yields to brains.

As for the cold…Bah. It’s good for you. Makes you appreciate the warmth of summer. Makes you tough.

It seems like everyone who lives in a decent-sized, decently-run midwestern city loves it to death: Chicago, Minneapolis, Denver, Lawrence, Memphis, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Austin, Houston. (Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh aren’t well-loved, but that’s because they suck in pretty obvious ways.)

On the other hand, there’s a coastal convention that you rag on your town. Dan McQuade, a journalist/blogger from Philly, likes to say that our slogan should be “Philadelphia: Not As Bad as Philadelphians Like to Say It Is.” My version is: “Philadelphia: Imagine If These People Had Their Shit Together.” Likewise, people in New York and L.A. might endlessly complain about their cities, but couldn’t imagine living nearly anywhere else.

dustin says…

Hey, now. There is a mighty love for Detroit. I feel it every time I’m there. But it’s not the same as NY, SF, Chicago or even the Twin Cities. You don’t love Detroit for the restaurants, the cultural attractions or the lively street life. You love it for the surprises: the unexpected beauty of abandoned buildings, the quaint neighborhoods that have surived four decades of turmoil, the cheerfulness of almost every single person you meet. Or, anyway, that’s how you feel if you don’t actually live there.

I think Detroiters love it the way you’d love an old house. All you see is how great it will look once you’re done fixing it up.

“The unexpected beauty of abandoned buildings.” They should totally make a tourist brochure for Detroit featuring that as one of the bullet points. 🙂

Matt & Adrian, you guys are right about the cold — I’ve actually been colder here in SF than I ever was in Michigan b/c the city is not actually equipped for winter. Thin windows, bad heating, no big winter coats, etc. I mean, in Minneapolis they’ve got TUNNELS, right? Can’t argue with tunnels.

Being an ex-Detroiter myself, let me put it this way: the way Detroiters love their cities is closer to the self-deprecating way people on the east coast love their cities. The feeling is just a little more genuine and desperate.

Yeah, I couldn’t disagree with the words “genuine” and “desperate” both being used to describe Detroit.

I guess my problem is I haven’t had much experience with what you’re talking about on the East Coast. I’ve only ever spent time in D.C. And there isn’t much self-deprecation going on in that place.

I also think we should have an award for “Least Self-Deprecating City in America.” I nominate D.C. Chicago and San Francisco could also be on the list of finalists.

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