Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Maybe It's the Company You Keep?

So, Ezra Klein said some weird stuff about Portland and DC that rubbed everyone (okay, mainly Ryan) the wrong way. Now, I like visiting cities myself (moreso than beaches or mountains or glaciers...what can I say? I am an urban critter!) and always come away with ideas I'd love to import back home. Of course, everything's a little rosier when you visit somewhere--like Jason Sudekis said on 30 Rock, "If the whole world moved to their favorite vacation spots, then the whole world would live in Hawaii and Italy and Cleveland." And then, there's all that stuff that rubbed everyone the wrong way--something about black people not liking coffee shops...or Mount Pleasant not having one...or how everyone moves to DC for their job (circa 2007, I wasn't aware that this wasn't a widespread phenommenon. I guess all the homeless heroin addicts in the Haight have us beat there!).

Typically, I sort of tut-tut and wave off people who complain about DC because I've more or less come to recognize that you can take the complainer out of the city but not cure the complaint. I've encountered a lot of DC critics in my days (though not nearly as many Richmond critics, and I feel that city's a little unfairly maligned as well) and when I do, I always feel like I'm just staring at somebody useless--how hard is it to either lead, follow, or get out of the way?

But Ezra's no idle whiner, so I went looking for the root of his problem and something in his most recent post on this matter jumped out at me:

What makes DC awesome is the collection of people pulled their for work...Defense wonks and political journalists and Hill staffers and health policy types. It's a city filled with folks I want to talk to.
Uhm...yeah, there's your problem right there.


Jamie said...

LOL! That pretty much sums up the people I can't stand talking to in DC. This city is full of interesting people from all walks of life who can actually find something to talk about other than politics, I guess he just hasn't tried to go somewhere other than the businesses that cater to his idea of a good time, e.g. a Starbucks or some other monochromatic eating or drinking establishment.

It's funny how this guy pretty much sees DC in exactly the opposite way I do. There is so much that's interesting and unique that's sprung up in the last 10 years. I find this city incredibly livable. Do we really want all our neighborhoods to have a Starbucks every 500 feet? Businesses open and succeed in response to market demands. Maybe DC's population doesn't want exactly the same thing that Seattle's (largely homogeneous) population does. Maybe Ezra should move to Seattle...

Rusty said...

"I've encountered a lot of DC critics in my days...and when I do, I always feel like I'm just staring at somebody useless--how hard is it to either lead, follow, or get out of the way?"


The Deceiver said...

Don't be sad, Rusty! You lead!

Anonymous said...

Rusty is a douche ... (sorry, I can't say that on his blog anymore) =)