Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Yeah, it's cold here; No, I didn't vote for Blago.

This week, Forbes named Chicago #3 on its Most Miserable Cities List. The Windy City, Chitown, Metropolis in the Land of Lincoln, or Obamaland (take your pick) fell short of Stockton, California and Memphis, Tennessee. According to Kurt Badenhausen, Chicago is even more miserable than Flint, Michigan. Has Kurt visited Flint recently? Not surprisingly, everyone is talking about it.

Of course, Kurt and Forbes are schilling—like so many journalists and struggling media enterprises--coming up with arbitrary lists (Remember the 25 most influential liberals in media? Wasn’t that in Forbes just last week?), hoping to stir up reaction from readers, scrounge together some online page views for measly ad dollars, and pretend that money mag Forbes is above everybody else’s miserable money problems. Oh yeah, Chicago has such a high employment rate. Nevermind the fact that Forbes just consolidated all its departments into one and rumors of layoffs have been swirling about its news desks for months.

So, Kurt, what makes Chicago so terrible?
"Lousy weather, long commutes, rising unemployment and the highest sales tax rate in the country are to blame for the Windy City being near the top of our list. High rates of corruption by public officials didn't help either."

Yes, and the subway smells in New York, there’s smog in L.A., frozen corpses lie scattered in Detroit, Disney laid people off in Orlando, and former President George W. Bush has returned to Crawford, Texas, so let’s throw all those spots on the list too!

Kurt doesn’t bother addressing the flippantly-mentioned commute issue (Yeah, the CTA isn’t the MTA, but it’s not like Chicagoans are taking rickshaws to work.), doesn’t bother pointing out that rising unemployment seems to be a trend outside the Chicagoland area, and makes a weak barb at the weather we had here in January (Seventeen below, har har har!). Instead, he focuses most of his argument against Chicago on our sales tax and corrupt politicians. While they’re legitimate arguments, I don’t think an inflated sales tax and a few crappy governors (Sarah Palin, anyone? Did Wasilla make the list too?) warrant tacking a big fat #3 on Chicago.

But go ahead, Kurt Badenhausen and Forbes Magazine, call us whatever you want. You were bound to leechily suck some measly page views out of your Miserable City Song and Dance Routine (Did I mention they made a slideshow out of the article too? Be sure to click through every single picture of every single city!), so congratulations on all your success. For Chicago, it may be a welcome blow since all that sing-song praise we got last fall, fueled by our continued nomination for the 2016 Summer Olympics and Barack Obama’s golden November. Even another magazine, FastCompany, named Chicago 2008’s City of the Year with a beautiful article penned by my former teacher Alex Kotlowitz. Alex wrote a bit more than a list to pay homage to the soul that is this city—something that Forbes and Kurt might want to consider.

But let’s stick instead with this #3 Most Miserable rating. That’s right, America. Chicago is the pits. We’re worse than Detroit, than Cleveland, and probably than your town too. We’re terrible. Stay away. Don’t move here, and should you have to visit, keep it short. Us Chicagoans will suffer our sales tax, our governors, our bone-chilling winters and soul-lifting summers, our fattening foods and expansive lakefront, our arts scene and music world, our diverse neighborhoods and beautiful architecture, our industrial proud past and our incredible innovative future alone. We’ll bear that burden just fine, and if Forbes can help us continue to weed out the New York lackeys like Kurt who should stay away and keep the general city population down, we’ll appreciate the help.


Miss Merry said...

Well said! I've only lived here for 3 weeks, but so far, I LOVE it! Everyone I've met so far have willingly moved here from somewhere else and they all love it too. All I can say is if I love it here in the dead of winter, I can't wait to see how awesome it will be in the spring/summer/fall.

Anonymous said...

This is GREAT!!! Send it to Da Mah