There are many passages in this New York Times piece about yesterday's big Seahawks victory parade that will make your soul crinkle like tinfoil. Is this really how New Yorkers see and code Seattle? Or was the author, Kirk Johnson, inspired by the sheer electrical energy and events in his very active but disconnected brain?
Let us begin with the beginning...
Drivers here often smile and wave at one another for no obvious reason. A study last year found that Washington residents were less likely than people elsewhere to swear at strangers. For many, “Seattle chill” sums up the conflicted local soul: polite but cool.
Not once in my 23 years in Seattle has this ever happened to me, has an unknown driver waved and smiled at me for no apparent reason. And if one ever did, I would think them a bit soft in the head or possibly on drugs or both.
And then this:
[Seattle] has also been saddled with sports teams that mostly stank. The SuperSonics of the N.B.A. last won a national championship when Jimmy Carter was in the White House, in 1979, while the Seattle Storm of the W.N.B.A. won championships in 2004 and 2010.What? This guy has clearly never heard of Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton. Nor does he know that even Ice Cube counted a Lakers victory over the SuperSonics as a good in his LA hood. The SuperSonics, who are sadly no longer with us, were an elite team in the 1990s.
That a city priding itself on a nerdy-but-nice blend of socially liberal consciousness — Oakland of the north, some have called it — would have an N.F.L. team noted for its hyperaggressive tactics on the field, as measured by assessed or sometimes overlooked penalties, does make some Seattleites scratch their heads.Oakland of the north? I have never heard Seattle described in that way in the 23 years I have lived here. And what happened when I googled this oddity? I found only two references to it: One, of course, is in the NYT piece, and the other is found in a Washington CEO article about "Bremerton rising" (the PDF). The exact sentence: "[Bremerton] is the Oakland of the Northwest, The Harlem to Belltown's SoHo, a Compton with rain." I can forgive Washington CEO magazine for this cheap kind of suburban boosterism (it pays the bills), but not the most important newspaper in the land. Lawd, today.
- Charles Mudede