This article is not here to give you any useful information about how to actually solve any of this city's many problems. Check out "So You Want to Change the World, Eh?" here for that. This is your guide to fitting in by complaining. Here are five things you need to hate—and how to hate them correctly—if you want to fit in here.
1. Traffic sucks. It turns out that building a city on an isthmus and then cramming it with as many people as possible who can't bring themselves to take a damn bus is not a great idea! Too late, suckers. We're all here and we're all gonna drive on this fucking tiny strip of land and then complain about how long it takes. Here's how you can join in: Get in your car, open your map app, take a screenshot of those dang dark red lines all over the place, post the photo to Twitter with an angry emoji, and then set out for your destination right around 5:15 p.m. Then, next time you get the chance to vote for better transit, be sure to complain about the taxes needed to build it.
2. Rent sucks. It used to be that nobody wanted to live here and so Seattle was cheap. None of us were here then, but that's what we've heard, at least. Everyone could afford to live here: working-class people, artists, weirdos, alt-weekly newspaper reporters. Those days are over. Seattle rents have increased 57 percent over the last six years, according to a report in the Seattle Times, and the average renter now pays $1,749 a month. Everybody has their own favorite villain to blame this on—greedy developers, rich techies, the NIMBYs who block new housing projects in their neighborhoods—so pick yours and get to griping.
3. New people suck. Speaking of, fuck you. Like we said, Seattle used to be good and now it sucks and there's a pretty solid consensus that if you moved here at any date after 1972, this is all your fault. Does it matter if new people aren't actually to blame for decades of stagnant wages or the obscene amount of this city that is not zoned for apartment buildings or the decades-long drop in funding for public housing and other social services? It sure doesn't! If you're ever confused about whom to blame something on, try these two words: "tech workers."
4. Racism sucks. White people in Seattle are waking up to the fact that this city, for all its progressive cred, has some deeply troubling flaws. Despite a multiyear federal consent decree, Seattle police still disproportionately use force against black people. (To get specific: While white people make up 70 percent of Seattle's population, they made up only 41 percent of the people against whom Seattle police used force from 2014 to 2016. Seattle is 8 percent black, but black people made up 33 percent of use-of-force incidents.) The city is getting richer, but incomes for people of color remain behind white households. And regional politicians continue spending money on a new police station and jail even as homelessness—which, you guessed it, disproportionately affects people of color—is on the rise. (Black and brown people have been trying to tell us all this for a while.) You should do more than complain about these realities. You should get involved—again, here—but keep in mind that you don't want to get too mad about it. If you happen to interrupt the wrong event or shut down a council meeting or get a little too loud with your demands for equity, your city council members and daily newspaper will be sure to inform you that whatever way you're raising your concerns is the wrong way. "Watch your tone." "Show a little respect." "Why don't we all just talk this out?"
5. The Stranger sucks. The most important thing to know here is that The Stranger used to be good. Just like Seattle, we used to be cool and weird and smart and funny. Did you know Lindy West used to write for us? It's true! But now we're trash. We don't endorse the right candidates, we don't cover the right bands, we're all a bunch of spoiled children—you can't go wrong. You don't even have to read Slog, our daily blog, or The Stranger, our biweekly print publication, to hate us. That's the best part. Say it with me: The Stranger sucks.