Friday, September 15, 2006

Anti-Love letters

Oh, the anonymous posters writing anti-love letters of the STL! I think it is funny that people that have this anti-love bother reading a site called STLstreets, even from overseas.

These posts remind me of a potent scene from a great movie, 25th Hour, with Edward Norton directed by Spike Lee. There is a scene where he spews his anti-love for the great American city, New York. The bit reminds me of many of the "anonymous" posts I have approved and many that I have not approved. This bit scene is quite offensive, but seems reflective of the negative posts. Click here for the link to watch this scene on youtube. (Warning: this is not a family friendly clip. It is quite offensive.)

I find these passionate anti-love posts are actually more flattering than insulting. Think about it. Someone reads a blog site called STLstreets and then posts on it with fire. That is far better than ambivalence. We are not above criticism, even if it takes such amusing, misdirected or offensive forms. It means far more than indifference.


Blogger Diabetoboy said...

I only wish I had that much time in my life to sit and write angry diatribes on sites I disagree with and then follow up by replying to replies of replies to justify my opinions that aren't backed by any known facts. Ah, the joy of the internets.

2:13 PM  
Blogger Travis Reems said...


I was told to my shock and dismay last weekend that St. Louis is not viewed in a very high light by those outside our City, especially by those that have never been here. It surprises me that those who have never been here would have an opinion, but more so that that opinion would be negative.

Sure, there are areas for improvement, but St. Louis is a great city. It is part of our midwestern culture to be modest about our achievements, but that doesn't explain what has been termed our low self-esteem. Perhaps we need to do a media campaign to remind not only ourselves, but also the rest of America, what a great city we are: best free zoo in the US, largest city park in the US, more neighborhood parks than you could shake a stick at, and some of the friendliest people too. Oh, and don't forget the t-ravs and St. Paul's sandwiches!

4:09 PM  
Anonymous Shannon Burchard said...

OK, as an out of towner and a west coaster to boot, I have to say your town rocked. When people ask me about my summer, I just can’t say enough about my time in St. Louis. This has a lot to do with my excellent guides and all of the friendly locals. I even had one of my musician friends say maybe he should move there (the economics of the Bay Area are tough on artists) after I told him about my trip at all that is going on there. From San Francisco, it is all about the love. Now, when do I get to come back?

9:36 PM  
Blogger tokyocrunch said...

... and often I hear the "St. Louis is the greatest!" rag from STLites who've never lived anywhere else.

While I've found some real love in my (meager) five years here, I still find the "look at how great we are" thinking bloody abhorrent. Time and money spent on marketing such drek is folly. The way to get other cities to look at how great we are is to be great; to spend time and money doing inspiring, progressive, authentic things (list available upon request). These endeavors market themselves.

IMHO opinion, if any fair criticism could be levied against the collective STL brainmonster, it's that it is a reluctant, provincial, nostalgic beast.

Consider the stewardship of the Gateway Arch: At the foot of one of the most inspiring and enigmatic modernist sculptures ever created rests a bevvy of history museums. Am I the only one disheartened by this incongruity? By eschewing future-mindedness in favor of temporal (and often archaic) focus, we cannot keep abreast of the most vibrant American cities. And folks from those cities can sense it, even if we cannot.

Our reluctant, provincial, nostalgic thinking cost us the opportunity to be Chicago. It is on the verge of thwarting our establishment as a biotech mecca -- exactly the kind of effort that encourages other cities take notice of how great we are.

(That all said, the City Museum is the coolest f*cking place in the world.)

10:38 AM  
Anonymous Jason Toon said...

Yeah, tokyo, let's see that list of "inspiring, progressive, authentic things" we should be doing. Specifics, please.

I'm glad we're not Chicago. It has its charms, sure, but I wouldn't want to live there (and I've spent more time there than any other city besides StL). Diff strokes for diff folks, etc. If you prefer Chicago, it's not far up the road. Nobody's holding a gun to your head to keep you here.

Some perspective...

I grew up toward the end of StL's long decline, when people were in full flight for the suburbs and everybody seemed to think things were always going to keep getting worse. The few large-scale efforts to improve the city were misguided pseudo-suburban boondoggles like St. Louis Centre. Predictable failure followed, reinforcing the sense of terminal decline.

Frankly, it's a welcome change to have so many people running around hyping the city, after living in that climate for so long. St. Louis essentially endured a mass trauma, like a war in slow motion, for three or four decades. I see this new boosterism as a symptom of a city emerging from a deep psychological depression.

You can flick boogers from the sidelines, you can move away, or you can get going on all those "inspiring, progressive, authentic things" that would make the city better. Whatever you do, the city marches on, with or without your imprimatur.

2:33 PM  
Blogger tokyocrunch said...

"If you don't like it, you can just leave" (paraphased) ... a tagline for Travis's media campaign, perhaps? I’m afraid that might already be in use. (And for the record, someone is holding a gun to my head right now.)

"Whatever you do, the city marches on, with or without your imprimatur" ... agreed, my opinions are not significant (witness blog reading and commenting thereto) -- but those of the nation are. Like it or not, STL does not exist in cultural or economic isolation. We compete viciously with other cities for a finite (though growing) amount of economic, cultural, and human resources. And those economic, cultural, and human resources (affectionately known as "people") compare cities in much the same way (Consider Travis's framing: "best free zoo in the US, largest city park in the US."). This is only a hunch, but I suspect they don't care about the hardships of yesterday, rather the prosperity of today and moreso the opportunities of tomorrow.

Again, I agree with you: if, because STL didn't satisfy to my interests, I were to relocate to Chicago, hey, no big loss. But were AG or Joe Edwards? I reckon we can’t afford to tell them “if you don't like it, you can just leave”, nor any potential influx of new thems.

But you wanted specific examples of inspiring, progressive, authentic things that could encourage that influx. Because this ain't my blog for the clutterin', I'll give you one easy example alluded to in my previous comment, and we can carry on some night over a pint of the titular brew at Pop's Blue Moon: stem cell research, big, bold, and beautiful. STL as not only a research-friendly environment, but also the foremost location for the clinical applications thereof. Tax breaks aplenty, scholarships at local universities, incentives for smarties to establish residency. As mastery increases, so too will successes, and the eventual reports of never-before patient cures will resonate profoundly on a national (and international) scale. All of humanity will see benefit, and, well, that means St. Louis too.

FWIW, no booger-flicking here. I like St. Louis plenty. I read SFS's blog because he's a progressive guy affecting positive change in the place where I live, and I think the time to sit back and say "yaay us" is never.

10:41 PM  
Anonymous Jason Toon said...

Take note of the crashing silence from tokyocrunch. Ideas? What ideas?

1:05 PM  
Blogger Steven Fitzpatrick Smith said...

Sorry Mister Toon, Mister Crunch. I hadn't approved the message. Sometimes I forget, so it is not the Crunch that made the bad.

Hey Jason- can you shoot me an email at ? I tried contacting you through the Woot and your brother forgot to get back to me.

1:31 PM  

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