Thursday, February 18, 2010

Cincinnati, is it really as bad as I think it is?

So Vanity Fair wrote an article about Cincinnati, or more specifically the Creationism Museum and attributing all the stupidity it stands for to the entire region.

It resulted in quite the uproar on my twitter feed and a couple of blog postings from one of my favorite local bloggers, Kate.

I read the article and honestly learned more about the museum than I knew before (which was basically just that it physically exists) but otherwise wasn't all that impressed.  It wasn't awe inspiring journalism and it wasn't written to inform, but rather seemed to be a piece written to take up a few columns in between ads for products that aren't meant and aren't marketed for me.  It was what I would call a masturbatory piece.  It's there for the edification of the author and those who dismiss all those who aren't "You" to prove just how much better "You" are than "Them."  More sophisticated, more educated, more everything I'm not.

OK, I'll give you pretty much all of that, you probably are.

But what the subsequent conversation about the article really made me do was rethink my opinion of Cincinnati.

I moved to the Queen City in the summer of 1993.  After my last class at Ohio University, we drove from Athens to Cincinnati where I spent the first several months of my tenure living in a pop up camper in Lebanon while working 80+ hours a week at Kings Island.  (For the record I was only in the camper because my parents hadn't finalized the move down here so there was no house for me to move into yet).

A series of extraordinarily poor decisions on my part led to my lack of return to Athens and probably tainted my overall impression of Cincinnati as a place that I have never been happy in.

I always felt the place was too conservative, too boring, too reclusive, too... not what I wanted.  As a sedentary person by nature, I never set out to prove my first impressions wrong.  I accepted them as fact, carved out my own little niche of friends and even managed to find a woman willing to tolerate me enough to marry me.

But always the opinions remained.  Nothing to do, noone to talk to, and let's face it - living in Jean Schmidt's district isn't doing wonders for my opinions on the local politics.

Then I started following some local people on Twitter.  Starting with my friend Heather I branched out to other local foodies such as Julie, the aforementioned Kate, the always opinionated Thadd, and the man who helped me become the first to monetize Twitter in a non-spammy way by buying Girl Scout Cookies via Twitter, Bob.  These are but a small but vocal segment of the "Bigger Cincinnati World" that was out there.

They are advocates for the region.  They look deeper than I do and find the gems hidden in plain site.  They share what they find.  They enjoy their lives and present it in a way that invites you to join in the fun.

But most importantly they've taken this lazy fat man and made him wonder about maybe giving Cincinnati another shot.