The other day was the second time in a row that I’ve heard a dig made at Seattle by a band on tour, and the first time was pretty direct: “if you’re born and raised in Seattle, that sucks for you.” That time, I laughed and waved my middle fingers in the air as the crowd cheered.
This second time, the frontwoman was actually starting to say something nice, recalling how they’d recorded two albums and lived here for a month each time: “Seattle’s nice,” she offered, but voices in the back started to jeer and say “it’s alright…”
Everyone laughed and one more voice added, sarcastically: “it’s a city,” as if to say that Seattle was barely even *that* . . .
I smiled and wondered who these people were. Were they fresh out of high school and wondering what the big fuss was about in this little big company town? Were they techie transplants making bank but missing home? Maybe they were grizzled old-timers bitter about the city they no longer recognized?
I like Seattle. I also think that cities work better when people constantly shit on them; there is no dynamism in complacency.
So I laugh when Seattleites rush to placate the grumblers; they just don’t get our love language. And for the hardcore few who’d wish we’d just up and leave, a middle finger salute as we dance the night away.
It’s kinda like what that guy Kwame said on “Love is Blind” – you’re not that great, Seattle. When I saw that, I wondered how many Seattleites were absolutely seething! And he’s comparing us to Portland?!
But the thing is, even if he meant it as shade, it really isn’t great to be great. We know what making things “great” looks like for some people. No, making Seattle shitty again is actually more than a brilliant sticker campaign: it’s an ethic of leaving space for authenticity.
And I know exactly what he meant by “Michael Jordan prices.” This place acts like none of us have ever been or experienced things anywhere else! It’s sad and stupid and unsustainable.
But I still like it here. If I ever retire, I’ll go somewhere “great.” But for now, this is fine. It’s just the right amount of shitty for my taste.