The New York Times has once again urged its readers to visit Washington, DC, an act of aggression that Washingtonian cannot tolerate. The blurb, 241 words of well-informed and well-intentioned praise, sees Washington merely as a place with great restaurants, terrific museums, a diverse population, cosmopolitan influences, a historic center of African American culture, and, most outrageous of all, “a place for all Americans to reflect on a shared identity, even in a contentious election year.”
This affront follows not even a month after Bloomberg News named DC the “Most Exciting Food City in America.” That article was initially published with some botched facts, as Washington City Paper reporter Laura Hayes correctly pointed out, but it was telling, when scrolling through my social feeds last month, to see how many people were offended by a New York-based publication writing about this area at all.
The social web rewards indignation, which can make it seem like most of Washington is on a hair-trigger about stuff like this. I suspect most people around here, if they care at all what a New York-based publication says about their home, would likely be rather pleased by the praise. As Benjamin Freed wrote for Washingtonian in 2016 after the Times suggested its readers might enjoy a visit to CityCenterDC, travel guides are not aimed at locals.
So here’s my gentle suggestion: Stop being such a cowtown. Take any praise that comes your way, chuckle to yourself about any naïveté it contains, and move about your day being happy you live in a region that’s attractive to tourists. And write your own travel guides! I love getting tips from residents when I’m on the road. Let’s save our ire for when the New York Times, which, like Bloomberg News, has enough employees posted here to know better, really steps in it.