Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Baltimore Bashing Bourdain

I'm still processing the impact of Anthony Bourdain's Rust Belt episode. Small sample size, but Buffalo seems genuinely pleased with the attention. On the other hand, Baltimoaners are in a tizzy:

But the Baltimore the world sees on his show and elsewhere is either the Inner Harbor or the 'hood. You’d have no idea that the city is full of wonderful neighborhoods of all shapes and sizes, how easy it is to live here or how frequently you’re bound to run into people you know. (One of the truest Baltimore scenes of "The Wire" came in the third season, when a pair of teenage drug dealers and their girlfriends ran into a trio of cops and their girlfriends at the movies. That probably happens here all the time.)

Gee, that sounds like a city I know. That sounds like every Rust Belt city. I'm not sure why a journalist would expect a travel show to highlight a region's livability. What makes Baltimore a fun place to visit for those seeking an off-beat thrill?

Bourdain seems to have a knack for unearthing the pesonality of a place. Why bother to go there if it is just like the last city you visited? Rust Belt cities should ponder how they are distinct from each other. Bourdain's opinion would be worth soliciting.

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