Earlier Wednesday, to the delight of the Internet, Forbes Magazine, henceforth known as “the arbiter of cool,” made a declaration that got some laughs. Namely, that Washington tops the list of America’s coolest cities.
Perhaps it’s appropriate that something with exactly as much social cachet as a public ranking should be the thing to come to the city’s defense. (And there’s no question that too often at holiday parties, or at some distant relative’s wedding, a defense of D.C.-dwelling must be made.) But nobody in D.C. lives here because they think it’s cool, or because they think somebody else might think it’s cool. There are a lot of reasons to live in the District, most of them including various degrees of nerdiness, but “cool” is simply not one of them.
If you’re a pointy-headed health care policy person, if you’re passionate about education reform, if you want to be a journalist or make your mark in international development — then you might want to consider moving here or at least staying past the end of your summer internship. But keeping up with the latest trend? I’m afraid you have the wrong city.
Forbes’s reasoning essentially boils down to this: There are a lot of millennials in D.C., and “many museums along the National Mall,” to say nothing of “simply enjoying the cherry blossoms in springtime.” Find me a hipster enjoying the cherry blossoms in springtime and I’ll find you a cherry on the moon. Sure D.C. has a few good bars, and certainly a few more now than it used to, but most people in the District aren’t above getting a drink at Lauriol Plaza.
Indeed, to ask if D.C. is cool is to misunderstand the city completely. CityLab‘s Sommer Mathis presciently anticipated this mistaken effort to lend the nation’s capital (because yes, that’s something America’s “coolest city” sometimes gets called) some cool, explaining in The Washington Post that people in D.C. simply don’t care.
“D.C. is a city of smart people,” Derek Brown, who runs a mini-empire of craft cocktail bars and restaurants in the District, told her at the time. “What’s making D.C. cool is the fact that smart people doing things they’re passionate about is cool.” He was right about the smart, but not the cool.
Yet the Forbes list does not seem to be entirely off. Other cities that top its ranking, including Seattle, Los Angeles, and New York, do appear to have that glimmer of hipness. But putting D.C. at the top of the cool list is a Slate-pitch too far.
Nobody actually believes D.C. is hip, with the exception of certain mayoral candidates hoping to win over millennials. We’ll stick with our bureaucrats, blazers, horrible income disparities, and political disenfranchisement. Thanks, though!
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With three days until the first debate, the polls are coming fast and furious. The latest round:
- An Associated Press/Gfk poll of registered voters found very few voters committed, with Clinton leading Trump, 37% to 29%, and Gary Johnson at 7%.
- A McClatchy-Marist poll gave Clinton a six-point edge, 45% to 39%, in a four-way ballot test. Johnson pulls 10% support, with Jill Stein at 4%.
- Rasmussen, which has drawn criticism for continually showing Donald Trump doing much better than he does in other polls, is at it again. A new survey gives Trump a five-point lead, 44%-39%.
In contrast to Hillary Clinton's meticulous debate practice sessions, Donald Trump "is largely shunning traditional debate preparations, but has been watching video of…Clinton’s best and worst debate moments, looking for her vulnerabilities.” Trump “has paid only cursory attention to briefing materials. He has refused to use lecterns in mock debate sessions despite the urging of his advisers. He prefers spitballing ideas with his team rather than honing them into crisp, two-minute answers.”
Donald Trump "is on the precipice of becoming the only major-party presidential candidate this century not to reach out to millions of American voters whose dominant, first or just preferred language is Spanish. Trump has not only failed to buy any Spanish-language television or radio ads, he so far has avoided even offering a translation of his website into Spanish, breaking with two decades of bipartisan tradition."
Bill and Hillary Clinton have purchased the home next door to their primary residence in tony Chappaqua, New York, for $1.16 million. "By purchasing the new home, the Clinton's now own the entire cul-de-sac at the end of the road in the leafy New York suburb. The purchase makes it easier for the United States Secret Service to protect the former president and possible future commander in chief."