One thing about living in Boston, at least if you’re media literate, is that you come to realize just how gravely most reporters from outside the Hub misunderstand New England. This tends to be the case both when they’re ripping or adoring us, pandering or spitting flames. Though countless Boston writers have attempted to correct the misrepresentations, the haze endures nonetheless. Comes with the championship territory. We blame The Departed, which, to our understanding, served as the primary source material for the recent 60 Minutes bit on Whitey Bulger.
For starters, 2013 saw more ridiculous Massachusetts lifestyle listicles than usual. We’ve neither the time nor stomach to compile a complete compendium, but it’s been straight downhill since Complex online’s shockingly on-point 2012 spotlight on The 25 Douchiest Bars In Boston. There were lots to pick from, but in our round-up of the douchiest Boston lists, the runner-up is definitely Huffington Post Healthy Living with “What Boston Can Teach The Rest Of The Country About Living Well,” which includes both misleading generalizations (“Health insurance is nearly universal”), and disgracefully generic schlock (“Many of the city’s main attractions are active, outdoor places”). The winner, though, is indisputably BuzzFeed’s insulting “31 Ways 2013 Was The Most Boston Year Ever.” Rather than state more of the obvious, we’ll just quote Luke O’Neil, one of the aforementioned local journos fighting the endless battle of correcting interlopers. In the top-rated comment beneath BuzzFeed’s shameless click crack, O’Neil simply opined: “Fuck this piece of shit post.” Indeed.
The next category is comprised of lists that merely include Boston. As noted in a previous Media Farm rant, Huff Post’s “Top 10 Gentrification Capitals of America” was a sparingly researched work of fraudulence based on one study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland (as was “The Most Gentrified Cities In America” by Business Insider). Less serious but comparably annoying was the Boston entry in the Lonely Planet guide to the “Top US Destinations for 2014.” According to editors there: “A favorite place to stay is the Omni Parker House, a historic hotel overlooking the Freedom Trail that has employed Malcolm X and Ho Chi Minh, and accommodated Charles Dickens and JFK.” In other words, visit Boston, where even the most famous people of color toil at the feet of white leaders and luminaries.
Worse than all of the above, of course, was most coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing. From conspiratorial rednecks at Infowars, to Wolf Blitzer waving a pressure cooker around Copley Square, to sentimental linkage of the tragedy to baseball, to sleaze mongers like the New York Post reporting utter falsities, we had front row seats to endless epic buffoonery. Of course, a lot of them were just parroting what they heard, read, and stole from the local media clowns, many of whom don’t know much about this place themselves. May they all retweet one another through the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev trial, and be subjected to a live rendition of “Our City,” a new carpetbagger anthem the Boston Herald‘s Inside Track describes as “the definitive Boston Strong song” that was “somehow” written by “a band from New Jersey.”
Come to think of it, lines like those make us want to agree with Gawker writer Hamilton Nolan, who wrote the foulest shit about us all year: “Fuck Boston.”