“DC is Oh So Much Better Than Baltimore” — Oh Really?
Last week, Thrillist published a post enumerating “10 reasons DC is so much better than Baltimore.” It is, as several commenters have pointed out, clearly incorrect; the writer appears to have never ventured beyond the Inner Harbor, and has some funny ideas about what constitutes “good parties.” Without further ado, here is my 10-point rebuttal of things that Baltimore does better than DC:
+ Interesting people. I know that not every DC resident is a sportcoat-wearing, briefcase-carrying, politics-obsessed snooze, but I would estimate that 87 percent of them are. Having one industry (government) dominate a city can result in dull dinner parties and an insular world view. Plus, as John Waters has pointed out, all the cutest boys live in Baltimore!
+ Music. Thrillist actually has the guts (or the stupidity) to claim that DC has a better music scene than Baltimore. Which just makes me feel sorry for them. No surprise, then, that all they have to name drop is Duke Ellington, Billie Holliday, and Avril Lavigne’s lead guitarist. Check out our Music Scene column for an extensive rebuttal.
+ Actually good sports teams. We don’t really even need to argue this one.
+ Weirdness. Yes, I tend to complain when travel writers spend a weekend in Baltimore and proceed to write shallow articles enthusing about our city’s quirk factor. But it is a demonstrable fact that Baltimore is way, way weirder than DC. And, obviously, weird is good.
+ Affordability. People who work in DC live in Baltimore because they can afford a cute rowhouse in a fun neighborhood for the price of a cramped apartment in DC. You don’t ever really hear about the reverse. Wonder why?
+ Inspiration. From Edgar Allan Poe to H.L. Mencken to Nina Simone to David Simon to John Waters (I could go on but I won’t), Baltimore has served as the muse for some of the best art of the past few centuries. DC inspired… The West Wing?
+ Small museums. Yes, DC has the Smithsonian Institute, and it’s amazing. But Baltimore has the Poe House and Great Blacks in Wax and the American Visionary Art Museum and the Museum of Dentistry.
+ The Frank Zappa statue. Maybe not as impressive as a giant marble president, but definitely cooler.
+ Complaints. When you hear DC folks whining, it’s usually about some boring Beltway gossip. Here in Baltimore, we have real problems — murder, corruption, drugs, and plenty of other stuff worthy of complaining about. And many of our problematic areas have given birth to unique attempts at solutions.
+ Lack of snobbery. You know what? DC is just fine. It’s a great place to get Ethiopian food, and to marvel at huge marble buildings, and to see world-class museum shows. It’s great that it’s a mere MARC ride away. We here in Baltimore have no need to be snobbish, or to work really hard to prove our superiority; we just like where we live. So there.
I could’ve gone on longer (DC traffic! Baltimore’s swimming holes!), but even just writing these 10 points made me want to get out and enjoy the city. Sorry, DC — this is one fight you’re not gonna win.
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