City Desk

The Worst Post Story Of The Weekend

Do we need another story about whether or not D.C. is cool? Apparently, the Washington Post thinks so. They ran one on Sunday by Rachel Dry, an author who loves asking the reader rhetorical questions. She loves them so much. You wanna know how much? She leads with 'em.

Really?

Yes.

"Will Washington now be cool? Dry asks. She gets some kinda answer from some dude in the Netherlands. Lemme let Dry explain: "Carl Rohde has an idea. He teaches cultural sociology in the Netherlands and runs a Web site called 'Science of the Time — the science of cool.' He oversees a network of trendspotting 'cool-hunters' who troll major cities for the next next things. There are no cool-hunters in Washington."

Cool hunting has got to be the lamest thing ever. So what do you do for a living/hobby/creepy website? Oh, I cool hunt.

I'm glad we don't have any of Rohde's "cool hunters." They sound scary. Besides, isn't he wrong? Don't all the cool hunters blog for Brightest Young Things? I am so uncool for pointing that out. The latest thing on Rohde has pointed out on his website is a new adidas store. How cool. Another recent post spotlights  interactive billboards. Don't you wish Petworth had some interactive billboards instead of all that gritty neon?

Next, Dry brings up another reason why D.C. may not be cool. Density. We are a city that just is not dense enough. She quotes Peter Gloor. Never met him at an ANC meeting? Here's why: he doesn't live here. He's a "research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, thinks. He's co-author of Coolhunting: Chasing Down the Next Big Thing and author of the forthcoming Coolfarming." Who'd want to read a book called Coolfarming? It sounds like a show on E or the front-of-the-book section in Maxim.

Gloor vacationed in D.C. with his kids and went to a bunch of museums. That's his D.C. experience. Can't wait to hear what he has to say about the District.

Gloor felt the city wasn't dense enough. He obviously didn't take his kiddies to Adams Morgan, Georgetown, Dupont Circle or U Street or Friendship Heights or Chinatown. He wished D.C. had something like Times Square. How uncool.

No need to read further. Needless to say there is the implication that Obama will make us cool. What a scoop.

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  • Karl

    This would not have happened if John McCain were president. I'm voting for the lame boring dude in 2012.

  • Jim

    I read the story and it was lame, but not half as bad as this dumb, immature post.

  • Retread

    Yeah, I loved this Post story when I read it the weekend before in the Sunday New York Times, where it was better written and you know, accurate.

  • http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com Jason Cherkis

    Oh Jim!

  • yellowliner

    So Ms. Dry could not find the "cool" parts of the city? Honey, if you don't know what's cool, then you don't belong there.

  • thefrontpage

    That was a lame story. Washington Post: For the rest of recorded time, please stop running these juvenile, childish, immature, dumb-downed, ridiculously amateurish "stories." They look bad, they read bad, they smell bad. They are bad journalism. They are childish. They do not attract readers, advertisers, subscriptions or revenue. They do not make people want to read The Washington Post. It was a great day in journalism when the similarly-bad "Sunday Source" was finally put to its deserved death, but please do not keep running these types of stories. If you want to attract a "young" and "cool" audience, do it in the old-fashioned-but-still-relevant Washington Post way: With good, solid journalism and journalistic skills, research, write and publish quality, well-written NEWS stories and NEWS features that tell a story, educate, entertain and give the readers solid, useable and real facts that they can use. It's pretty simple, actually.

  • http://twitter.com/_VNL VNL.

    I find this article kind of absurd, but whatever, it's WCP. It's meant to be polarizing. I think the WaPo article was a good way to examine the question, but the bottom line is in the grand scheme of things, D.C. is not cool. Yes, it has pockets of cool, but it's far from its tipping point of becoming the "It" city we want it to be. The bureaucracy and the stodgy political environment have a lot to do with it. With any and all hope, Obama does bring in fresh, young creatives... but it will only change the tides if those young creatives live in The District and can influence natives. If they move to Arlington or Alexandria, they at best become proxy members of a fledgling creative community in D.C.

    The idea that D.C. is not dense enough is an interesting one and validates my point. D.C. only has 500,000 people residents, whereas Manhattan has millions on the island. Many of "D.C's" most progressive and "hip" people live in the burbs - one of the best photogs I know lives in Fairfax, a great graf writer I know lives in Alexandria, D.C.'s next big emcee lives in Largo... heck, one of the most progressive art galleries (Art Whino) is in National Harbor! Those people only spend a fraction of their time inside The District and thereby have limited interaction (and influence) in the community. As a result, sub-cultural communities are fractured in D.C. - skateboarders, producers, b-boys. If you can't congregate on a regular basis and foster a true sense of community, how can you progress? In contrast if you go to LES or Williamsburg, everywhere you turn there is an artist, a DJ, a musician. There's a reason you haven't seen many D.C. musicians "blow up", while Norfolk, Houston, Memphis, and Atlanta keep churning them out. It will take time, but I sincerely hope Obama's presidency attracts more progressive and creative people to D.C. - the pop-culture hype surrounding Inauguration festivities was kind of ridiculous, but needed. It was a great kick start to what is hopefully a changing of the tides. And it looks like it might already be working.... peep this interview with Rickey Kim, one of the most well-respected "cool hunters" in the game (that expression is horrible BTW): http://english.mashkulture.net/2009/01/22/mr-kim/#more-5614

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