City Desk

Washington Man Forced to Visit Baltimore, Survives

The Washington Post's Marc Fisher has a story today about his recent visit to Baltimore's less popular tourist attractions, and Charm City is not pleased about it. "This has to be one of the most bizarre travel pieces I've ever come across," writes Baltimore Magazine. "The last thing Bal­ti­more needs is more D.C. pricks like him," writes the Baltimore City Paper.

These Baltimoreans are as steamed as their crabs for three reasons: Fisher's outdated Baltimore cultural reference points, his obvious dislike for the city itself, and his love, love, love of free parking.

First up: Fisher's allusions. In the grand tradition of white Washingtonians and Baltimore, Fisher mentions a certain premium cable crime drama. "I loved HBO’s 'The Wire,' especially the episodes written by Washington novelist George Pelecanos," he writes.

"GOTTA LOVE THE WASHINGTON CHAUVINISM THERE," responds Baltimore Magazine, in caps-lock prose as sassy as Maryland's  famed Old Bay seasoning. "YES, THOSE WIRE EPISODES WRITTEN BY THAT D.C. WRITER WERE THE BEST, NOW THAT YOU MENTION IT!"

The case for Washington chauvinism doesn't get much weaker as Fisher continues, describing Baltimore's "rubble-strewn vacant lots," the city's "decline," and his own "grumpiness" about having to go there.

"I wouldn’t want to live there, but what a place to explore," writes Fisher, who is apparently serious. That sentence, incidentally, is what prompted City Paper's line about being full up on D.C pricks.

But nothing in Fisher's story is as baffling as his fascination with free parking. "Parking outside is plentiful and stunningly cheap," he writes. "This will become a theme."

No kidding! To read Fisher's rapture over free parking in Baltimore, you would think D.C. parking meters accepted payments only in blood instead of quarters and dimes. At one point, Fisher devotes four paragraphs to the joys of free parking. He makes sure to tell the reader when he was able to park for free at an attraction. This was too much for Baltimore City Paper, which calls Fisher "this chump...rav­ing about cheap park­ing like an octo­ge­nar­ian."

Once more, with feeling. "Oh man," Fisher writes, "the parking."

Photo by Flickr user mercuria used under a Creative Commons license.

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  • Ward One Resident

    Fisher's a tool. Don't feel bad Baltimore, home of my heart, Fisher doesn't leave the confines of Upper Caucasia where he lives in D.C. much so I'm sure he were to write a travel story about D.C. It wouldn't be that much different. Minus the free parking schtick.

  • DC

    Funnily enough, just last week I also visited Hampden for the first time. It's a sign how weird DC is that what I found most striking about the neighborhood was the presence of poor White folk in a city. You live long enough in DC and you forget that such people still exist anywhere.

    And it's obvious to anyone that knows anything about Fisher that his animosity with Baltimore has more to do with his hatred of the Orioles and the way they tried for so long to keep out any new Washington baseball teams. Oh and the crappy TV deal Angelos forced on the Nats. It's not a good enough reason to hate on Baltimore, but it's his reason.

    Final note: DCers can mock Fisher for his condescension but a lot of praise of Baltimore from DC residents is not much less condescending. "Baltimore's so great, it's got so much *character*!"

  • Gonzo

    DC is indeed full of pricks. And Baltimore is indeed by and large a sh*thole. /truth

  • jason haber

    we don't need pricks of any color here in DC either. try biking either city - no parking problem at either point.

  • Ben

    Well,that's not going to do anything to help our reputation as a city of arrogant douchebags.

  • JR

    How dare he like The Wire! How dare he find free and plentiful parking convenient! How unseemly of a reporter to mention vacant lots rather than pretend he didn't see them! How dare he make fun of hipsters!

    I thought his piece was fair, candid, and mostly complimentary. I'm stunned that Baltimoreans are so sensitive to any suggestion that their city isn't some famous beacon of only positive qualities.

  • Crae

    He definitely came to Baltimore with a DC suburbanite attitude -- the presumed superiority is a joke considering DC's lack of personality. The parking thing got really old too.

  • Taurus

    Balmo is 20 years at least behind DC in terms of dealing with racism and class ism and that keeps it 20 years behind developmentally.

  • seeseehpounder

    The fact that Baltimore stinks is known by all. After all, it is located in MD, how could it not? The surprising part is that the Post would think this article is good enough to publish. Is there anyone over there that reads these articles that has the power to say they are shit?

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  • Bill

    Just fixing Taurus's comment

    Balmo is 20 years behind DC in terms of hiding poor black folks in a corner of the city so a bunch of wealthy white folk can wander around and eat chain burritos and drink their starbucks.

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