I’ve been trying to parse this letter to the editor from Friday’s Daily News for a while now with no luck.
I am not entirely convinced it is real. I now share my thoughts with you.
THERE WAS a time when Philadelphia was among the great cities, full of charm and class.
And that time was: 1640. I have on my desk the text of a letter to the editor to the Public Ledger in 1850 complaining about residents from other cities bashing Philadelphia (specifically, calling it “The Murder City”). As you can see, nothing is different in Philadelphia now.
Growing up, I thought I lived in a terrific city with endless possibilities, and I couldn’t wait to grow up and raise a family here. Ten years later, the only thing I can’t wait to do is leave this wretched city.
Ten years? Seriously, nothing major happened from 1998-2008 that seriously made the city worse, unless you count the election of John Street. Which, eh, isn’t really a reason to leave Philadelphia and certainly didn’t make this city any more wretched.
Every day, I read philly.com to see who was killed, robbed or victimized by the shameless criminals who find solace in harming others. I then move on to see what new budget cut is under way and think of all the dropouts and criminals that will emerge as a result.
Ohhh, so that’s you in the comments!
I wonder, though: How bad can it possibly be when the most horrible thing that’s happened to you so far is “My Philly.com experience was not as good as it could have been, because all the news I specifically searched out was kinda sad.”
So far, so good. Typical media-influenced exaggeration of crime in a big American city. Nothing out of the ordinary, except for the attention paid to root causes. (Uhh, what Philly.com reader cares about that?) Here’s where I start to think the letter is fake:
Paranoia sets in, and I frantically lock all my doors and windows, double-check the alarm and read online for new ways to protect against thieves. Instead of looking my best, I opt for a style that says “bargain” as opposed to designer labels, as not to propagate the idea that I can provide a “come up” for the next man.
I must leave Philadelphia because I cannot dress well enough!
I really need to find out the URL of that Lifehacker-type blog that’s about thief protection. Man, one can scarcely count the recent innovations in that field!
I find myself running to the car, to the house, in and out of stores, constantly looking around me. What has this city become if this is what its residents have to do to feel safe?
No one’s saying this city is Lovely Fun Time Paradise, a place I just made up. But as long as you’re relatively not stupid, you can stroll along the streets of even the toughest neighborhood without being disturbed. (And where exactly does this person live? Not West Kensington, I bet.)
Why should I have to limit my outside activity in fear of falling victim to the evils of the streets? Instead of saying, “Hi” to strangers in passing, I look at them, as well as my neighbors, with the same distrustful and cautious eye. Where is the brotherly love or sisterly affection in any of these actions?
How, exactly, is it the fault of Philadelphia or of criminals that this person is rude to her neighbors and strangers? Look, I don’t really greet strangers on the street — I’m sure I’d hate them — but somehow the level of violence in Philadelphia does not prevent me from saying hello to the people in my building or the man with the martini glass who sits out front of Louis Kahn’s house or the nice old woman who lives next to my parents in the Northeast or even the guy on the other side of my parents rowhome because none of them are out to harm me and I can’t believe I’m even arguing with this stupid letter to the editor on this hypercritical Philadelphia blog.
As I read about all of the Philadelphia music greats, I imagine what it was like during the days of Philadelphia International that my uncle, songwriter Allan Felder, loved so much. I wonder what it was like to live here when artistry and love existed.
Allan Felder? Really? Didn’t he write a ton of disco songs? Anyway, man, sometimes I imagine what it was like when my uncle — who once entered (and maybe won?) a John Kruk lookalike contest — lived in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia International Records was founded in 1971. Coincidentally, Frank Rizzo was elected mayor that year. WHAT A TIME OF LOVE IT WAS IN PHILADELPHIA!
As hard as I try, I can’t imagine this city, laden with crime, poverty, despair and negativity, ever being a city of hope or love. I’m not sure where the great Philadelphia went, but I am sure that when I’m done my doctorate, I’ll be looking for a better life, away from this Philadelphia.
And here is the exciting conclusion, where we find out that our writer is going for her doctorate. And, after bashing the city for several paragraphs, complains about the negativity. There is absolutely no way this letter is real. None. This is faker than a 100 million Northeast Times letters.