Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is no fan of the ’burbs. In her book Off The Sidelines, a memoir published in September, the New York Democrat called Arlington, her home while serving in the House of Representatives, a “soulless suburb.” Though Gillibrand didn’t elaborate on what bothered her about Arlington, the community erupted in a series of strongly worded tweets. “Was annoyed at first,” tweeted user @BecketAdams on Sept. 9. “Then I realized she would know what soulless looks like, being a member of Congress and all.” Later that same day, Gillibrand apologized via the same medium. “Sorry, Arlington, didn’t mean to hurt your feelings,” she tweeted.
The next day on Sept. 10, Grist’s Ben Adler came out in support of Gillibrand’s controversial statement in aWashington Post article. “There are no corner stores on the residential blocks, and the street map is an incoherent and baffling series of dead-ending curlicues reminiscent of a bowl of spaghetti,” wrote Adler, who added that Arlington’s buildings were “ugly, impersonal and unhelpful to fostering street life.” (He’d only worked there, though, not resided.)
So who’s right? As it always has been and always will be, the answer to that question depends on which bank of the Potomac River the person answering lives on.