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i have lived in and around college park for seven years, and I hardly dispute any of the claims of David Morton’s article (“Shell of a Town,” 9/29). But I call Morton out on the point of his piece.
Consider the scope of this journalism. The article mostly discusses “nightlife,” which is basically, let’s be honest, drinking. But how important is the bar scene to the college experience, considering that most undergraduates can only legally drink for about one academic year? The captions and title of the article clarified the real message: College Park is a bad, bad place. Or maybe your staff was too amused by its own pun, “Shell of a Town,” to capture the tiny bit of subtlety in Morton’s text.
That subtlety included admiration of College Park neighborhoods (such as the one in which I own a home) and the University’s academic programs. The truth is that there are even better things to College Park than these, and there are more bad things about it than the ones mentioned in the article. But discussing this wouldn’t fit the style of sensationalist exposé in which the article was written.
Your readers aren’t in the least bit confused about Morton’s article. They see it exclusively as a “College Park sucks” tract. At least none of those who wrote in could put together a coherent argument; they’ve complained that they failed to find any other close-by pharmacy, or that they “can’t get a raspberry-cream-cheese Danish anywhere.”
The worst thing about living in College Park is none of these things; it’s hearing people constantly talk shit about your neighborhood.
At least the Washington City Paper, professional character assassin that it is (not that I don’t love you guys), took an even wider swing at Adams Morgan the week before this was published.
College Park, Md.