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I agree that Washington and its suburbs are a stultifying trailer park (“New York Fetish,” 8/1). Let me suggest the top three reasons for this mediocrity:

First, most Washingtonians have frivolous jobs as clerks, serfs, hacks, or hucksters. Bureaucrats in government and industry endlessly process trivia. Serfs in the service industry perform chores the average 15-year-old can do. Political workers redistribute pork for the middle and upper classes. Salespeople hype overpriced wares. Washington’s jobs hardly involve creativity or societal advancement.

Secondly, this fundamentally meaningless work life creates widespread cynicism. Washingtonians are insecure about their social and economic value. They instantly judge each other in terms of networking possibilities, even during parties, dating, and other social situations. Life becomes synonymous with career, and careers become treadmills. Consequently, the local lifestyle is jaded and repressed.

Third, as middle-class pretenders suffering lower-class powerlessness, most locals are just closet rednecks. Their Darwinian struggle for self-promotion makes them vulgar and intolerant. Thus neighborliness is pitiful, racial separatism prevails, and the only arts taken seriously are status-enhancing highbrow arts. Simply put, most Washingtonians sacrifice manners and culture at the altar of petty ambition.

Washington deserves credit as a useful pit stop on the way to a better life. But frivolous jobs, cynical attitudes, and intolerant vulgarians do not make a metropolis great.

Alexandria, Va.

via the Internet