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These Baltimoreans are as steamed as their crabs for three reasons: Fisher’s outdated Baltimore cultural reference points, his obvious dislike for the city itself, and his love, love, love of free parking.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