HUB BLOG'S 2004 DNC MEDIA GUIDE !!
Actually, I’ve decided to do a slightly abbreviated Hub Blog 2004 DNC Media Guide. Too much work otherwise. But let me anyway welcome all the members of the visiting world press to Boston. Warning: We’re watching you. We’re specifically watching for excellent clichés/stereotypes/ludicrous accounts in general about ‘Beantown’ while you’re here. For your work and pleasure convenience, you might want to read the following:
Not a bad account of bars
in Boston, though I’d add the following watering holes to the list: The Sevens on Charles Street; Harvard Garden and the Hill Tavern, both on Cambridge Street near the FleetCenter; and Foley’s in the South End area. They all happen to be near where I live and work -- and I like ‘em. Also, pubs close early in Boston, sort of like the old London-WWI liquor laws. So do what the locals do: Drink early, drink fast.
Good story in CommonWealth magazine
(free reg. req.), with Hub Blog comments
from last week, about Massachusetts politics and culture. Be careful with the Liberal Massachusetts label. It’s true, but not quite what it seems.
The local media:
Dan Kennedy sums it up somewhat well over here
, with an obligatory Oh-My-God-It’s-A-Mouse references to the ‘tarty’ Herald. A suggestion if you really want kinky and tarty sex during the DNC: Read the Boston Phoenix.
The Boston personality:
Flinty, cynical, standoffish. Very Northeastern. The Land That Time and Tourism Manners Forgot. The recent hysteria over the DNC traffic hell? There were a lot of people here who absolutely reveled in the misery. ... We're also very proud of the bullpen brawl during the ALC series last fall. ... Also remember: The ornery New England militia refused to march south with George Washington to fight the British during the American Revolution. Too much trouble. See ya, George. Be sure to write. Call us if you want to attack Quebec, Etc.
The boozy, useless Dean Martin of Boston. But we like him. So go easy on the guy.
Hub politicians of yesteryear:
Don’t mention John Quincy Adams without mentioning James Michael Curley, John F. Kennedy without mentioning Louise Day Hicks, etc.
Books about Boston:
You’ll be busy. Yeah, right. Hub Blog has been to conventions before. Wrote most of my stories in advance. So you should have time to hit the bars and maybe do a little side reading. Suggestions (and they should be on local book stands): ‘Black Mass’ and ‘All Souls.’ Two recent, great books about the underside of ‘this most liberal city.’
Brahmins vs. Irish storyline:
Old. Very old. Haven’t seen a true Brahmin in, well, I’m not sure how long. The Boston Irish are also well into the early stages of decline: Italian mayor, Mormon governor, Italian Senate president, changing demographics etc., etc.
The Puritan-angle storyline:
Also old. Very old. Avoid it. Then again, as a friend once put it about Boston: "Put two uptight, sexually repressed ethnic groups together, the English and the Irish, add in the fact they liked to drink and hated each other, and you have one weird city." ... Thank goodness for the later influx of African-American, Portuguese, Italian, Jewish and, lately, Brazilian, Asian and Haitian immigrants. It’s as if they’ve been the appalled spectators of Boston politics for too long time and only recently decided that enough is enough when it comes to brawling Irish and Brits.
The Curse of the Bambino:
Please, please, please, I’ll buy you a drink if you can avoid its use in stories. ... FYI: Never heard of the curse while growing up. ... FYI II: If you want a better explanation for the Sox’ bad luck over the years, think: Yawkey, racism, crazy widow, one screwed up will, decades of bad management that only lifted in the past few years.
Sculling on the Charles:
Great postcard shot of Boston area. But it doesn't tell the whole story. There’s also Revere Beach and Crane’s Beach etc.
Slowly dying, like most regional accents around the country. ... Best place to hear Boston accents in abundance: FleetCenter during Bruins games. But the season’s over and the FleetCenter is, well, closed to the masses for the DNC. The State House and City Hall are good places to find the accent in large quantities. But they’ll be closed to the public too. ... Be lazy: Stop someone who looks like a local, ask for phony directions, listen to their accent as they give you phony directions, expect to be treated rudely afterward, ‘in this most liberal city.’
The ‘Boston Inferiority Complex’:
Largely peddled by those in the upper-middleclass media/entertainment world, and usually written and spoken in a way to imply that OTHER little people have the complex when in fact it’s their own silly obsession. ... The vast majority of native Bostonians don't have an inferiority complex because they don’t have a clue about anything outside eastern Massachusetts or the Cape. This is their own small universe. ... Like, where the fuck is Pittsfield? Is it in Massachusetts?
Our sometimes unruly colony to the south. Pretty well-kept vacation secret compared with the Cape, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. If you have time for a quickie post-convention vacation, give the 90-minute-drive to Newport a shot ... Maine? Fine. Quaint. But, outside Bar Harbor, it’s overrated. ... Vermont is in the process of being kicked out of New England. ... New Hampshire? ... Daring post-convention vacation suggestion: Montreal. Quick, scenic, five-hour drive to mais-oui land, though it might as well be Jakarta to most Bostonians.
Harvard Square vs. Route 1 Saugus:
Both classics. Harvard Yard and John Harvard statue vs. Golden Banana and plastic cows.
The lack of local strip clubs:
Very odd. Or maybe not so odd. One theory for the lack of strip clubs in Boston is: At the outset of the Civil War, Mass. Gen. Joe Hooker proudly marched his Bay State boys into Washington, D.C and then couldn’t get them out of the Red Light district for days. He also turned his army headquarters into a bordello and his name is forever linked to the world's oldest profession. Boston has been trying to live down the reputation ever since. OK, it's just a theory. Still, local leaders seemed to have learned an odd lesson about Fighting Joe and his volunteers from Massachusetts. There’s a statue of him on the State House lawn. No one knows why.
North End vs. Route 128-Burlington:
Boston’s oldest European-like neighborhood vs. Boston’s innovative engine contained within vapid new American office parks. Those making money in the office parks and those funding operatons in the office parks are increasingly snapping up condos in the North End and wrecking the neighborhood in the process. The city of tradition and innovation at work.
About 10 percent of that trash you see on the sidewalks is the direct result of security officials hauling away trash cans for the DNC. The rest? Well, Bostonians are litterbugs. Actually, we’re slobs. ... A crying Indian on every corner, when they’re not at Foxwoods.
That about does it. This is not meant to be a comprehensive guide. Just a way to set you straight. Remember: We’re watching.
Thanks to Armchair Gen. Savin Hill for his editing assistance.