Thursday, July 18, 2013

New York to Texas

Everyone knows New Yorkers are supposed to be rude jerks. You just know that Sarah Palin doesn't think we're "real Americans," so it's got to be true, right? (Of course, she thought Famiglia Bros was "real New York pizza" too, so what are you going to do?)

Now granted, in New York we have more than our share of violent scumbag psychopaths, but that's mostly because the other states try to bus them in here with one-way tickets - the Greyhound treatment for mental disorders. But speaking as someone who has lived in New York and California and eaten and slept in most of the states in between, the notion that New Yorkers are nastier than others is just...nonsense.

In fact, in my experience it's worse than nonsense - it's been an excuse for preemptive rudeness against New Yorkers. I can still remember attending a party thrown by a friend whose family was from Georgia. This very nice-seeming middle-aged lady struck up a conversation with me, and then asked in a voice dripping with magnolia, "Where are you from, dear?" Of course, I said "Well, I grew up in New York." Matter-of-fact, not with any particular pride or defensiveness. To which she quickly replied "Oh, I'm so sorry!" And smirked as if she'd let off the bon mot of the century against a boorish adversary, instead of gratuitously insulting an invited guest.

It's an attitude I've found most prevalent among Americans who hail from rural states, and who have formed their unshakable convictions about New York and New Yorkers based on Rush Limbaugh, Law & Order: SVU and Spring Break class trips to New York taken no later than 1999.

On the other hand, after growing up in New York, spending more than a quarter of a century here, and returning in middle age, I have yet to hear a single New Yorker mock someone else's hometown or home state. (Mostly because, you know...why bother?)

That changed last night. And it was GLORIOUS.

As you might have heard, Rick Perry, former GOP presidential candidate and soon-to-be-former governor of Texas has been conducting an aggressive advertising campaign to lure businesses to Texas from other states. He's been doing this by taking out ads in other states, then INSULTING those states, and saying that Texas is better for business.

As a strategy, this is just hilarious to me. Big companies don't care about advertising like this; they have their own relocation & search committees that evaluate basing costs 24/7. And medium and small companies, well, they are conceived, built, and maintained by locals. So when Gov. Perry is bashing Illinois, say, he is insulting the very people he wants to woo. When he talks smack about Sacramento or  Chicago, his audience is natives of Sacramento and Chicago. I don't see a particularly warm reception.

And then Rick took his campaign that last step too far, and he hit out at New York. And finally New York, in the form of Lewis Black, struck back. Here's the clip from Black's spot on The Daily Show. The commercial he produced in response to Perry's ads starts at 3:56. Enjoy!


  1. The nicest people I met at DFW airport were from NYC.