Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Shot across the bow

Here it is, the op-ed so heinously partisan that it was turned away from half of Philadelphia's alternative publications, including my former home, Joey said "we refuse to publish this pro-Pittsburgh drivel. We suggest you try Pittsburghebrity."


Philadelphia's relationship with Pittsburgh has always been somewhat uneasy- perhaps the western partner is too small or foreign to warrant acknowledgment from the former national capital and current underdog champion of I-95. But when the first puck drops this weekend, both cities will put their pride on the line with 30-odd skating Canucks and Slavs as proxy. Much like Philadelphians relish (and New Yorkers loathe) the degree to which sports obscure the economic and cultural asymmetry between their cities, the Turnpike war, renewed after several years of dilapidation, will again test civic pride in the Commonwealth using speed, violence and savvy instead of verbal barbs... Just kidding, there will be shit-talk as well.

The dear "D-Mac" of Philadelphia Will Do has devoted his week to bashing Pittsburgh (the Michael Fichman birthplace and homestead). I couldn't help but return from the shadows to respond in kind- largely because I'm astonished that my esteemed colleague would even cop to having left his mother's basement to enjoy the fruits of the greener, better educated, more-times-crowned city over the Alleghenies... only to trash them.

Frankly, my colleague's bad fucking attitude is no surprise. Philadelphia's outward sporting personality is deceptively honest. When it comes to the Flyers, a vicious slash is almost as good as a goal- an outward expression of hardbitten toughness, but more privately a tribute to Philly's "any means necessary" approach to asserting its existence, either as the persistent underdog or as the stern and defensive favorite. Either way, there are some existential and emotional crises just under the surface here- Philadelphia, can't you just love yourself for who you are, or do you have to get drunk and make empty boasts? Are you really that mad about New York that you have to momentarily remember, and then insult your successful and placid neighbors on I-76 just to keep from crying?

I eagerly await a response, but make it quick, because the Prince of Wales trophy will be back at home in Pittsburgh before you know it.

In a related story, my former colleague at Philebrity, Kelly White, told me that she bet her vegetarianism on a Flyers' victory. I told her she was terribly misguided, but that if the Flyers won, I would eat my hat.

Similarly, the dear Mr. Sweeney has taken to describing a Penguins jersey as a "Michael Fichman." A fitting tribute to my obtuse behavior I suppose.

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