A N N   A R B O R   I S   O V E R R A T E D . (a blog.)

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2002-09-30 - 11:22 p.m.

Dis A2 nightlife, get smacked down. That's the lesson LiveJournal diarist jdsalmon learned when he described the lack of choices available to him on a Saturday night ("There's FAR too much to do! What should I choose?!?!!111!?") jdsalmon went on to characterize the participants in local "dance freakout" The Bang! as "commie high grads in their best denim & Value Village threads," and the DJs as displaying an "overreliance on mixtapes."

LiveJournal user jdryznar questioned his assessment. "FUCK YOU!" he explained. "Don't insult those Bang dudes. Those dudes are fucking sweet."

(Got this link from rya, who denounced jdsalmon as someone who has been criticized by "several folks in (great) Detroit bands.")

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2002-09-30 - 2:15 a.m.

All right, this has gone far enough. In the last couple weeks, about a third of the readers of this weblog have been crazed college football fans who got here by searching for "ann arbor is a whore shirt."

In response to inquiries: Ann Arbor Sucks does not know where to find these shirts, although it's not unreasonable to assume that the mention of them here implied at least a partial endorsement. Ann Arbor Sucks does sell anti-A2 shirts, but they are unrelated.

Ann Arbor Sucks finally switched desktop backgrounds today, from a bad photograph of Cambridge, Massachusetts chosen to evoke sloppy-sad nostalgia, to the chilly, computer-generated "Kraftwurm" graphic that came with the window manager. No longer missing Boston doesn't equate to warming to Ann Arbor in the slightest, by the way.

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2002-09-26 - 4:45 p.m.

Occasionally, anything as negative as this weblog is bound to attract criticism. From rya:

If you think ann arbor sucks so much, then why don't you LEAVE???I'm just confused as to why you'd spend so much time and energy explaining why your lameass thinks it sucks instead of doign something about it (to make it better) or moving away. ????? please explain.

When Ann Arbor Sucks (all right, "I") started my CafePress store, the site asked "What's your passion?" It seemed a little sad to admit that my passion was hating Ann Arbor.

But I wanted to start a weblog about something both a little more specific and, I hoped, a little more interesting, than my life. As far as I knew, there was no other blog on this topic. Ann Arbor seemed like the perfect mix of aspiring cultural mecca and Midwestern cow town to make it a target for satire.

And I'll be in grad school for a while. So it's unlikely that you'll be getting rid of me any time soon.

In "Thatch," one of my favorite comics, policy wonk Thatch is dating a woman completely indifferent to anything political. "Don't worry," she says when he worries that they have nothing in common. "You have your thing, and I have my thing." "What is your thing?" he asks. "Hating politics," is the response. So maybe that's what I have in common with my readers.

And this is why I don't do a personal journal! Back to criticizing Daily headlines tomorrow.

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2002-09-25 - 2:32 p.m.

It's Wednesday. That's right - Talk About Town time. This week, TAT greets us with some alarming news: Ann Arbor may be going all big city on us. The evidence? "In a New York moment last week, a couple successfully hailed a Yellow Cab on Main Street in front of Mongolian Barbecue, all the time talking on their cell phones." The column goes on to wonder about the lives of this couple in the increasingly cell-phone-and-cab-driven society we live in. "Maybe they found time to talk to each other during the cab ride," it concludes wistfully.

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2002-09-24 - 3:39 p.m.

Ann Arbor's suckitude has now apparently made it to the pages of Salon. Advice colunist Cary Tennis fields a letter from a lonely 34-year IT administrator living in "a Midwestern college town."

Well, that could be...let's see, Champaign, Madison or maybe even Columbus. But "Spinning My Wheels"'s complaints fit just a little too well. He's "tried the bar scene, but they come in two categories: massive sports bars crammed with binge-drinking undergraduates, or smaller, pub-style places where grad students huddle around a table and discuss their classes and professors and don't talk to anyone else except their waitperson." He laments that "people come here to go to school, they associate primarily with people they meet in class, and then leave when they've got their degree," which would seem to leave out Madison and its frenzied Wisconsin state government social whirl. And the clincher: he "took a yoga class last year hoping to meet some women."

Oh, and Tennis' advice? Move to Chicago, "the windy city of broad shoulders and blues and graduate students in economics." Sigh.

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2002-09-22 - 1:27 p.m.

While the rest of the country dukes it out over Bob Greene, Ann Arborites can follow a different columnist's ouster - that of Dustin Seibert, whose "The Manifesto" had been one of the best columns in the Daily. In a piece (not online) appearing in the conservative Michigan Review entitled "I paid the cost to be the Boss," Seibert details how he was overlooked for a promotion in the Arts department, how he sent an angry mass e-mail to the Daily staff "in the style that only I can freak the best" and how he was then removed from the paper by his editor-in-chief.

Okay, he didn't tell any female readers that they could offer him a "different perspective" on breast implants if only they offered some visual aids, as Greene has been said to. But Seibert's parting shot offers enough name-naming detail to keep A2 media watchers away from Media News for a while. The Arts editors, according to Seibert, constitute a "fascist regime." The editor-in-chief believed the Arts section to be "all fucked up." Luke Smith and Jeff Dickerson, he writes, "the two managing Arts editors...I hold most directly responsible for all this, expressed that they used to be 'intimidated' by me as the 'black kid who wore the big leather jacket'", being, as they were, "two extremely Caucasian kids from Traverse City whose experiences with black men were probably limited to Carter from Spin City." And Smith, whose column has come up in this weblog before, was apparently annoyed because Seibert "would not spit-polish his cock like his other writers."

Maybe conservative publications really do have more fun.

Also, Merrie of mythoslogos has this to say about the "Coney Island" thing:

Coney-Island-ism is a hideous Detroit Metro area thing that has seeped into Ann Arbor...One would think Coney-Island-ism began in New York, where there is a place called Coney Island. But one is not certain. However, it was a "big thing" in the 50's, 60's and 70's to get your hot dogs and fries smothered in vomit-like chili sauce in Metro Detroit.

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2002-09-17 - 1:16 a.m.

"You've never lived anywhere that really sucks," goes the most common complaint about this weblog. "'annarborisoverrated' was too many characters for Diaryland," is Ann Arbor Sucks' usual response. But it's often difficult to find specific examples of the city's inflated sense of its own hipness. Luckily, Daily writer Michael Grass comes through with his piece "A2, a training ground for life's finer experiences". Let's examine a few of his main points:

There are few cities in the Midwest that measure up to Ann Arbor. Aside from Madison, our fair city, compared to any other Big Ten college town, is the best around.

Um. Does "hog-butcher to the world" ring any bells? Or, in the case of Big Ten college towns, "suburb, that while overrun with Lake Forest sorority girls in their Mercedes Jeeps, is directly contiguous to the hog-butcher to the world."

Our critics say that we're stuck-up, arrogant and trapped in six square miles surrounded by reality.

Ann Arbor Sucks, considered by some to be a critic, says something quite different. New York is arrogant. Ann Arbor's relentlessly upbeat civic boosterism doesn't even come close. It's six square miles of Michigan surrounded by Michigan.

One of Ann Arbor's greatest fans, public radio personality, Midwestern icon and writer Garrison Keillor...

This one's pretty self-explanatory.

"Doing one's time in the Midwest" as one out-of-state friend once told me, is probably one of the most important things for an East Coaster.

A2 as gulag.

Yes, there are better places than Ann Arbor. No doubt. But it is places like Ann Arbor that prepare people to appreciate those better places and the finer things in life.

Try this one out sometime. "Your stuffed eggplant hors d'oeuvre prepares me to appreciate better stuffed eggplants that I will come across in my lifetime."

As we see from this piece, Ann Arbor can be thought of as a kind of thin gruel. To those who haven't tried solid food yet, it's a step toward the big-kid stuff. To those who have grown complacent on their steady diet of chewables, it's a character-building experience.


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2002-09-15 - 8:50 p.m.

Seen on a T-shirt in South Bend during the Notre Dame-Michigan game (don't ask): "Ann Arbor is a whore."

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2002-09-12 - 9:52 p.m.

The Electric Current has released its 2002 "Best of Ann Arbor" list, and there were few surprises. Zingerman's got several mentions, but not as many as it should have (how about Best Bagels?) The top two spots for Best Indian, Best Italian, Best Vegetarian and Best Korean were taken by, respectively, the two Indian, Italian, vegetarian and Korean restaurants in town. The second best "make-out spot" was "at home" - does this mean that all Ann Arbor residents will be issued "Best of Ann Arbor 2002" plaques to hang in our apartments?

And the best thing about Ann Arbor? "The people" narrowly beat out "diversity." Awwww.

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2002-09-09 - 1:25 p.m.

From the cleaning-coffee-off-the-monitor department:

Today's Ann Arbor News contains a very alarming little column about the state of engineering in Ann Arbor. It seems that MichCon employees are deciding where buried gas lines are by dowsing. That's right, the ancient folk method of locating buried items with a forked stick that dowsers believe moves mysteriously when it is above the item in question. This method, as the appalled engineer who wrote the column points out, is also known as "divining" or "witching."

Ann Arbor Sucks has been doing a lot of snarky eighteenth- and nineteenth-century references lately, but this is just too easy. We hear that after a MichCon employee searched for a gas line by Goody Crandall's barn, her cow refused to give milk for three days.

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2002-09-06 - 4:31 p.m.

According to a headline in today's Daily, "Students wane on Iraq attack." But don't expect languid, pale undergrads struggling to rise from Victorian fainting couches. The headline writer was merely employing a new cutting-edge usage of "wane" in which it means "to possess 'a variety of opinions'" about whether to overthrow the "Iraqui [sic] president."

Also, it turns out that Andrew W.K. is an Ann Arbor native.

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2002-09-06 - 12:57 a.m.

Gaiety and frivolity ensued as the Jefferson Market observed a second anniversary. Says the "Talk About Town" columnist, "Toddlers took to the pavement to dance jigs by Pub Domain, a Lansing-based Celtic band. Before that, adults got a dose of comic juggler Jonathan Park's sardonic wit." The Jefferson Market, notes our A2 equivalent of "Metropolitan Diary," is patronized by customers "many from homes beyond the Old West Side."

We can only hope that the revelry didn't get as out of hand as that Flemish peasant wedding described in the Onion, in which Mies the Swineherd tore his codpiece and the town's butter churn was overturned.

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2002-09-03 - 10:18 p.m.

Does anyone remember Douglas Coupland's word for the mid-twenties realization that one is completely alone in the world?

I'll try to work up some distaste for Ann Arbor tomorrow. Like, maybe The Ann Arbor News is running a story that makes us look like a hick town, and I could make some snide comment about that. Wouldn't that be a new departure for this weblog? Or maybe I could make a trenchant observation about some disagreeable aspect of big city life that's replicated here, without the corresponding good quality. Wry and understated!

I guess what I'm saying is that I'll try to find something about dogs and needlework samples, and blog it tomorrow.

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