Sunday, March 02, 2008

Seattle: A Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy?

In a classic case of pots calling kettles "black," the good folks at Forbes Magazine have listed the city of Seattle as one of the worst offenders with respect to those deadly sins of jealousy and greed.

As evidence for the latter, Forbes argues that
"the Puget Sound region is the home to the richest man on the planet, Bill Gates, as well as Paul Allen and Steve Ballmer of Microsoft and's Jeff Bezos."
Plus, lots of cars are apparently stolen, so, you know, jealousy's an issue up here as well.

The damning nature of the evidence notwithstanding (!), I still wonder whether this city is the "wretched hive of scum and villainy" that is is sometimes portrayed as. I mean, this is the city that gained worldwide notoriety for protesting the World Trade Organization's ministerial meeting in 1999. This is the place where people eat Grape Nuts, live in trees, and worship Ralph Nader. Grunge was invented here for crying out loud.

Still, maybe David Brooks was right, maybe all the alternative and countercultural edginess of Seattle has been blissfully wedded to the tech and espresso industry to form the perfect amalgam of bohemian and bourgeoisie: The "Bobo."

But either way, Seattle is a mirror held up to the rest of the nation, and if this city is greedy, other cities are certainly jealous of that greed (how's that for irony?). Microsoft is here. So is Boeing,, Starbucks, and Costco. When it comes to big business, we certainly can hold a candle to just about anywhere.

But how the citizen of the heavenly Jerusalem is to navigate these earthly waters of Babylon, well, that's another question....