Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Well, THAT Was Fun!

There was a kind of tempest in the (sweet?) teapot yesterday. As noted in my prior blog post I was officially welcomed to the city, along with Randi and Stella, via the blog "Consuming Louisville." I thanked them back, and thought it was all surprising and neat. (Backnote: "CL" had first read my HuffPo piece, so that's how they knew.)

But it got better.

Then another person saw the HuffPo piece and totally ripped me for being a hipster New York financial writer who deigned to grace The River City with my presence.

This kind of shocked me. For one ... me a hipster? Having lived in Brooklyn, the Mecca of all things Hipster I was astonished to learn that I was that fashionable. As I joked to someone else in the wake of this post, I had come to think of myself as about as trendy as unskinny jeans. I lack ironic facial hair, never wear Mideastern scarves and basically don't look or act like I'm on my way to a rave.

I mean, just look at that picture on the right side of this blog. Is it the blue Target-brand polo shirt? The sea green LL Bean backpack that I've had since the reign of George Bush Sr.? The khaki shorts that could have been stolen from my mom? If that is hip you'd better watch out Williamsburg!

Another thing that surprised me. I, with tongue in cheek, didn't say NYC was better than L-Ville, but that they came out to a draw. New York gets plenty of ribbing too.

Third, it was in the humor section of the HuffPo.

So that was that.

But it got even better. Next L-Ville's NPR station talked about my arrival, and the reaction to it, on their blog.

In short, I had gone viral. Which is a word that a married man pretty much would never want to hear in any other context.

Then about 30 more people started to follow me on Twitter, despite the fact that I have a token, at best, presence there. I appreciate this attention, for sure, and now I will make it my business to ensure that I make it worth their while.

Oh, and the local hip alternative weekly also picked up on my story. And even though they had mixed feelings about it, what can I say, I was flattered. (Although the blogger did call most of my list "lazy." Not fair, I woke up bright and early to write my listicle!)

So, this just goes to show, you really can't tell. I slaved over my "CEO Cover Stories For Dummies" article for the HuffPo, made sure every word landed with maximum impact, edited it probably at least a half dozen times. I had dreams about ways to make it better, tighter, funnier, more incisive. The general public's reaction, of course, was almost no reaction. Although I am grateful to say my sister really liked it.

This one, though it still took work and effort, was just way less intense. And, I thought, way more harmless. Imagine, I had thought editors and other journalists would rip me for the way I ripped CEO cover stories, but, really, no one cared all that much.

And the Louisville piece, by contrast, stirred up something akin to a hornet's nest. Although, to be fair, many, many of the comments were of the good-natured, sense of humor bearing, variety. My peoples! (BTW, I even had a PR company contact me via Twitter to tell me how to get ahead of this story. For real.)

So, you never know what people will react to.

It should also be noted that the thing that really ticked people off was my insinuation that Louisville doesn't have world class food. I listed hot browns (a delicious turkey and ham based dish with gravy, mmm), barbecue (double mmm) and Chik-Fil-A (triple mmm) as the things to eat here. And the irony is, I wasn't being ironic. I love all that stuff, really, really love it. In fact even though I am now well educated about how many great restaurants are here I am most excited to eat at a place called the Frankfort Avenue Beer Depot (or FABD), which has two giant meat smokers in the parking lot (I almost just wrote smokers without the meat part, but realized that would have conjured images of just two giant dudes smoking cigarettes), and looks like a place where Hell's Angels go when they want some brisket.

I wrote that about Louisville, fwiw, because good barbecue, hot browns and Chik-Fil-A are all things that we have here that New York doesn't have. Yes, and as I've learned, Louisville also has a burgeoning and great restaurant scene, but so does New York. I guess I could have made this point with a little more finesse?

I guess the food thing touched a nerve here. My guess would be that Louisville is a city that has made a lot of steps in the past decade or so to become more and more outward looking, cool and sophisticated. (I base this observation on what Randi, who grew up around here, has witnessed. The city today is nothing like the Louisville of her youth when it was, no pun intended, basically a one horse town. Now it is hip, alternative and striving to keep itself unique. I appreciate this.)

So, for me, some Eastern hipster financial writer, to come in and ignore all that hard work may have felt like a slap in the face to some folks around here. The New Yorkers, in classic fashion, just didn't care.

I guess I'm just not a foodie. But it's not like I was in NYC either. In fact my favorite restaurant in the entire city was a Thai place in Park Slope called Song. It was good, cheap and fast. I loved it, even though, if memory serves, it had seen at least a few health code violations in its day.

Anyway, so that's what happened yesterday. Lots of fun. Now, of course, I wonder what I will do next. Ah well, no matter what it's guaranteed to get a different reaction from the public than I expected. That's how it seems to work.


Anne Stesney said...

Congrats on all the attention! Boy, people sure get defensive about their towns, huh? ESPECIALLY when compared to NYC. It's a real hot button. I think people see it as George Clooney bullying Michael Cera.

Dott Comments said...

The notice you received is all because Michelle at Consuming Louisville mentioned you. You want viral? She's got viral.

And it's not true that it's only been the last decade or so that Louisville has had a cool vibe or outstanding food scene. I've lived here since 1975 and I've seen Bardstown Road ebb and flow with amazing foodstuffs and entertainment (anyone remember Karma Records or The Grainary?).

What IS new is the Urban Bourbon Trail and nighttime racing at Churchill Downs. Both very, very cool.

Enjoy the notice. Write more and sell it. We love the attention here in Louisville.

David Serchuk said...

Hi Anne,
It's true, and the funny thing is I didn't think my piece was harsh at all, as I was trying to write something funny, not mean. Most people got it.

Hi Dott,
That's true. Her blog is awesome and I am psyched to get introduced to it this way.

As for writing more, I am psyched to do so. Now I have to move onto step two: writing!


Anne Stesney said...

Well, I totally got the humor and had to refrain from writing something snarky to that Terry guy.

Oh, and I should say that I think Michael Cera is very cool and if Louisville is him in my analogy, it's a good thing in my mind!

Anne Stesney said...

Hey David-Thought you'd get a kick out of this.,18003/

David Serchuk said...

Hi Anne,
I saw that. And so did Randi! She feels she could have practically written it!

But I take issue with the bigger bagels comment. We all know that in the bagel world bigger is typically not better!

Anonymous said...

Sooner or later you had to run into the chip on the shoulder problem; I too have been there done that here. But that's the minority bunch in the Ville so I agree; thanks for keeping your new home on the radar! Oh and I wanted to say your daughter is quite the bee's knees. Having 2 (now teen) daughters myself I can see "pistol" in that photo. Cheers again, Chris

David Serchuk said...

Hi Chris,
Sorry about the delay in getting back. Yes, Stella is sometimes more than a handful and an absolute riot. If you go back in the blog far enough you will find some video I shot of her absolutely freaking out to the Alphabet Song while I play it on guitar. It's a great show of how she is.


PunkCDSampler said...

I found the hipster comment hilarious. In fact, I was at a Laura Stevenson show this past Friday, and I found her to talk about doing an interview, and we soon just started talking about whatever, and since her and her band are from Brooklyn I told her about this and asked her if she ever got called a hipster. She laughed and said no, but added that you should like Louisville a lot because the people are so nice, especially compared to Brooklyn.

David Serchuk said...

Hi PunkCD Sampler,
Thanks for the info. I will have to find out who Laura Stevenson is now!