My campaign to squash Seattle Magazine
I have no idea why I keep reading Seattle Magazine. It’s touted as ‘The Premier Seattle Monthly’ but really, it’s a monthly collection of trite fluff articles that could be set in Anywhere, USA. ie: Just swap out ‘Seattle’ for ‘Walnut Creek, CA’ and nothing would really change.
My fight against Seattle Magazine started about two months ago. It’s the type of magazine that you find in your dentist’s waiting room, or in my case, my therapist’s. With diffused light pictorials and headlines touting ‘Food lust!’ and ‘Seattle’s Best Neighborhoods!’, it has this magnetic pull and you can’t NOT look once it’s got you in range. So, two months ago, I’m reading the ‘Seattle’s Ultra Rich’ edition and having a hard time differentiating between the actual content and the flashy condo ads pushing ‘Urban Luxury’ and ‘Impeccable Amenities’. Image vs. Reality was sitting in my lap while I waited for my therapist to help me sort myself out. I’d just received the bill for my therapist so reading the ‘Ultra-rich’ edition just made my hate flower bloom.
I’m a working professional, just starting out in the world, and totally against the condo movement simply because it’s pricing me out of the neighborhoods I want to live in and changing the very character of the city I love. My mind proceeded to fall into this swirling mess of angry letters I could write and debating whether marrying for money and not love just to live in the 98122 made me a slut. (I decided on a ‘yes’ answer for that question.)
But now onto reasons why I pray for the downfall of Seattle Magazine. I was born in Tacoma and moved to Seattle when I was two. I’ve lived here all my life, save for that 14 month period when I ran away to the high deserts of Arizona, so I think that gives me some license to express my disgust with a publication that claims to be Seattle’s ‘Premier Monthly’…I’ve got me some serious Seattle pride. Mainly because us natives are a rare breed but also because I’m against any glossy publication that costs $6 an issue and has more clichés than my old 6th grade journal entries.
If you knew ANYTHING about Seattle, it’s that we’ve got a lot to share and it goes beyond a bohemian boutique in Fremont. We’ve got decommissioned power plants, FABULOUS local restaurants that are cheap (Tamarind Tree comes to mind), a vibrant theatre community (no, ACT Theatre doesn’t count), decent open space, and more. Also, I went to private school growing up so I’ve rubbed elbows and shared ice cream cones with Seattle’s ‘Ultra-rich’ (my friends populated the shores of Lake Sammamish and mostly had Clyde Hill addresses) and let me tell ya, they don’t wear fancy hats, drive Lincoln Towncars, and attend red carpet galas every weekend. They’re normal folks (albeit with a lot of money). They wear Chacos. They kayak. They have Humane Society doggies. Let me put it this way…Paris Hilton probably wouldn’t like our high society.
So why on earth is there a magazine dedicating itself to perpetuating a fabricated view of city life (that was likely concocted by marketing wonks during initial brain storming)? And WHY is it raking in the money?
I have a theory: as I stated earlier, Seattle is granola crunchy. Yes yes, our boys wear Kenneth Cole and I’ve got a few designer duds in my closet (all consignment from hole in the wall boutiques or Craigslist, mind you) but we’re not the red carpet type. Those guys you see in Belltown with their shirt collars up holding an Amstel on a Friday night at Del Rey? Yeah, my money is on the fact that they went to business school at UW, came here from the Midwest and decided it was too much work to move to LA. Those aren’t the natives.
That being said, I think Seattle has a bit of a self esteem issue regarding its image. Yes, we’re granola, we recycle, we like fleece but we want to be seen as polished, hip, affluent urbanites. Nothing wrong with that. My theory is that Seattle Magazine fulfills this sort of vain desire to be seen as these things. It’s the type of publication you could send your mom four years out of college to show her that Seattle ain’t so bad. And she’ll totally buy into it.
So why do I hate Seattle Magazine (and where was I going with this story)? I hate it because I’m proud of what Seattle has to offer. We are NOT a city defined by luxury urban condos or salons written up in fashion magazines. We’ve got ourselves some soul and yes, some adolescent angst but we’re working through it.
So, how could Seattle Magazine pacify this angry native?
Change the title to Bellevue Magazine.