A number of national magazines have routinely employed various survey tactics that put Philadelphians and our city at the bottom of everything from our appearance to the toxicity of our drinking water. Most, if not all of these surveys are far from scientific. But according to the newsstands, Philadelphians are fat, sick, and ugly.
Although a quick stroll along the river would suggest anything but an unhealthy and unattractive populous, no one bothered to mention that the cities that scored the least attractive were also the most ethnically diverse. That says a whole lot more about those being surveyed than it does about the physical characteristics of our residents.
Yet still, our local newspapers eat it up. Our journalists have a morbid infatuation with negative press and broadcast these deprecating stats as top stories on their websites. I've noticed the same trend in a lot of mid-Atlantic cities. Maybe it's because this region typically falls low in positive statics, but from DC to New York, many residents seem to be passively proud of everything from traffic to crime.
While Portland brags about its parks and transportation system, we brag about mobsters and hoarders with dead cats in their freezers. Like the cast of Jersey Shore, attention is attention, good or bad, even if the whole country hates you.
For whatever reason, the papers ignored this one. Men's Health recently published a survey, taking into account stats like bankruptcy, foreclosures, and personal debt and established a list of where the residents of major U.S. cities stood financially. And guess what? We're not at the bottom. In fact, out of 100 cities, we aren't even close.
With Las Vegas and Phoenix bottoming out at 100 and 98 and eight other cities receiving an F, Philadelphia came in at 29 with a grade of B. Pittsburgh came in at number 10 with an A- and is one of ten cities that are actually in the black. Good job, Pennsylvania!
We live in a great city and we have every right to brag about it. San Francisco is beautiful, but you won't find a museum surrounding Ben Franklin's toilet. Boston is historic, but its skyline won't humble anyone. We're better than a lot of cities. Start bragging about what makes us great, not what once made us rotten. A little optimism might help shed our hard reputation. Philadelphia really isn't as bad as Philadelphians say it is.