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Things That Make Me Happy I’m Not A Real Journalist

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If it was a freelance assignment, I wonder what it would take to get me to go to arguably the most drearily exurban major center in the United States (now 50% parking!) to listen to a bunch of Republican speeches that I could watch on TV if I didn’t prefer to watch the Mets (verdict: marginally better than the Astros!), or…pretty much anything else. I’m not sure, but I think my asking price would start in the five-figure range, even before we get to storm issues.

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  • Money quote from the linked article: “When you’re wistfully pining for Houston’s urban virtues, things are not going well.”

    Ouch.

  • Furious Jorge

    As a resident of the far superior city across the bay from Tampa, I would have to agree with just about everything Doig says about Tampa itself, and about the Bay area generally, with one exception: He vastly overstates the amount of Tea Party-ism in Pinellas County. Hillsborough, yes. But not so much on the St. Pete side.

    • Ramon A. Clef

      I had the same thought. To the national media, Pinellas County in general, and St. Pete in particular, is merely a suburb of Tampa.

  • greylocks

    As a long-time resident of the Bay Area, my only quibble with the article is that it focuses on Tampa. The whole “Sun Coast” of Florida from Naples to Homosassa is one big fucked up super-sprawl that reaches many miles inland. It took the combined effort of many city councils and county commissions to create this mess.

    • Scott Lemieux

      True. And I haven’t spent enough time in either place to judge, but is Tampa worse than Orlando?

      • Furious Jorge

        I personally find Orlando even worse, and I’ve spent far more time in both places than I would have preferred.

        • Ramon A. Clef

          I hated Orlando much more when I lived there than I hated Tampa when I lived there. However, it’s been years since I’ve spent more than 24 hours in either city. Maybe Orlando has gotten worse more slowly than Tampa has.

      • greylocks

        I haven’t been to Orlando in years and hope to die before I ever have to go there again. But I find it hard to believe it’s as bad as the coastal areas. If nothing else, Orlando isn’t fighting the geographical constraints imposed by the bay and Tarpon Lake.

      • Josh G.

        Orlando is, first and foremost, a tourist city. It’s not really fair to judge it by the same criteria as cities which are intended primarily as places for people to live full-time.

  • JMG

    It’s a media convention. As you noted, there’s no work to do for them. But there are lots of self-important live shots and thumb-suckers to shoot/write to validate the premise “I’m here! Therefore I’m very important!”
    In some ways, it says it all about American politics that given their choice of all the cities in this fascinating and varied country, they chose Tampa and Charlotte.
    Tweedlebore and Tweedleboringer.

    • BigHank53

      If you need 20,000 hotel rooms and a major airport hub, the list gets a lot shorter, sad to say.

      • JMG

        If they can hold a Super Bowl in Jacksonville, and they did, they could certainly hold a national political convention pretty much anywhere. Why not Austin and/or San Antonio? Why not Miami? Why not all the big cities that have hosted these things since the days of Andrew Jackson? The idea that any resident of Florida or North Carolina will vote the party ticket because of this is insane.

      • greylocks

        The convention goes to the biggest briber bidder.

    • Bill Murray

      I was in Charlotte about 10 years ago. What i remember about that visit:

      1. Driving there is nigh ridiculous as street names change seemingly every few blocks — I think each part of town that used to be a nearby small town or suburb keeps their old street nmes

      2. I was looking for a book store. There were 30 in the yellow pages — 27 Christian and 3 that were not labeled Christian

  • Warren Terra

    As with most conventions (or for that matter scientific meetings), the point of going isn’t really the dissemination of information from the podium (which as you not would be both more effective and more comfortable from your sofa), it’s the chance to schmooze with your peers, to meet the people whose peers you want to be, and to meet the people who want to be your peers. At the party conventions, this means the activists, for whom it’s a big festival of like-minded people to fantasize with, and the media, who all get to hang out and act like they’re all-wise and all-knowing. There are even now blogger tents, for a third class of people halfway between the partisan activists and the media (or, perhaps, possessing the most extreme traits of both) to mingle themselves. And just like at a scientific meeting or a sci-fi convention, the people mingling with their peers might run into the titans of the field.

    In terms of doing their jobs, the media can find minor party representatives to talk to more easily than otherwise, and they’ve got a great excuse for nutpicking and other “colorful” character stories.

    Actually, it would be interesting to create a satellite convention: say, in the bay area or someplace, rent a hall and a projection screen, put C-SPAN on the screen, and have people who’ve driven for an hour instead of having traveled across the country mingle with like-minded people, at a convention of their own. It would serve all of the same social functions, but it would lack the chance to meet the celebrities.

  • mark f

    I don’t want to go to any party at which Jonah Goldberg is treated like the coolest guy there.

    • firefall

      I don’t want to go to any party at which Jonah Goldberg is treated like the coolest guy there.

  • NBarnes

    That piece on Tampa’s urban planning was shudder-worthy. It baffles me that people see that sort of thing as desirable. Do asshole tea partiers really want to live in that sort of place?

    • mpowell

      It’s a bunch of retirees and near-retirees who just want to pay lower taxes. They don’t have to commute or are looking forward to the day when they don’t have to and they have no desire to live in the city so they could care less about that. That doesn’t cover every tea partier, but it’s all about the demographics.

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