To Whom It May Concern

I am sorry if the words or letters in this note to you are a bit jumbled, I am trying to type this missive on a sticky keyboard – a keyboard that is sticky only after I spewed the contents of my nonfat, vanilla latte.

I am not in the habit of spewing, but it was a Pavlovian reaction of which I could not help, for it was inspired by one of the articles in your February issue.

Upon reading said piece, it’s apparent your writers and editorial staff are in the habit of spewing, and that is an utter shame.

A. A. Gill’s Roll Over, Charles Darwin! rag is a complete disrespect to the art and ethics of journalism, if for no other reason than the writer’s first sentence.

“It’s not in the nature of stoic Cincinnatians to boast, which is fortunate, really, for they have meager pickings to boast about.”

Really. You don’t say…

It was a statement that impeded my ability to press on to the writer’s review of the Creation Museum (which is completely disregarded and ignored by a good portion of the population in Cincinnati).

But you know what? You’re right.

We don’t have a single thing to brag about. This coming weekend, hundreds of people will converge on Cincinnati’s Contemporary Arts Center (b.t.w., the nation’s first ever structure designed by the internationally acclaimed architect Zaha Hadid) for an opening of renowned street artist Shepard Fairey’s first museum retrospective. Surely you’ve heard of him, right? Does this refresh your memory?

(P.S. Since you all clearly don’t research what you read and/or write, Shepard Fairey is not the gentleman pictured in the piece. That is President Barack Obama. Fairey is the genius who created this instantly recognizable work).

I’ll be at Friday night’s opening and hope to meet Fairey personally, so I don’t really have time to dig up something and appropriately brag to you about Cincinnati. But I’ll be happy to share with you what Fairey discovers about the Queen City when he installs a variety of semi-permanent murals around our city this week and in May.

Regarding food, you’re right again. We don’t really have a damn thing to brag about. Yes, our best acclaimed restaurant closed its doors a few years ago (as the nation’s longest running five-star restaurant at 41 years), but we still have other restaurants to rival some of the nation’s finest dining rooms. Case in point: I ate at Boca, arguably Cincinnati’s best restaurant, just days before dining at Chez Panisse in San Francisco. Again, since you all don’t have a solid perspective or reference on things, I should point out that Chez Panisse is Alice Waters’ restaurant and regarded as one of the best restaurants on the West Coast.

There. That’s probably someplace you’ve heard of. The West Coast. I know it’s hard keeping the rest of Flyover Country straight.


On both evenings, my dining partner and I shared sentiments leading to this conclusion: Boca is miles better than Chez Panisse. And yes, while we are both from the sticks of Cincinnati, I guess it is good perspective for me to offer that my dining partner and I have dined around the globe – in highfalutin’ places like Paris and London and Amsterdam and Rome and you. name. it.

So, even though we have lots of worldly experience, I guess it doesn’t give us the right or opportunity to brag about Cincinnati. And you’re right – we sure as hell wouldn’t be able to find a single thing to brag about close to home.

One final thing that I guess Cincinnati has no right to brag about or celebrate:

The good people of Greater Cincinnati have created a long lasting tradition of charitable giving, and collectively they’re some of the most generous donors in the nation. I guess I should tell you that I work for a major (read: $63 million in LOCAL contributions annually) non-profit organization. Ours is an organization that has sister offices in cities large and small across the country. We are proud to say that, while Cincinnati ranks 32 in media market size, our metro ranks fourth in the nation for per capita charitable giving.

Fourth in the nation. How ’bout them apples?

But you’re right. Millions (and I mean millions) in charitable giving is really, uh, what did your article say?

Oh, yes. “Meager pickings.”

We don’t have a goddam thing to brag about, indeed.

Thanks for taking the time to read this letter. I hope you enjoyed my spewing as much as I enjoyed yours.

Next time A. A. wants to visit Cincinnati, have him hit me up. I think we could find a few great places to show off. Hell, the New York Times had a great visit here last summer.

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