Thursday, December 6, 2007

Philadelphia: The Most Wordliest Place in the Whole Wide World

Perhaps you've read, saw on the news, heard from that chatty lady at work that just won't shut up or saw Patton Oswalt & Philly Boy Roy talk about the recent Travel + Leisure poll that had Philadelphia ranked dead last in "Attractive People". Well it isn't a reason to be depressed (there are many, many other reasons for that) as local comic Aaron Hertzog is here to defend our fair city.

In case you haven’t heard, Travel + Leisure magazine recently released their list of “America’s Favorite Cities.” Guess where Philly came in? If you said “I love this city, we probably came in right near the top,” you would be in the same boat as me. That ship is named “wrong.”

The survey, conducted by and CNN Headline News polled travelers and residents about different aspects of life in 25 U.S. cities. A grand fuss was made around the city over the fact that Philadelphia ranked dead last in the “Attractive People” category. Along with being the fug-a-bugs of the nation, Philly also ranked near the bottom in Stylish People, Athletic/active People, Safety, and Worldly People (among others.)

Now, I won’t comment on the attractiveness of the people in our city (for I only see inner beauty), but I can say that the people surveyed got at least one category horribly wrong.

Philadelphia is ranked 20th out of 25 in "Worldly People". I’m not quite sure I can accurately express my outrage.

How could they say we’re not “worldly?” In fact, I would say Philadelphians are some of the worldliest worldians in the whole world.

Don’t believe me? Let me convince you then. Look at a map of Philadelphia. Go ahead, dig one out, I’ll give you time. Look around, I bet you’ll find places like Germantown, the Italian Market, and Chinatown. Last time I checked, that’s three countries already. Three whole countries in one city, sounds pretty worldly to me, and this is just a start.

If three countries aren’t enough for you, just take a stroll down good old Ben Franklin Parkway. Ignore other pedestrians and keep your eyes up as you walk. See them flags? I got news for you; they’re not flags from here. You can tell they’re from other countries because they have goofy things on them like animals and squiggles. Tell me something, how would a resident of a city that’s not worldly know how to match up all those flags with the country that they’re from? Somebody from here had to do it; those people from other places don’t even speak English.

Speaking of language, did you know that Philadelphia isn’t even an American word? Yeah, I know, totally crazy right. Philadelphia is actually a Greek word meaning “cream cheese.” Delicious.

Above all this, I think there is something that Travel + Leisure is forgetting about. I seem to recall Philadelphia giving the world a nice little present. A present known as freedom. That’s right, four score and 151 years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. So suck on that. Without this city, they wouldn’t even have the freedom to write their little magazine without censorship from the Germans.

So the next time poll comes knocking on your door asking you what you think of the people and places in different cities remember these few things. One: squiggles on flags look silly, two: cream cheese, three: freedom, and four: Travel “plus” Leisure “equals” sorely mistaken.

Aaron will be appearing at Riots Comedy in Media, PA this Friday and you can check out an interview with comedian Pat Barker on his blog

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