The New York Times is a fancy pants east coast old money rag run by a bunch of old out of touch people who are always complaining about "millenials" which is the same as "the kids these days". The New York Times writes baffling, out-of-touch articles about Oakland. What's their deal? Once every six months somebody at the NYT must be like "I wonder what's going on in Oakland?" for some reason and then they write one of their clueless articles.
This is the template that NYT stories about Oakland follow:
Oakland - have you heard of it?
It's that place that we all think of as totally crappy near San Francisco.
But hey guess what, apparently it's not all awful.
Here are some things about it that are cool:
- fancy shops
- fancy galleries
- other things to spend money on
- the Lake
- the weather
- how houses can be bought for really cheap
These are all totally new. Oakland used to be trash, but now it's kind of less trash because there are more expensive things to buy and expensive things to go to.
What is surprising, or maybe not, is how many residents of Oakland read the New York Times articles about Oakland and then write and talk about it as if it's gospel. This includes Mayor Jean Quan. Seems like these Oakland residents, including the Mayor, don't really know anything about what is going on around them. But is this because people want external validation? Or maybe it's just your standard boosterism.
Sometimes though, they write about Oakland stuff and link to Oakland Wiki, so that's cool.
They've been at this for quite a while: in 1990, the Times published a travel article titled "The Other City by the Bay." Written by John Krich, of Bump City fame, this portrayal is not as clueless as the recent NYT fare and describes "a nuts-and-bolts kind of town, oozing with the character that stems from doing the dirty work that keeps its narcissistic rival in satins and lace." Though some of the attractions mentioned have been lost forever (Festival at the Lake, the old Housewive's Market, Holmes' Book Company), it's also quite remarkable how many of Oakland's essential qualities persist, almost twenty-five years later. It's too bad that the current crop of NYT stories are so tone deaf and focus on the current flash and fads, missing out completely on what really makes Oakland special. As Krich puts it in closing, "The rewards of such a place are greater when you have to put in a little work. And this is a place that beckons us to try harder and look deeper. The thereness is there for all who seek it."
Worst NYT stories written about Oakland:
- 2012-08-01: "Oakland, the Last Refuge of Radical America"
- 2012-01-06: "The 45 Places to Go in 2012."
- 2013-12-25: "Another City by the Bay Comes Into Its Own"
- 2014-04-25: "Street Style in Oakland, California."
- 2014-05-02: "Oakland: Brooklyn by the Bay" New York Times. Title says it all.
By contrast, if you're interested in learning more about Oakland, you can browse this here wiki, check out #oakland on twitter, or dear god, you could even visit Oakland yourself. AND if you don't find some cool stuff about Oakland documented on the wiki, you should add it!