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Wednesday, December 6, 2006

I’m Gonna Be Metrosick

posted by on December 6 at 11:30 AM

It’s no secret that I hate Seattle Metropolitan magazine. It’s less clear exactly why I feel the need to read through it every single month. Is it the smug house style of the writing? The relentlessly stupid cheerleading of all the wrong parts of Seattle culture? The way that a reader can’t tell an ad from a feature? The cutesy headlines that make me believe that the editorial staff is a bunch of freshly-groomed poodles? (“Hey, there, girls, I’ve got a story about a guy who’s making a fancy espresso machine: should we call it Grounds Hero?” “Arf!” “Are you sure? Because that actually makes me think of Ground Zero, like, September Eleventh, and plus it’s a really stupid headline.” “Arf! Arf!” “Well, all right…”) Am I fascinated by Seattle Metropolitan’s Barbarella-like pandering desire to shoot for the lowest common denominator and miss…every single time?
I’ve been trying to not post about the Met, though, in hopes that it would go away faster. But this issue has an egregiously bad blurbicle. Met doesn’t have their content online, so I’m going to have to quote pretty liberally here: the blurbicle is titled “we told ya” and sub-titled “Seattle Metropolitan proves prophetic.”
It begins with this:

It feels great to be ahead of the curve. It took Seattle’s Convention and Visitors Bureau $200,000 and 16 months to discover what everyone at this publication has known since we unveiled last March: metro is in. Yes, metronatural, the Bureau’s recently announced “destination brand position:—grand-dad used to call them “slogans”—will surely attract tourists to our “uniquely marketable combination of urban and outdoor experiences.” But it’s just the way we talk around here. In fact it’s what we metronaturally do: Promote our uniquely marketable city.

And there’s more. the body of the blurbicle contains references to Cheif Sealth as “our metro-Native American progenitor” and talks about how Pioneer Square used to be full of “prospectors and barroom gals doing the metronasty.” Seattle’s home to “people of every metronationality.” Also, it refers to how Seattleites are “funky,” which is just wrong, even without a metro stuck on it, and as an example of our funkiness it refers to Fremont, “home of the metrognome.” And if you “come down with metronatriuresis” you can go to a “metronaturapath” to be cured. It closes like this:

But enough. We and the Bureau just ask that this holiday season you take a moment to appreciate everything Seattle offers, whether you’re spinning the metrodreidle or setting up your metro-Nativity and listening to metro-Nat King Cole sing about chestnuts roasting on an open fire. And will Seattle Metropolitan continue to do its part in the New Year? You metro-bottom dollar we will.

Besides the obvious fact that they’re pretending that one of the worst slogans this city full of bad slogans* has ever come up with is a great slogan that will somehow convince tourists to come and visit our city, they’re also apparently pushing to make metro- the new smurf-. What I’m wondering is: how do you write this blurbicle and not immediately want to kill yourself?

* Going entirely from memory, here, I seem to recall that a slogan for the Mariners was: "You Gotta Love These Guys!" And also, a slogan for the Pike Place Market was: "I Love This Place!" and Seattle Center's was once "What a Great Place!" So, clearly, Seattle's fucked in terms of slogans no matter how you look at it. It could be argued that at least "Metronatural" is one horrible word, not one horrible sentence.

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Okay, maybe it's just the examples you've cited (I'm certainly not going to shell out $$ to buy the rag, although I might take a quick peek next time I'm at the grocery store), but it sounds to me like the blurber may actually be poking a bit of fun at the slogan; injecting a bit of satire into the piece, what with all the "bat(item)" repetitions of the word "metro".

OTOH, I wouldn't discount the notion that the people who put this waste of trees together on a monthly basis are completely devoid of any satirical instincts, either.

Posted by COMTE | December 6, 2006 11:50 AM

What the case may be, Paul's call to make "metro-" the new "Smurf-" must be heeded.

Posted by David Schmader | December 6, 2006 11:52 AM

WHATEVER the case may be. I'm metrotarded.

Posted by David Schmader | December 6, 2006 11:54 AM

Sorry ,I'd like to finish your article but I've got to catch the metro bus.
drum roll please....

Posted by sputnik | December 6, 2006 11:54 AM

I'm metronausiated. I think I metroregurgitated...just a little, reading about this.

Posted by B.D. | December 6, 2006 11:59 AM

Isn't "metronatural" a new fragrance of the makers of Massengill?

Posted by B.D. | December 6, 2006 12:02 PM

Comte, I honestly don't think that Seattle Metropolitan institutionally understands what satire is. It's possible that a writer might have been able to get some satire past an editor (Arf! Arf!), but this blurbicle reads like it CAME FROM editorial, like they were in the offices when "Metronatural" was announced and then they all high-fived and pumped their fists and shouted "YESSSSS! They're LISTENING!"
If it is satire, I owe somebody a metropat on the metroback, instead of a metro(x) right in the metro(y).

Posted by Paul Constant | December 6, 2006 12:09 PM

We have a similar problem-magazine in SF, called "7x7." It's full of photos of grinning rich idiots, whose names are all bolded in the captions as if anyone knows who they are. I've always half-suspected that 7x7 was a very long-running deadpan joke, intended to trick the idle rich into revealing their own vacuousness. Maybe the same is true with your Seattle Metpamphlet?

Posted by Mattymatt | December 6, 2006 12:12 PM

Wait: was "Grounds Hero" a real headline in Seattle Metropolitan?

Posted by Dan Savage | December 6, 2006 12:17 PM

"Grounds Hero" is on page 46. The subhead is "an espresso-machine maker reignites Seattle's claim to coffee fame."
I'm thinking that this is the reason why they're not online.

Posted by Paul Constant | December 6, 2006 12:28 PM

Ah, the kvelling at Seattle Metropolitan begins. I like "metronatural" as much as I like "the West Edge"--why not the Market District?--but whingeing on about this sort of editorial matter in a rival magazine reveals only one thing: the writer's own insecurity. And as advocate of advocacy journalism--or is it performative journalism?--the Stranger really can't criticize self- and city-promoting journalism. For that matter, the Stranger has done quite enough work in trying to convince Seattle it is metropolitan, so ... are we jealous?

Posted by RobCrowe | December 6, 2006 12:50 PM

Ah, obviously Mercury is in metrograde if that's the kind of incisive wit they can manage at SeaMet

Posted by Chris B | December 6, 2006 12:59 PM

I hate, hate, HATE Seattle smarminess, especially as represented by crap like "Seattle Metropolitan" or the P-I's "New Homes Saturday" supplement.

It's really the worst kind of smarminess, and everytime I read stuff like that I feel like moving back to Iowa. In Iowa, they're corny (if you'll pardon the pun), but they're hardly ever smarmy. That's because there's really nothing there to be smarmy about, thus all the smarmy-prone writers live elsewhere.

And, for the record, our prostitutes were prostitutes, and not "Barroom Gals". They were businesswomen who performed a valuable function in a region short of women, and helped keep us for going out of business when Henry Yesler and the Northern Pacific RR tried to kill the town. You may not approve of what they did, but don't insult their memory by reducing them to the level of Miss Kitty on "Gunsmoke"

So There.

Posted by catalina vel-duray | December 6, 2006 1:05 PM

I'm about to suffer metroemesis. Someone get a metrobucket.

Posted by Geni | December 6, 2006 1:05 PM

Thanks. I hadn't tasted a bit of my own vomitous bile since, well, Saturday night I guess. But still. BBBLLLLEEECCHHH!!!

Posted by him | December 6, 2006 2:49 PM

Waiting for the piece on women discovering a new zest for life as they enter metropause.

Posted by Paulus | December 6, 2006 3:48 PM

All I want to know is this: is "You metro-bottom dollar we will" a sentence?

Posted by fixo | December 6, 2006 4:24 PM

They're really stretching it on that one, Fixo. "Metro" stands in for "bet your". Look for a story on self defense titled "Metro Hands Off Me!" Or a piece about people who keep snakes as companions called "My Metro-a Constrictor".

Posted by Zappa | December 6, 2006 4:53 PM

o. i c. Thanks Zappa.

Posted by fixo | December 6, 2006 6:38 PM

Dag, I have a copy at my apartment! I'll give it a peruse tomorrow morning while I'm droppin' a metro-deuce.

Posted by Lloyd Clydesdale | December 6, 2006 8:58 PM

I don't think one could. Somewhere, moments after submitting it, the author of this article tried to end it all.

Confidential to dentists, doctors, etc: your patients deserve better than Seattle, People, and Newsweek in waiting rooms, and those choices reflect on your practice. Go to a newsstand and pick a couple eclectic subjects.

Posted by Taco | December 7, 2006 8:27 PM

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