Like a jet leaving vapor trails of irony, my recent column, “12 uncool things about Boise” (May 6, Scene), flew predictably over the heads of a segment of stony-faced Idahoans.
Crafted as a response to out-of-state media praise about Boise (including the Seattle Times article on page 6D), the tongue-in-cheek diatribe was flypaper for the hopelessly humorless.
This was a “giant turd of a column” from “Boise’s most lame citizen” a KTVB Channel 7 employee tweeted, obviously undeterred by my mention that my mother was in town visiting. (Help me out, Mark and Dee?)
“This guy (is) a massive d*****bag,” spat a Reddit bully.
“What a load of horse s***,” fumed another Twitter user before chastising my employer: “When are you going to can the worst writer on your staff?”
Needless to say, I’ve fallen asleep grinning for a week straight.
But I was more inspired by the flood of positive comments, emails and calls. Plenty of Idahoans expressed appreciation for the column’s underlying theme: That Boise is one-of-a-kind and we’re blessed to live here, but that it’s also a hoot to poke fun at ourselves — particularly if it keeps more of those godawful Californians and Nebraskans from invading.
The coolest thing about Boise, I’ve discovered? Its residents’ proud yet gracious spirit.
“Great read! Your sense of humor almost makes up for your poor taste in music.:-),” tweeted a local salon.
Ha-ha! Shear comedy.
“You’ve got balls!” a self-proclaimed “Idaho girl” told me via email. “Regardless if they are blue or red.:-)”
Other Boiseans expressed concern.
“I think you have poked a stick into a snake den with your comment on dogs being everywhere,” warned one emailer. “Best of luck. I got into trouble once by criticizing the guy who would take shelter dogs out for hamburgers at local restaurant patios.”
Many helpful readers offered their own “uncool Boise” observations.
“You should add BoDo to that,” a voice mailer suggested. “Since they named that BoDo, I haven’t been Downtown and spent any money. Just wanted to let you know. Thanks.”
“Boise has horrible candy stores,” a reader wrote on Facebook, where a pile of uncool Boise enlightenment quickly piled high.
“Everything closes at 10 on Sunday.”
“Boise has a horrible ‘lighting ceremony’ downtown during the holidays. Also there is only marathon after marathon that goes on downtown!”
“You forgot how to decide which way is east or west, north or south, at least until sunset, which helps. There are no landmarks.”
Naturally, politics crept into the online discussion, too.
“Sunbathing on the Greenbelt deserves more mention than Idaho’s rights issues?”
“No comment on the state’s lack of diversity? I’ve never lived anywhere more homogeneous.”
“Are people forgetting the fact that you can still be fired in Idaho for being gay? That there have been mosques defaced in the past few months?”
“#13 The liberal infection.”
“California Tea Party and militia wackos.”
“Missed the ‘three months that the Idaho legislature is in session in Boise.’ ”
“Don’t like Boise???? Here’s the door.”
A complimentary emailer claiming to live near “terminally uncool Rexburg” was mystified by the column’s accompanying photo, taken at the annual Idaho Potato Drop in Downtown Boise: “At first glance, I took it to be a turd,” he wrote me. “At second thought with a closer look, it appeared to be a mottled colored penis. Then I read the caption. No wonder I flunked the Rorschach tests.”
Admit it, Boise: That photo was perfect.
Meanwhile, a hooked-on-Idaho-phonics debate raged on Twitter — the silly one about the merits of correctly pronouncing “Boy-see.” My column’s stance was that it’s uncool that we fuss over it. But an Idaho Press-Tribune editor tweeted, “It’s how we weed out the unworthy, like people who pronounce Moscow incorrectly.”
Interesting. But Nampa telling us how to say “Boise”? Come on.
Several online commenters suggested adding my name to the list, creating a perfect baker’s dozen of “12 uncool things about Boise.” We can’t give them much credit, though, since I offered that idea myself.
That said, I’m willing to give props to a “Deeds sucks” tweet for its succinctness.
I also need to acknowledge a milestone: This is the first time I’m aware of readers deeming a column as both the high and low point of my career.
“This is the best Michael Deeds column ever. I’m still snickering.”
“This one is by far his worst.”
“Ha-ha this is my favorite article I’ve read from you. It’s always gold but this is the best.” (Hey, is that you, Mom?)
If that kind of spirited disagreement doesn’t make us cool, Boise, I don’t know what does.