The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Monday, July 24, 2006  

Getting it Wrong at Knight-Ridder McClatchy

Dan Rubin of the Philadelphia Inquirer, who blogs at Blinq, had a good catch with a post earlier today, "Not a Hipster in Sight," which turned into a well-deserved rag on the (non-union -- Hiss!) McClatchy Newspaper company.

McClatchy, it turns out, sent a reporter, one John Bordsen, to Philadelphia to write an article about the upcoming sequel in the Rocky series -- Haven't seen a single one of them myself, by the way. -- without benefit of even a decent map.

Mr. Bordsen's piece is laughable. My favorite bit is this one:

Friday morning in downtown Philadelphia, and suits with cell phones clog the 17th Street subway station.

I'm not sure (nor was Mr. Rubin) what line, if any, Bordsen was riding that allowed him to begin his journey at 17th Street, as neither the Market-Frankford line nor the Broad Street subway has a stop or a station at that location. Nor, even, do the trolleys, also known here as the "subway-surface lines," stop there, what with the system's gap between 15th and 19th Streets.

More humorous though, is Bordsen's remark about "suits with cell phones." This guy was riding an entirely and completely different train than I ride two or three times daily. Suits? On the El? I'm about as close as you get to a "suit" on the El, and that's only because I wear a starched shirt every day. More commonly seen: Too-long denim shorts and pockmarked tank tops in bizarre florescent shades, paired with knee-high tube socks and ten-dollar-a-pair "athletic shoes," polished white. And then there are the men.

I liked this one, too:

The raised and sleek downtown is behind you; below are tar-topped roofs of increasingly desperate neighborhoods.

Yo, buddy, wait a second. "Increasingly desperate"? That's my neighborhood you traversed when your train cruised through the Berks station. Haven't you heard Fishtown is the "up and coming" neighborhood in Philadelphia? There are a lot of artists moving into the area! Or so they tell me. Frankly, though, all I see are hipsters with hobbies. Hipsters with hobbies and plenty of pretense. And so, with that in mind, I will forgive you.

Rubin rightly takes Bordsen to task for calling the Huntingdon station "Huntington," but lets the reporter slide for leaving the train at "Dauphin Street," when he really meant York-Dauphin, but that's just me picking a nit or two.

Worst of all, after I finished reading Bordsen's article, it wasn't entirely clear to me whether the reporter understood that while the Rocky films used this city's Kensington neighborhood as a backdrop, that the majority of the story occurred, in that oh-so-fictional way, in South Philadelphia.

Bordsen did get one very important thing right. In the notes at the end of the article, under the heading, "If You Go," he wrote: "If you go, go during the day."

I couldn't have said it better myself.

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