by Kyle Swenson
Here we go again. We all know the drill, so let’s get this over with quickly: Outsiders put together list on worst cities in America; pick Cleveland; never been here.
This time around the culprit is WalletPop, whatever that is. The Web site, which is some kind of AOL-affiliated consumer finance site in pressing need of a design upgrade (come on, WalletPop, how can we take you seriously when you have oceans of negative space all over that sucker!), has nailed Cleveland to the #2 spot of its “10 Worst Places to Live” list.
This one’s got all the hallmarks of a Worst Place list: The uninspired lead (“You don't need the U.S. Misery Index to tell you that things are bad in the U.S.”); the routine criteria (“unemployment rates, health data, the number of foreclosures, crime statistics, climate and other measures of misery”) and, our favorite, that necessary reminder for readers that the list is “unofficial” and “far from comprehensive,” just in case you thought otherwise. We’ll keep that in mind, WalletPop.
Anyway, WalletPop says you live in a horrible place, and you can probably guess why. The write-up mentions the population decline, the weather, unemployment, and Cuyahoga County corruption among its reasons, all of which makes us say, well . . . yeah . . . touché . . .
Cleveland shares the podium with El Centro, California and Detroit, at #1 and #3, respectively. The rest of the top 10 is filled out with the usual big city suspects (Los Angeles, Las Vegas) and small-time strugglers (Newark, Memphis).
At this point, Cleveland’s taken so much abuse from the hands of bored bloggers and the content-desperate that it’s no surprise we’re a contender for such a top slot. Seriously, this always come across as a tried stab at page views, rustling up a readership by shitting on entire cities with a single post. There must be a How-To out there on the internets for piecing together one of these hit-factories: Take one Los Angeles, add a Cleveland, a Detroit, and a Memphis, sprinkle in a few other surprises, and shake. So by now we’re okay with being roped in with this ugly crowd. But #2? WalletPop, have you ever been to Detroit?
Don’t worry Cleveland, we have a feeling our dignity has not been impugned before the masses. Yes, the article did land on WalletPop’s “Hot Topics” list, but only in third spot, after “Taco Bell Salmonella” and the site’s “hottest” topic of conversation: “Bernie Mac’s Widow Sues.”