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Feb 17

Addressing Vanity Fair

Vanity Fair has a recent article out that, quite frankly, angers me. I’ve always read – and loved – Vanity Fair. I loved everything from the ads to the articles. But I can’t explain how angry I was when I read the latest article from writer A.A. Gill.

Image from David Paul Ohmer, via Creative Commons

Read it. If you live in Cincinnati, tell me you weren’t angered by the time you got to paragraph 2. Or here – let me help:

It’s not in the nature of stoic Cincinnatians to boast, which is fortunate, really, for they have meager pickings to boast about. They could, though, if they were the bragging sort, brag about a quaint old optician’s shop that will make you a new pair of spectacles in an hour—by chance I am both shortsighted and had an hour to spare. As the nice lady gave my new lenses a polish, I asked her if she thought the eye was such a complicated and mysterious structure that it could have been created only in one inspired, farsighted moment by God and not by the blind trial and error of natural selection. “That kind of makes sense,” she smiled. But then, Galileo invented a refracting telescope and the church locked him up for pointing out that, as he learned by observing the rest of the solar system, the earth isn’t the center of the universe. Do you think that glasses might be the work of the Devil? She smiled again. “Would you like a hard or a soft case with that, sir?”

Here’s the thing. I really don’t take issue with his attitude towards the Creation Museum. I don’t agree with the place and, in truth, am a little embarrassed that it’s so close to our fair city (and my house, for that matter). But for the writer to take unwarranted pot shots at our city? Please.

From what I read in the article, my guess is that Mr. Gill got off his flight at CVG and never left Hebron. Now, Hebron is a nice little place (members of my family live there), but it’s small, albeit growing. It is not, in any way, an impressive metropolis. It’s a suburb. From there, Mr. Gill obviously drove out to Petersburg to see that museum, and that was the extent of his trip to Cincinnati.

Does he not realize that we are a gateway for all sorts of large companies, including Toyota and, of course, Procter & Gamble? That we host a tennis tournament every year? (A line from the article: Here in Nowheresville, Kentucky, tennis is considered a game for Europeans and other sexual deviants. I can’t imagine what they think of English actors.) Does he know we have award-winning chefs and bring in top-notch shows every year? We are not Nowheresville. In fact, Cincinnati has done nothing but grow and grow – expanding over the river into Northern Kentucky and north to Mason and West Chester at a rapid rate. If people weren’t coming here, we wouldn’t be growing, so obviously there is something here to like.

Katy said it best over on her blog, with a brilliant retort of a blog post. But I just wanted to mention that I love this city – I write about the wine that is available in this city and the events in this city for winos like myself. With all that, I’m still ranked 10th on the list of Top 100 wine blogs. 10th. I guess there are a lot of people out there, both in our city and out, who want to read my regionally focused wine blog. In the process, they’re learning all about Cincinnati, and Mr. Gill, they don’t seem to mind. In fact, they keep coming back for more.

Personally, I’d love to have Mr. Gill come back and enjoy his time in the Queen City, much like the New York Times did last year. I think we might surprise him.

Want to share your thoughts with Vanity Fair? letters@vf.com

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Posted by Michelle at 2:53 pm in Cincinnati | Permalink | Comments (4)

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