Monday, May 11, 2009

New York Times on Boise: "Beefy men in chamois shirts" and a microcosm of the U.S. economy

Holy shit I can't stop laughing.

Read this article the New York Times just published on Boise. It's a pretty interesting piece, actually, about the city being a possible indicator of where the national economy is going.

But I can't get over this line:

"Beefy men in chamois shirts debate fishing tackle over steins of beer, while others with goatees and pierced lips sip chai lattes and discuss herbal medicine."

It's the sort of fictionalized generalization, a strain to add colorful context, that's typical of a writer who spends a day-and-a-half in a city and needs to come off like an expert to his editors and readers. I'm guessing writer Peter S. Goodman had at least part of that sentence written before his plane touched the ground at Boise Airport. 

(If you want to knock Goodman down a few pegs, send him an e-mail and make fun of his Phil Collins hairdo and aging-hipster-turd fashion sense. Seriously, this dude is a walking Men's Wearhouse cliche. I guarantee it.)

C'mon! Do you think Goodman actually witnessed those scenes and heard those conversations? Okay, he probably did see some "beefy men in chamois shirts" (God, this still has me rolling) and pierced people walking around Downtown Boise, but I seriously doubt he overheard that dialogue. And who the hell serves beer in a stein anymore? Did the Vikings just invade Boise? What year is this, 1581? It's stereotypical to the point of absurdity.

Of course, it's the sort of pseudo-bumpkin portrait people in big cities love to read about places like Boise they've never visited. It feeds their superiority complex and reaffirms their belief that every non-coastal city with the exception of Chicago is filled with rubes and rejects.

Or "beefy men in chamois shirts." I just laughed so hard I shot chai latte out my pierced nose.


  1. Amen, Chad! Hilarious post...especially about the steins. Good point. I thought something similar when I read that line, but I couldn't put it into words as well as you did. You know, you should write for a living. Er, wait...

    - Joe Jaz

  2. Someone needs to punch Goodman in the dick for that. I'd bet a thousand dollars that if you went to his apartment in Brooklyn today, Moby would be in his CD changer.

  3. Fat guys drinking beer and talking fishing are all over this town, especially once you leave the rarefied atmosphere of the downtown pubs and go out on State Street. The only non sequitur is the reference to steins of beer.