As many recent listicles have hinted, the national perception of Philadelphia appears to be improving when it comes to our city’s amenities. Unfortunately, though, the perception of our residents may still be a problem.
Take, for example, Thrillist’s recent list of the “11 Angriest Cities in America, Ranked by Irrationality.” Philadelphia tops that list, beating out other vexed metropolises like New York City, Boston, and Washington, DC for the dubious honor.
Written by Kevin Alexander, a Boston native, and Chicago-based editor Matthew Lynch, the list ranks the chosen cities by their “irrational, often trivial anger-inducing behaviors.” You know, things like “general attitudes toward sports” or inhabitants’ reactions to “why the f— that guy on the street is looking at them.”
Here in Philadelphia, Thrillist’s Angriest City in America (TM), we were dinged for the usual: Throwing batteries at J.D. Drew, throwing snowballs at Santa Claus a hundred years ago, throwing up on an 11-year-old girl at a Phillies game in 2010, and, more recently, tossing bracelets on the ice during a Flyers tribute to the late Ed Snider. You’ve heard it all before.
We were also docked for our hoagiemouth accent, which “sounds like someone threw a chainsaw into a trash fire filled with gravel.” Add that to our “insecurity when comparing [ourselves] to NY” and street festivals that turn into “public urine and vomit competitions,” and you’ve entered Angriest City territory.
And given the anecdote the list uses to explain Philly, that might not be such a good idea:
“Well,” the guy said, smiling in a twisted way. “I’m from somewhere better than youseee.”
Despite recognizing that he was now an unwilling participant in a rhetorical set-up, Casey played along: "Where?"
“Philly,” our man said, in a challenging proud voice. His eyes had a little bit of crazy in them… He stood staring at Casey for a good 10 seconds, then flicked his cigarette at his feet and walked away.
Just then, the bouncer, who'd been watching this whole thing take place, let out a low whistle and spoke all of the truth.
"Man," he said. "In Philly, you just come out angry."
That last part is admittedly perhaps true. The list fails, however, to note that we are also home to the fifth least attractive populace in the United States, according to Travel + Leisure. So, in that sense, we're ugly and angry — an important distinction.
Despite those drawbacks when it comes to Philadelphia's residents, the city earlier this year was ranked the number one unexpected travel destination in the United States by Lonely Planet. Previously, the Washington Post named Philadelphia as one of the "10 Best Food Cities in America," and JLL noted the city's fast-growing millennial population.
So, in a way, its refreshing to see Philly pop up on a negative list here and there. If nothing else, it helps keep the riff-raff out.