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November  30

'Terminally Unhip' ... and Coyotes, Too!

Sometimes the news, Barista-style, just writes itself. If we hadn't been grabbed by the opening of this Boston Globe column,

I don't like to reveal that I live in Newton because it is so terminally unhip. It could be worse; I might live in some white-bread hell like Wayland, or Glen Ridge, N.J.

we surely would have perked up at the reference to suburban coyotes.

There is a small section of Newton called Waban. If Newton is like the Cote d'Azur, Waban resembles the Principality of Monaco: a tiny enclave of unimaginable wealth. Waban borders on precious "open space" -- you know, the kind of land rich people are always anxious to preserve, especially when it abuts their own homes. And guess who's moved in? Coyotes!

And they're desperate to get rid of them.

Wait! Coyotes? This is ringing a bell. It wasn't so long ago that Pat Kenschaft was telling us that coyotes would be good for Montclair because they'd bring the deer population down. Or maybe not.

And Glen Ridge terminally unhip? We beg your pardon. Do they serve sushi in the high school cafeteria in Newton?

November 30, 2004 in Really Freaking Weird | Permalink


Ouch. Not sure why he's singling us out, I would think a place like Darien would more properly engender whatever emotion he was seeking in his readers.

But, really, I have to admit to being unhip. In this country, following the latest styles means emulating your kids and, having watched the babyboomers make fools of themselves for twenty years doing just that, I am happy to enjoy myself with the tried-and-true. Bourbon, the Blues, modern Art, Levis, etc. I really don't think that being hip (apple martinis, hip hop, slam poetry, baggy low riding jeans) would be much fun.

In fact, I think the Boston Globe writer confuses hipness with something else, not sure what. He seems to think that Cambridge is hip... maybe in the 60s when Gregory Corso was living on the streets there, but intellectualism hasn't been hip since the heyday of the New Yorker, some 50 years ago. I doubt it was even then.

Posted by: Lex | Nov 30, 2004 11:20:42 AM

There was an article about this in the NY Times recently, about how NYC rapidly becoming unhip, according to the young people who were interviewed. The bottom line is that it's not hip to work at being hip.

Posted by: Miss Martta | Nov 30, 2004 12:03:56 PM

Newton cannot be all that unhip, given that for many years it was the home of Robert Welch, candy maker and founder of the John Birch Society. Perhaps it's not as cool a place to reside as nearby Lynn (as in the rhyme about the "city of sin"), but I'm sure it's fine. Still, one has to wonder why the columnist singled out Glen Ridge. There's something unnecessarily nasty, even if one happens to live in Newton as the columnist does, about singling out any town as being "white bread." Who cares, you know? Glen Ridge looks like a basically nice place in which to live. And coyotes, rascally (and somewhat admirable) scavengers that they are, don't care where they scavenge or you live. Which the columnist might do well to bear in mind should he ever be hiking in that open space near the Waban section while packing a lunch.

Posted by: cathar | Nov 30, 2004 4:05:30 PM

Making fun of NJ as a suburban wasteland really dates the author. Now if he had said, Arvada, Colorado, then he would reveal himself as having actually left the Boston area in the past 20 years...

It's a cliche, and people who get paid to write op-ed columns should...um...work a little harder? Get edited? Geez, ya think the guy was writing for a blog :) -- that piece has the linty aura of pajama-clad writing all over it.

I actually live in Watertown, MA, which borders Newton -- which both border Boston. By the standards of newly-built edge cities in the southwest and mountain west, they're pretty hip. Newton is home to an "alternative puppet theater," for goshsakes, what's the guy complaining about? Actually, maybe that's Brookline Village, right across the town line.

The kind of "LA and Manhattan are hip and NJ and suburbs are not" has been done, and is pretty old and creaky if you actually travel around the US at all. Like complaining about Wal-Mart, it's the fast food of op-editry, cheap, filling,uniform. As my dear sainted father used to say, an unchanged mind is like unchanged underwear.

Posted by: Lisa Williams | Nov 30, 2004 6:21:59 PM

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