I’ve had a lot of fun at the expense of my former hometown over the past few days — and the response has truly astonished me. So kick back for a few minutes and listen to this mix while I disclose a few final factoids.
You’re hearing a dozen of my favorite songs from or about the Circle City. Perhaps surprisingly, only a couple of them actually make fun of Indianapolis.
It might be noted that I haven’t mentioned the Indy music scene in my rantings. There’s a reason for that, and it’s because I’m actually a huge fan of Musical Family Tree, which is one of the best music/community sites on the web.
And — oh yes — it is based in Indianapolis. Indie rock (no pun intended) from that city is a sort of touchstone for the site, but it branches out from there. Way out. You’ll find music from diverse genres and from as far away as Japan, but all interconnected in one beautiful web of mutual complicity.
If all this seems unexpected in light of what I’ve been putting out recently, consider this photo (and caption) which I posted way back in July of 2005.
It’s like Indianapolis has turned into the Venice of the Midwest!
Yes, I’ve been dogging on Indy pretty hard over the last few days. Hopefully by spiraling into absurdity I made my intentions clear to even the most irony-impaired Hoosiers. What I said earlier this week is true: I love Indianapolis. Not because it’s a paragon of, well, anything, but because I haven’t got room for hate in this old heart of mine. Indianapolis is where I grew up, and I will always have a soft spot for it.
But it definitely helps to have an 800-mile buffer zone.
New Orleans is in many ways the polar opposite of Indy. I knew nothing of New Orleans as I grew up in Indiana, and it remained a complete cultural blind spot until I moved here ten years ago. The strange thing was that I felt at home here immediately. I’ve come to love New Orleans, not unreservedly, but in spite of her flaws — “warts and all,” one might say.
Which, by the way, is also how I love Indianapolis. Warts and all, and at a distance.
When I returned for that visit in 2005 I was mighty impressed by how much downtown Indy had changed. It really is not what I remembered growing up there in the 80s.
I just thought it would be a good idea to say this now, in advance of the big game. If I’d waited until after the Saints victory, people might have thought I was saying these things out of pity for the Colts fans. Not at all. I speak not out of pity, but because I love the truth. It’s the same love of truth which motivated me to compile all those very factual facts about Indianapolis.
Speaking of which, did you know Indianapolis recently made number eight on a list of top cities to visit in the state of Indiana? (Hat tip to Howie for that one.)
This just in: It appears I’m the subject of an article in the Sunday Herald-Times. That’s the daily rag in Bloomington, Indiana. Feature columnist Mike Leonard was apparently pushed over the edge by my goodhearted razzing. The full column is behind a paywall, but my sources have supplied me with the text. Leonard tries to explain away my invective based on the fact that I grew up in a suburb on the south side of Indy:
And when you grow up in a place like Greenwood, it’s easy to see the worst in Indy-A-No-Place. Of all of the cities and towns in Indiana that begin with “Green,” Greenwood clearly offers the bleakest, strip-mall-and-vinyl-village perspective of all.