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Seattle’s Not So Smart

I was surprised to read this Time piece proclaiming the smartest cities in America; Washington DC, San Francisco, San Jose, Raleigh NC, and Boston. I figured it must be a typo by the author. Surely, they mean Washington state and not D.C. But, a closer examination resulted in a disappointing confirmation. Yes, Seattle was somehow omitted from this list. This strikes me as odd, since I believe that most Seattlites hold intellectualism as an aspiring superiority over any other trait. 

I make this broad ignorant assumption based upon my first day on the metro bus. I sat down next to a slight looking fellow, who was reading a disproportionately hefty book. The title? How To Be An Intellectual Giant. Apparently there’s a “how to” guide for that.

I’m posting this in an effort of sowing humility. We’re not the smartest city. We’re not the most bike friendly. We’re not even the greenest.

We are pretty near tops in terms of literacy. Which is interesting isn’t it? We must be somewhat low on reading comprehension to rank so poorly in the scientifically derived “smartest city” list? We’re also supreme on the list of fittest cities. So, doctorate degrees aside Boston, we’ll still come at you like a howler monkey  if you so much as give us a slight look of arrogance while we read our books detailing the rise of intellectual giants.

What we do have is some of the world’s best innovators. History has shown that world altering ideas regularly percolate from this small mossy corner of the earth. But, these ideas only make waves when we actually do something. We’re going to have to get scrappy to get things done. We’re stuck in a culture of intellectual fascination and unfortunately we’re not even very good at it. Instead of relying on our cultural strengths of proposing brilliant solutions to universal problems, we’re lambasting ourselves in a wasteful exercise of futility. It’s time to move forward and get things done.


3 Comments on "Seattle’s Not So Smart"

  1. globalgorrilla | October 1, 2010 at 12:26 pm |

    1) Light rail

  2. I think it’s time to think of “new” ideas and forms of public transportation. Like, what about using our engineering strength to come up with a short range electric car grid that functions like mini-zip cars that provides the autonomy of a car, the utility of public transportation, and the sustainability that Seattle demands?

  3. Amen!

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