Seattle has its fair share of problems. A looming budget deficit, a currently tense relationship between citizens and cops and a historically impotent baseball team, just to name a few. But for all its issues, the city should actually be thankful it doesn't have more of one thing that would, in most places, be considered an asset: sunlight.
A telling example concerns the waning days of World War II. Robert Irwin, destined to become a famous artist, was a 17-year-old classic car junkie who cruised around the streets of Los Angeles, frequenting drive-ins and hoping to coax cute girls into his backseat. Asked later in life where he was when he heard about the attack on Pearl Harbor, the bombing of Hiroshima, or the end of the war, he couldn't remember. He later reflected: "Look. Look at it here. Look at how it is: calm, sunny, the palm trees. What is there to get all fucking upset about?"Friedersdorf argues that, like Irwin, Californians are too easily distracted by the vistas of palm trees bathed in golden light to notice that their state is currently circling the drain. A "what me worry?" attitude in need of a healthy readjustment that only Mother Nature could provide.
Perhaps if the weather here were less perfect, we'd notice that local government is dysfunctional -- for example, it would fail to plow the snow-covered streets. And then people would pay attention. We'd spend less time playing and more time planning ahead, a skill sharpened elsewhere by generations spent confronting long winters.Hmmm. Unplowed snowy streets. Why does that sound familiar?
In all honesty, this weather-as-civic-personality-test idea is not a new one. And if Friedesdorf really thinks gray skies and freezing temperatures are enough to rid a city of corruption, he's obviously never been to Cleveland.
But hey, the leaves are turning and the days are getting shorter. With winter fast approaching us Seattleites are going to need a good reminder for why we remain here and not in the warmer climes to the south. This'll do in a pinch.