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Washington Post writes two stories about South Boston and its parade, then smushes them together

The longer Post story is a decent overview of the events leading up to OutVets getting to march in next weekend's St. Patrick's parade.

The shorter story, which got smashed onto the top of that account, is a stereotypical outsider's movie-tinged view of Boston that makes it sound like the entire city of Boston somehow shares in the blame for a small group of bigots (some not even from Boston) who still think it's 1965.

The story begins:

To understand a gay veteran group’s fight to be included in Boston’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, one must understand the parade itself, an inextricable part of the city’s culture and history.

It piles on:

The route famously winds through South Boston, a historically blue-collar, Irish American, conservative neighborhood; if the parade is the backbone of Boston, then “Southie” is at its beating heart.

However, for almost as long as anyone can remember, the parade has become infamous for what it did not include: Gay and lesbian groups had been shut out from marching for decades ...

No, Washington Post, the South Boston parade is not "an inextricable part of the city's culture and history," it is not "the backbone of Boston" and the "Southie" it represents is far, far away from Boston's beating heart or, as the week's events have shown us, from the actual Southie itself.

As anybody who has ever attended the Dorchester Day Parade, where DotOut, Caribbean dancers and Vietnam veterans in ARVN uniforms (being actually from Vietnam), can tell you, most of Boston had long ago moved past the mule-headed bigotry displayed on an annual basis by many members of the Allied War Veterans Council, so it's kind of unfair to make it sound like we hadn't or that people living on the other side of Fort Point Channel or I-93 were somehow equally at fault.

Also, and this is a more minor point, but, no, WaPo, Starbucks didn't win the fight to open its first outlet in South Boston last year. There were already several Starbucks outlets in South Boston. What it won was the right to open its first outlet in the City Point half of South Boston. It's an important distinction, at least locally, because that's now what's left of "old" South Boston, as opposed to the yuppie-infused condo-tower area along the waterfront and West Broadway.

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Comments

In addition to Adam's notes, I'm trying to decide which paragraph from the story is the worst writing. Here are my nominees;

It is simultaneously Mardi Gras, a Super Bowl tailgate, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and, yet, an intimate block party all in one. There are kilts, bagpipes, beer and so, so much green.

if the parade is the backbone of Boston, then “Southie” is at its beating heart.

South Boston evolved slowly. The state made same-sex marriage legal in 2004. The horrific Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 deeply affected the city.

The "reporter" may want to back away from the Matt Damon movies.

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We wooden ah had no foggin bawmin, dood.

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The last thing we need is a Mark Wahlberg movie about the St Patricks Day parade.

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Mahky Mahk saves St. Paddy's Day.

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Excellent take down of a sub-par effort by a top US daily.

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Adorable.

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"How do you like them apples"

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Watching the parade my whole life from my East Broadway home for the last 40+ years has been interesting. As a young boy I looked forward to the cheezy souvenirs, silly string and snaps sold by corner vendors. As I got older it was an excuse to drink with friends in public. Now I tolerate the drinkers, public urination and hassles. Happy St. Patrick's Day to all!

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Local websites like UHub pile on to the "stereotypical outsider's movie-tinged view of Boston." Keep up the good work Adam, keep fanning the flames.

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PREACH.

That article was garbage, ugh. Your rebuttal gave me warm righteous fuzzies, tho.

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Today's Globe had an equally presumptuous report on this recurrent theme.

http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2017/03/11/most-relieved-see-bad-old-so...

The real story is, once again, that certain writers, commentators, journalists (often transplants from New York, California or even abroad) feel that they already know the city perfectly, have become 'Bostonian' themselves and can report authoritatively on any subject relating to the Boston of 'Hahvahd Yahd' and baked beans.

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Don't tell me that I don't know what I'm talking about.

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The name of this website is a perfect example of an outsiders point of view. No one from Boston calls it the Hub. An outsider would see it as perfectly acceptable to put it in their website name. We don't need New Yorkers standing up for Beantown (again another term no from Boston uses) and us Massholes (I'm laying it on thick here).

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Oh, right, I don't need one in this case.

For starters, you're wrong. Yeah, nobody in Boston says they're "from the Hub," but it's certainly part of the local culture. You've heard of Hubway and Top of the Hub, no? They've restored the old Hub of the Universe marker in front of the old Filene's. And headline writers from both the local papers, some of whom were born here, have used "Hub" for decades.

In my case, besides being born in New York (Brooklyn, actually), I am also known for bad puns and stupid word play (but I repeat myself). "Universal Hub" is just a bad play on the whole "Hub of the Universe" thing. Lookee here, that's even noted on the site About page. Truly a wonder.

The sad fact is, at least for grumpy pants like you, is that I'm as much a Bostonian now as anybody else - I've lived more of my life here than in New York, I pay taxes here, I own a house here, my daughter is a product of BPS (and a Rozzie rat to boot). Why, I've even voted a number of times for mayor of Boston. So damn straight I'm going to speak up when I think our fuckin' city (to borrow a phrase from another noted Bostonian) is wronged.

Sorry if I laid it on a little thick here.

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I use the term "burger sandwich" when I'm in Southie. Just like Affleck.

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Well, equally true is that some people here feel that the only real Boston (or even the real southie) is the one they experienced. Being born in the US doesn't make you a US history or culture expert any more than being born and living in a particular city makes you an expert in anything other than your experience there.

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reading a font page article in the NY Times regarding that ever popular whine about how racist Boston is. The author even wrote that you hardly see any black people downtown! I was by a window looking out on a busy sidewalk as I drank coffee and read the silly troll-like article; at least 1/3 rd of the people walking by were black. And of course there was a mix of Asian, white, Hispanic.

There are some people who think any city that isn't at least 50% black (not Hispanic, not Asian, specifically black) or better still majority, is racist.

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give the washington post a break. there are people in massachusetts that dont fully understand what boston is.

i have a lot of evidence but here are my favorites:

"lot of italinas live in the north end and a lot of irish live in south boston."

uh, no. maybe in 185 but not in 2017. its all yuppies and outsiders now.

"Bostonians love the boston sports teams":

uh, no. maybe in 1990 but the sports fandom now comes from the burbs and new hampshire. a large % of people that live in the city are not from new england and could give two flips about the sports teams. and that % is getting larger by the...newly constructed condo building.

"boston is racist"

uh, no. over 50% of the population is latin, hispanic, asian or black. if there is any racism its in the burbs. south shore probably.


"the dropkick murphys respresent boston"

uh, no. they represent milton or quincy..or whatever burb they are from.

- A South Boston Community Member

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The article linked does not state Starbucks won a fight last year to open its "first" location in South Boston. Minor point but maybe they amended the article after this blog.

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I didn't see any reason to save the story after the first time I read it and it's possible I misread what they wrote. But what's up there now could still be read as if they're saying the L Street Starbucks was the first in the neighborhood:

To the chagrin of some longtime residents, the once solidly blue-collar neighborhood is now home to million-dollar condos and a rapidly gentrifying population. And last August, after a months-long fight, Starbucks won the right to open a coffee shop at Broadway and L Street in South Boston.

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When Allied War Veterans Council votes to exclude Outvets and the story is national news (it always is) the story is this -- that Boston's St Patrick's Day parade voted to keep the gays out.

In Boston, we know the parade is run by a group from South Boston (or so we thought for years-- that they were a group of vets from South Boston.) So even in the City of Boston residents attributed the arguably bigoted decision made year after year for about 20 years as indicative of South Boston and not just the council.

Similarly, when Dee Brown gets arrested in Wellesley the town takes the hit, even though the police made the arrest, and even if many other officers on the force might not have mistaken Dee Brown as the bank robber. Police officers are representatives of their police force. And police forces are representative of their towns. I suspect this is a sociological view and not just a journalistic view.

In the eyes of journalists and their readers-- Americans -- Boston is the place where gay vets who want to participate in the St Patrick's Day parade get a vote, and more often than not, the decision in no.

The process exposes grotesque discrimination that reflects badly on AWVC and South Boston and Boston.

We should fix that.

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One of the men on AWVC was in a TV news segment Thursday. It was clear he had voted against including Outvets participation when he said "They have more rights than I do," resentfully.

I understand resentment. You got a shit hand and someone suggests you should blame gay people. I'm here to say too many Americans are getting a shit hand. Older vets, college grads, families.

I heard something roughly similar from Sen Jeff Sessions when he called civil rights and voting rights act 'extra rights.'

In the case of Outvets, the so-called right at stake under AWVC's control is the right to participate in St Patrick's Day parade as Outvets. Apart from AWVC, LGTB people also have protections against hate crimes-- being killed because they're gay. This really isn't a right anyone wants to exercise because if you're killed because you're gay it's not about rights it's about justice.

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Adam nitpicks about Starbucks and the fact that it's not 1965 anymore, but the main problem with the Washington Post story is the usual covering up for Democrats, specifically U.S. Rep. Steve Lynch (D-South Boston), whose political career was launched in 1994 by adamantly opposing the gay presence in the parade and by strongly supporting the Allied War vets. In a rarity, when first elected, he even knocked off an incumbent Democrat (Rep. Paul Gannon) in a primary mainly because Gannon supported gays.

As the political winds have changed, Lynch is now "shocked, shocked" that anyone would take the same anti-gay stance that he did to advance his career. He was also pro-life at that time but has now conveniently changed with the wind. Whatever it takes, I guess.

The only other problem with the Post piece is the lack of contrast between Outvets and GLIB (Gay, Lesbian, Irish, BiSexual) who I believe were the first gay group to demand a place in the parade, spawning the Supreme Court case. IIRC, GLIB was not a veterans group, merely a bunch of ragtag activists trying to introduce their sexual preference into the parade. It's no wonder a SCOTUS, politically divided even then, would rule against that group in a rare 9-0 decision. As I said before, I believe Outvets should march. They have done so before in a dignified manner, served their country and deserve their place. That said, the laughable history of the Democrats involved and the vast differences in the gay groups wanting to march, should have been noted by the Post. Lynch, at least, should have been pressed for answers.

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That Lynch has joined the 21st century, at least on this issue, and you haven't?

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GLIB - which was not an acronym but a nickname - was not an activist group. They were an affinity group that came together around the same time as many LGBT neighborhood groups, and other ethnic/religious identity groups within the LGBT community. This was a period when people were trying to find non-political ways to sustain a community that was dealing with AIDS and Operation Rescue, among other things. And in 1992, the parade was still supported by the city, as it had been since its inception. It was not a private event - and the only reason it was run by the Veterans Council instead of the civic committee that had done so previously was because, after WWII, then Mayor Curley had more cronies on the council than the committee and so passed the torch to them. So yeah, that is why GLIB took the parade to court and won in 1992. And it's why, when the Veterans Council insisted the next year 'hey, look, we're a private group now, we stopped using the city seal and letterhead and returned your money' - but only said so at the eleventh hour, once GLIB's application was rejected - that the courts saw through that line of bull and enforced the court order that let GLIB march again. But Supreme Court cases don't deal in local context - and remember, it was the Veterans whose case went to the Supreme Court, not GLIB's. So it was not a surprise to GLIB that the case was lost, since Darling and the Council got to frame it as if the parade had always been a private group's event. By the way, back in 1992, when GLIB approached that year's Parade Marshal, Lyons, to ask him if they would have a chance of being allowed to march - he initially said don't worry. Until he realized the votes weren't going to go his way, and then he changed his tune. If he'd shown his true character from the beginning, GLIB most likely wouldn't have petitioned to march. So all of this ongoing embarrassment the past 25 years, the Veterans Council brought upon itself.

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