CNBC gives the ultimate backhanded compliment, deems Milwaukee a city “you don’t want to live in...yet”
Back in December 2010, The Daily Beast named Milwaukee the “Drunkest City In America.” Two months later, the website awarded us with the No. 2 slot on its “50 Best Cities For Love” list. (We’ll let you put two and two together.) Meaningless lists pitting city against city are nearly as plentiful as porn on the Internet, and are usually just as empty and masturbatory. So before we lose our collective shit over Milwaukee’s inclusion on the recent CNBC list of “20 Cities You Don’t Want To Live In...Yet,” it might be useful to take a breath and relax. Maybe have a drink and quietly hump the willing partner of your choice.
Of course, the operative word is “yet.” Each city on the list is rated by “The Bad,” “The Good,’ and “The Recovery.” Top companies like Northwestern Mutual and Harley-Davidson are listed under “The Good,” as are our “many cultural and outdoor activities.” “The Bad” is a little less rosy: an above-average crime rate, poor school performance, and sluggish job creation. Even “The Recovery” is a little unflattering: “Unemployment is at 7.3 percent, down from 8.4 percent last August, though hiring hasn’t picked up significantly and the real estate market remains sluggish.” Gee, thanks?
Still, it’s a little irrational to get up in arms and cry foul over these dopey lists. Going on the defensive only makes us look petty and easily bruised. And let’s face it: Unless the CNBC piece was written by a notorious Milwaukee-hater (Gilbert Arenas, Gov. Scott Walker), it’s unlikely the site has a dog in the fight. It’s simply reporting the facts, both good and bad.
In the end, every Milwaukeean worth his or her salt will—and should—rattle off the same tired-but-true facts in the face of such criticism: Our music scene is bursting with talent; our art museum is second to none; our baseball team rules (even when it doesn’t); and the Bronze Fonz still chomps the big one. Showing up on an isolated CNBC list means very little. The fact that Milwaukee continues to appear on these lists at all—even the not-so-glowing ones—speaks volumes.