Philly Is George McFly and the Nation’s List Editors Are Biff

Why don't they pick on someone less depressed?

It seems like every week there is a new list out of the top cities in America for something or other. I have done some extensive research and according to the cumulative findings of these lists, Philadelphia sucks. If you believe the lists, we live in a dirty, toxic city plagued by crime and bed bugs, where teenagers smoke, and the people are rude, ugly, depressed and over-taxed. The good news is we are getting thinner.

Let me start with the short and sweet good news. We’ve gone from the fattest city in America in 2007 to the current 14th fattest city in America, according to Men’s Health. The reason for that may be the fact that we live in the ninth best city for walking, according to Prevention Magazine—which makes sense since Frommer’s named Philadelphia the 10th best city in the world for parks. We also ranked 15th on Forbes’ list of the Coolest Cities in America, which makes no sense as you read on.

Before I get to the bad stuff, let me point out with a small degree of pride that Philadelphia did not make the list of the dumbest cities in America, the drunkest cities in America or the smelliest cities in the world. To paraphrase a classic line from Animal House, “Fat, drunk, stupid and smelly is no way to go through life.” We avoided that curse.

However, one might argue that “ugly, rude, toxic and depressed” is at least as bad. And that is who we are, according to the rest of America, or at least according to the confederacy of hip, young twerps drunk on the illusion of their own importance who staff our nation’s magazines (no offense to my hip young colleagues who write for the magazine that runs this site).

The twerps at Travel & Leisure top Philadelphia’s enemy list. The mag ranks Philadelphia as the second dirtiest city in America, trailing only New Orleans, which is still recovering from Katrina. It ranks us as one of the cities with the rudest, worst-dressed and least attractive people, beating out only Baltimore and Memphis in the latter. Taking exception to the lists, I did a Google image search of the writers at Travel & Leisure and all I can say is that they have got a lot of nerve.

Is it any wonder we are so depressed? We are being bullied by the nation’s lists. According to some extensive research by the people at the PsychCentral website (they used Google to see how many people from America’s cities searched the word “depression”), Philadelphia is the most depressed city in America. It is either because of Travel & Leisure, or the crime, toxins, taxes and bed bugs.

Philadelphia is now the bed bug capital of the world, beating out New York City. We have the highest taxes in the country, beating out Bridgeport, Connecticut. We have the most toxic air and water in the country. And last and least, we have the highest murder rate in the country among the nation’s largest cities.

But wait, there’s more.

Philadelphia also came in number one on the list of cities with the highest smoking rate among teenagers. And finally, Philadelphia residents lose their cell phones more frequently than any other city in America.

And yet, even though we are so hideously flawed, according to the nation’s lists, Philadelphia ranks as one of the best places for singles to find love. Of course, Ann Arbor, Michigan was number one on the list, so it could have been a cruel joke.