Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pity Reno? Maybe Vegas Should.

As more holidays draw closer, I wanted to spread some good cheer. But alas, Coolican is playing Grinch again. This time, he's laughing at poor Reno's despair.

In the new Muppet movie, Reno appears as a sad sack dump for Fozzie Bear's failed solo career. The TV show “Reno 911” has long mocked the city’s police department, and to add insult to injury, the show isn’t even filmed in Reno — where this week two bins of “Toys for Tots” were stolen from a Walmart only to be returned.

And then on “Saturday Night Live” last week, “Weekend Update” host Seth Meyers had this to say: “According to a new list, the least happiest city in America is St. Petersburg, Fla. But that’s only because Reno, Nevada, finally killed itself.” (Las Vegas is actually the suicide capital of America, but moving on ...)

Well, Reno is fighting back!

Some genius in an editors’ meeting of the Reno Gazette-Journal decided he’d had enough. (Somehow I know it was a he.) The paper asked its readers to contribute to an “open letter to Seth Meyers” that will be published Sunday from the people of Reno, a city known for the purity of its methamphetamine.

(Note: The SNL joke on Reno starts just after 9:00 here.)

But wait, it gets worse. RGJ editors started a campaign earlier this week to fight back by turning the joke on Seth Meyers, but Coolican won't have any of that.

The problem here is that these aren’t funny. In fact, the whole flaw in this plan, as I noted on Twitter on Tuesday (@jpcoolican), is that Seth Meyers is funny. Whereas the people of Reno — where the dirt flooring of the homes serves for both sleeping and eating — and the editors of the Reno Gazette Journal are not funny.

If they were funny, they wouldn’t be living in Reno, where we all hope girls will be permitted to go to school someday. They’d be in New York City getting paid to be funny. (Same goes with me, s’pose.)

Wait, how does that old saying go about people who live glass houses throwing stones? Remember all the sturm und drang over Mindy Kaling saying something stupid about Downtown Las Vegas and Luv-It Frozen Custard? And remember all the fire and brimstone being directed at President Obama for speaking obvious common sense in decrying gambling with our tax dollars or our kids' college funds?

Yes, Coolican, we have our own moments of embarrassing overreactions to otherwise inoccuous comments. For heaven's sake, we were even criticizing the President of the United States for criticizing banks misuing taxpayer supported TARP bailout funds on Las Vegas pleasure junkets! So maybe, just maybe, we should lay off Reno as they're engaging in their own moment of overreaction to silly throwaway comments by far away celebrities.

Sure, I understand that perhaps a few tourists really do base their travel decisions on shit Seth Meyers or Mindy Kaling says. And maybe some big multinational banks really were pressured out of wasting Americans' tax dollars on another "conference" on The Strip after President Obama chided them for misusing TARP funds. But seriously, Las Vegas, Reno, and really all of Nevada have bigger problems than shit celebrities say. I mean, come on, we all deserve to be the punchline of jokes when we don't take investing in our own people and our own success all that seriously. Maybe we should actually reform our 19th century tax code to start giving our kids the 21st century education they deserve so we no longer invite the rest of the country to declare us "The Armpit of America"?

Oh, but who am I to point out Nevada's unique talent of sparking "OUTRAGE!" over others pointing out our own shortcomings? And who is anyone in The South to mock The North for taking a well worn page out of our playbook? Sometimes, a joke is just a joke. Lighten up.

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