BOSTON. Mayor Thomas Menino lashed out angrily today at a magazine article that ranked Boston the fifth rudest city in America, saying "We take a back seat to no one when it comes to discourtesyness."
"That's gotta be wrong," Menino said in a freewheeling press conference in which he mispronounced several one-syllable words. "People come here for the culture, but they stay for the uncouthability."
The Travel + Leisure magazine article ranked Boston behind New York, Miami, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles on a twenty-point incivility index that measured variables such as random acts of unkindness, line-cutting and unprovoked cursing to achieve a raw rudeness score, which was then divided by residents per square inch. "Boston is a smorgasbord of rudeness that runs the gamut from snobbish indifference on Beacon Hill to intentional acts of hostility by reckless drivers on dangerously quaint traffic 'rotaries,'" the magazine noted in praising the city's atmosphere of condescension and general pissyness. "The upraised middle finger is the state bird of Massachusetts, and residents will often playfully invoke it when greeting tourists who say 'milk shake' instead of 'frappe.'"
The often tongue-tied Menino was first elected in 1993, and has served longer than any mayor in Boston's history. He is known as "Mayor Pothole" and "The Urban Mechanic" for his focus on mundane quality-of-life issues, and is expected to remain in office as long as he wants unless offered a position as Professor of Linguistics at Harvard.
Menino pointed to Allston-Brighton, Boston's "student ghetto" whose youthful population uses loud music and drunken parties to endear themselves to permanent residents. "Of course I'm rude," said Tweeze, bassist for Maggot Puke, a local band that is one of the leading practitioners of the "Deliberately Annoying" sound. "Major record labels won't even talk to you unless you're at least chronically cranky."
Menino is notoriously thin-skinned and often uses his political power to retaliate against those who have crossed him. "You gonna write sumpin' nice, right?" he asks as this reporter took notes at the press conference. "You bettah, cause I know where youse pahked your cah."