Time to start a new feature for the blog - my Pet Peeve of the Day, or PPOD. Sometimes, things just strike me, and if My Sweet Baboo is to have any peace and quiet, I have to get them off my chest. Here's the first installment.
MSB and I were watching the Not Bad, Considering... Nightly News with Brian Williams on Friday. Generally, of the Big Three I find him the easiest to watch - I haven't quite figured out Katie Couric yet and Charlie Gibson...well, c'mon, his name is Charlie for heaven's sake. Doesn't sound very 'anchorish', does it? Walter. Peter. Chet. Harry. David. Tom. Charlie? But I digress.
Anyway -- the opening story on the news was of the terrible commuter plane crash that occurred in the Buffalo area. During a sidebar story on the victims of the crash, Brian talks about "the calm of a winter night in upstate New York" (hear the reference around 14 seconds in on this clip) - and that's my PPOD.
No matter what the story, or who's doing the talking, there's this upstate/downstate dividing line, that somehow if you're at all north of say White Plains, or you're not within a stone's throw of New York City, you're in this whole other place called upstate. I'm not even sure where our 'Mason-Dixon line' -- but we have one, that much I know.
Sadly we have to deal with this all the time on the political front, as we watch our elected officials aligning themselves with the upstate group or the downstate gang, trying to legislate around those fake divisions, or generally just complaining about the fact that they exist. Recently, our Accidental Governor David Paterson had an 'upstate trade mission' and pretty much failed to invite anyone outside of Albany - so apparently he doesn't know where the line is, either. (Sean Kirst of the Syracuse Post-Standard has a great article on this). I think it's more painful to have to deal with it on the national news, as that perpetuates the divide outside New York state, where people truly may not know better.
Seriously, do we really think that Buffalo, Ithaca, Tupper Lake, Binghamton and Amsterdam are all in that same nebulous place called Upstate New York? Intuitively, at least if you're not from downstate or New York City - you know that New York state has many natural regional separations and affiliations, that describe us a whole lot better than up and down do.
Whining is not the answer, I realize that. What we need is chest-thumping of a different kind. And guess what? We already have different regional designations that describe us. I'm not saying they're perfect, but what the heck - someone's already figured out, and is using, regional names to describe and market the Empire State.
Our challenge ? To see if we can get them adopted by folks outside the I Love NY agency. I'm sending a note to Brian Williams. It may not work, but who knows, maybe next time he'll think twice before he throws us all into one bucket. And maybe we can get a few more people to Love NY in the process. Are you with me?