Tuesday, July 13, 2010


File this under the "take your own advice" file for me. I've been doing a series on leadership with recent posts on loving your city and offending the right people. I failed to follow my own advice with a recent tweet that I sent from Indianapolis last week. 

I was enjoying hanging out downtown Indy with my kids and thinking about how it has been hard for us as a family to connect with downtown Cincinnati. What I feel good about is that I was thinking about Cincinnati while away. That may be a sign that my heart is growing closer to her. What I rather foolishly tweeted was: Dear cincinnati city planners: visit indianapolis and take a few notes.

Looking at it now, it reads very hateful and somewhat out of character from the way I normally talk. I don't know the city planners or even what they really do. It was just dumb - I was having a blast with my family in an urban environment and thinking about home. I should have tweeted nothing...or maybe "we're having a blast in Indy." It is reflective of something I have had problems with in the past. I try to word things in a creative way and come off sounding like a jerk. (Or maybe at my core I am a jerk and sometimes don't always take the time to temper my words.)

I'm not sure how to apologize to a city, but I am sorry to Cincinnati and the planners for using hateful words to talk about things I don't really know much about in the first place. This is a perfect example of something that is fine to think, but does no benefit to say publicly. This morning I felt like I should take at least a little of my own advice when I said that when you do something stupid, you should immediately apologize. Thanks to my buddy Steve and others for pointing this out...


Anonymous said...

Oy Vey

I've been to Indy. I love Indy. I also love my city, and I do wish that the city planners would take some notes from Indy... Wise people look to wiser people. As a city we should look to other cities that have done astounding jobs and learn what we can from them, and then put our own spin on it.

Just my 2 cents.

James Scott said...

I think there is something about Twitter that just naturally leads to these kinds of situations. You have a slightly more complex thought that is impossible to express in 140 characters or less, and by editing it down to fit you wind up robbing it of it's original meaning and quite often end up overlooking the hurtful ways it might be interpreted by someone just giving it a quick reading.

Mo said...

Thanks for being real Joe. You've always been a great example to me and I say that will all sincerity.

Steve Fuller said...


I called an emergency meeting of Cincinnatians this afternoon. We forgive you.

For the record, everyone is entitled to their opinion, and two well-meaning people can have conflicting views (i.e. I do not want downtown Cincinnati to look like downtown Indianapolis), but I have lived in Cincinnati for 30 of my 33 years. I grew up in the 'burbs and have lived within five miles of downtown for 11 of the past 13 years. In that time, I have grown very tired of people complaining about Cincinnati. It seems so odd to me that so many people in Cincy seem to hate their city and can't wait to leave, yet simply stay here and complain for decades.

You are definitely not one of those people. I do believe you love Cincy, but whenever someone opens the door (with that Tweet), Cincy haters pile on. It gets old after 30 years, especially when the haters escape to the 'burbs instead of getting their hands dirty to make things better.

Cincy is such a cool city. There are so many neighborhoods that are beautiful. Old houses, parks, theaters, the zoo, sports, restaurants, festivals, concerts, the river, and on and on.

Of course Cincy has flaws, but so does my wife. Imagine I wrote, "Dear Liz: hang out with Sally Smith and take a few notes." I bet Sally Smith has flaws too...just different flaws.

Sorry if I was harsh in my Facebook comment. I suppose I have grown bitter after defending Cincy for so long.

steve-o said...

I'm not offended by the comment itself; most of the people responsible for the aesthetic of our downtown area have been dead for a generation.

No, my offense is that we would want Cincy to be like Indy. As I spent last week downtown I was depressed by its sterility. It was as if the planners there were searching to bring suburban bland into the downtown area. It is, however, ideal for many convention goers who are more comfortable traversing the urban landscape in a white-washed setting.

Even the beautiful canal area seemed too perfect; the canal water was dyed. Although Cincinnati will never attract the convention business that Indianapolis does (I'm still depressed that we didn't build the Bengals a dome) our city projects an authenticity that Indiana's capital will never know.

DJ Hotlunch said...

Mr. Fuller,
If we are calling people out (as you did Joe) aren't you kind of saying the same thing about "the burbs" as Joe did about the city? Why do most people who live in the city feel the need to slam those who choose not to? "We just don't want to get our hands dirty???" No maybe we just want to live in a new house in a new community with a pool and walking trail because that is where we want to be? I feel like most urban dwellers only want to brag about how cool it is to live downtown and how lame I am because I don't. It is a personal preference, not me being lazy and too afraid to get me hands dirty.

Helen Ann said...

Regarding the appreciation of the nifty neighborhoods: Old homes might be lovely to look at, but they are a b--ch to live in. I'd move to the 'burbs in a heartbeat if I had the money. That doesn't mean I hate downtown or old neighborhoods...I am just tired of living in 'oldness'...

Joe - I think you are entitled to your opinion...This is your blog. I didn't take your comment to be anti-Cincinnati.

Steve Fuller said...

Mr. Hotlunch,

A) I hope that is your real name.

B) I never said it was bad or wrong to live in the 'burbs. You are free to live wherever you want. My problem is when people live in the 'burbs and THEN complain about the city. I definitely don't think you are lazy; nor do I believe you are afraid to get your hands dirty. People are called to live all over the place. City, 'burbs, overseas, etc. It just hits a nerve when people from the 'burbs complain that downtown isn't more like the 'burbs. We don't want an Applebee's downtown. We like one-way streets. Dive bars are fun.

One isn't better than the other, just don't suburbanize our city center.

Does that make sense?

Carie Schultz said...

I saw your tweet and didn't think it was mean. Of course, I was enjoying Indy, too, so I was biased. Next year, the convention returns to Cincinnati. I think they'll take us back, regardless.

Martin said...

I don't see what could be construed remotely offensive about what you said. You invited Cincinnati city planners to have a look at Indy. You didn't tell them outright that Cincy sucks. Going to a convention in Indy is enjoyable. Unless you know Cincinnati and have a car, being at a convention there, especially after 5:00 p.m. is awful.