In her cloying attempt to charm Charlotte, NC, which was selected to host to Democratic National Convention, Mrs. Obama in announcing the choice jotted down every cliche about the South – and about cities in general – she could think of. Except that one of her apparently uninformed, under-researched compliments, by the city’s own admission, doesn’t apply.
Charlotte does not have great barbecue.
Here’s what she wrote in her announcement, which was emailed to members of Organizing to America, the email list compiled during the campaign of Obama’s grass roots shock troops.
Charlotte is a city marked by its southern charm, warm hospitality, and an ‘up by the bootstraps’ mentality that has propelled the city forward as one of the fastest-growing in the South. Vibrant, diverse, and full of opportunity, the Queen City is home to innovative, hardworking folks with big hearts and open minds. And of course, great barbecue.
And here’s how an editor of the Charlotte Observer responded.
Huh?!?! We appreciate all the compliments, and they’re all spot-on until that last one. We like Spoon’s, Mac’s and Bubba’s just fine, but everybody knows to get the best stuff, you gotta drive north to Lexington.
In a separate piece by the Associated Press that appeared in the Observer, a local grandmaster of North Carolina Barbecue said Charlotte had checkmated itself some time ago.
One expert, John Shelton Reed, explained it in stark terms. He is a retired University of North Carolina professor and the co-author of “Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue.”
“Complete the sentence: As a barbecue town, Charlotte is one, not what it used to be; two, like Minneapolis for gumbo; three, good enough for Yankees; four, not far from Shelby,” he said, referring to a barbecue center about an hour west of Charlotte.
Ouch. In North Carolina, this is serious stuff.
While listing things she figured were probably true, Mrs. Obama neglected to mention that as Charlotte residents embrace you with their warm southern hospitality and charm, you must be careful to make sure they’re not fishing around in your back pocket for your wallet. According to Forbes.com, Charlotte is the 14th most dangerous city in the United States to live in.
But, whatever. I guess that still qualifies as “vibrant.”