VIDEO: Why do people keep bashing Pennsylvania, especially Scranton?
It seems like every month or so another online poll or top list is released saying Scranton is a terrible place to live, miserable as hell, or full of ugly accents. Are these criticisms fair and based on actual research or just nasty, classist insults that harm the Electric City and its residents?
BBC journalist Matt Danzico, who is originally from Scranton, investigates this phenomenon and talks to people throughout Pennsylvania, particularly in Scranton and Pittsburgh, who believe that the media is not only discriminating against working class, everyday people, but may actually be hurting businesses and the local economy in the process. Loyalty Barber Shop and Shave Parlor of Scranton is prominently featured in the piece.
The BBC posted this description of the video, part of its BBC Pop Up series:
The people of Pittsburgh in the US state of Pennsylvania have the “ugliest accent in America” – or that at least was the finding of one online survey.
Gawker Media ran a competition in which 16 cities were pitted against each other, with the audience asked to vote on which city’s accent they thought was ugliest. The company told the BBC its competition was meant to celebrate the regions.
But in Pennsylvania – which had three of the 16 contenders – they are not happy to have won the inauspicious title, and the bad headlines that come with it. Some critics claim prejudice against the Steel City’s working class roots is a factor in Pittsburgh taking the top spot.
Another blue-collar town in the mountainous northeast part of the state came second in the poll of ugly accents. Scranton, fictional home to the US version of The Office, was earlier this year named “the unhappiest region in the US” in a different unscientific survey. The results were carried in newspapers across the country.
Matt Danzico from the BBC Pop Up team explores his home state and hometown to find out why people seem so happy to bash Pennsylvania.
As the video mentions, it’s OK when we poke fun at ourselves, as in the famous “Heynabonics” video below, but when others do it, their intentions may not be so playful.
Photo by Sophia Kowalczyk