Dallas Is the "Focal Point For Oversize American Culture," Lamer Than Lincoln, Nebraska, Bloomberg Says
Imagine for a second that there were no more lists. Nothing to say that a certain city has the best pectoral muscles or the worst selection of vuvuzelas. We obviously would have no idea that Dallas is full of lardassed squares who don't take showers but nevertheless have great career prospects.
But more fundamentally, in a tree-falls-in-the-forest type way, would Dallas -- could Dallas -- continue to exist without its existence being affirmed through lists?
The answer, of course, is that the question doesn't matter because media outlets count page views and thus will never stop churning out lists. Take Bloomberg, for instance. Just today, it released one if its own. But rather than rank cities based on a single attribute, it lists them in order, from worst to best. Dismiss the poll as unscientific at your own risk, because, as Bloomberg explains, the rankings were compiled using a little something called mathematics.
For the ranking, Businessweek.com once again teamed up with Bloomberg Rankings to evaluate data on 100 of the country's largest cities. We looked at leisure attributes (the number of restaurants, bars, libraries, museums, professional sports teams, and park acres by population), educational attributes (public school performance, the number of colleges, and rate of graduate-degree holders), economic factors (income and unemployment), crime, and air quality. Major professional league and minor league teams, as well as U.S.-based teams belonging to international leagues in each city were included. This year we placed greater emphasis on leisure amenities than we did last year. The figures come from data company Onboard Informatics and the nonprofit Trust for Public Land. As the methodology was altered, changes in a city's ranking from 2011 do not suggest that it has gotten "better" or "worse."
So these are cold, hard facts, which is why it's somewhat sad to see Dallas' decidedly mediocre placement at No. 41. That's one slot better than Reno, Nevada, and two slots behind Tulsa. As in Oklahoma. Some stats accompany the listing, ostensibly to explain the ranking. Dallas has 249 bars, 2,808 restaurants, 23 acres of parks per 1,000 residents. (It lists Dallas as having just two big league sports teams, apparently not realizing that the Rangers and Cowboys are ours, not Arlington's).
Let's not forget the blurb about Dallas which manages to roll every TV-inspired stereotype about the city into one tidy 100-word package.
Dallas is arguably the focal point for oversize American culture: fried food, mechanical bull riding, and glitzy displays of largesse that inspire stereotypes and television shows alike. If you just know Dallas as a fan of the soap opera (or, more improbably, the canceled GCB show), you're missing out on a city with several major art districts and a vibrant music scene. And Dallas' take on Beverly Hills, the Highland Park neighborhood, is very much real.
Excuse me, Bloomberg, but you forgot to mention that everything's bigger in Texas.