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Spare us the apologies
Seattle Times staff columnist
It has come to my attention on the eve of Seattle's moment of glory — our first ever Super Bowl — that some around here find the whole notion of Seattle to be an embarrassment.
I learned this from Mike McGavick, the former Safeco CEO who is barnstorming the state, trying to unseat Maria Cantwell to become our next U.S. senator. The other day, McGavick was speechifying in Spokane when he tossed out this odd quip: "I like to say I was born in Seattle when you weren't embarrassed to say you were from Seattle."
I must say, I've never met anyone who flushes in shame at the thought of living here.
So what's he talking about? He was born in Wallingford in 1958. Sometime since, the Northwest's iconic city apparently switched from a symbol of pride to one of humiliation.
The rest of his speech offers no clue (you can listen on his Web site, www.mikemcgavick.com). So I called him up to ask: What's so embarrassing about Seattle, anyway?
He didn't bite. He said he's "a proud Seattle boy." He said he didn't mean he personally finds Seattle embarrassing. Only that some others do.
"I use that line as I go around the state in order to break the ice, because sometimes I can sense the hostility about Seattle. When I say I'm from Seattle, people look at me funny.
"So this is a joke I use to get to the central point, which is that we all need to get along."
That's some fancy dancing. This guy has a future in politics — assuming he can get any votes in the state's largest city.
Of course, he was just taking a coded dig at Seattle liberals. It was a Republican audience. Snickering about Seattle is part of the GOP playbook. And what's the harm — Bush got only 18 percent of the city's vote.
Is McGavick right — are we also a city of secret shame? If so, what are people so embarrassed about?
I'll go first. The monorail — that was mortifying. Especially for me, as I backed the damn thing.
For many years I was ashamed that Muzak was headquartered here. But it moved to South Carolina in 2001.
There's the City Council. Oddly, it hasn't truly embarrassed us in years, since it tried to ban circus animals.
Embarrassing celebrities? Not really. Courtney Love moved away. KOMO's Ken Schram sometimes makes me want to flee town, like when he compared breast-feeding to public urination.
And let's not forget that infamous horse sex incident. But that was out near Enumclaw.
No, Seattle is so lacking in things to be embarrassed about that, ironically, it's created the most embarrassing thing about us — our smug provincialism.
People love it here so much it's downright annoying. So sue us. But whatever you do, don't apologize for us in Spokane.
Danny Westneat's column
appears Wednesday and Friday. Reach him at 206-464-2086 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company