Gongol.com Archives: January 2024

Brian Gongol

January 19, 2024

Business and Finance The best hotel in Buffalo

One of the disappointing revelations brought to us by the connectedness of social media is that plenty of people still feel at liberty to take lowbrow pot-shots at their fellow Americans' hometowns in search of an easy laugh. A picture of a disappointedly surprised Hillary Clinton with the caption "Taylor Swift checking into the nicest hotel in Buffalo next week" has pulled in 7.2 million views on Twitter and 126,000 "likes", as though it had been a novel joke. ■ An astonishing number of people have anchored their expectations of other places sometime around 1987, taking a dilapidated Rust Belt, an unimproved Farm Belt, and a backwards South all for granted. This anchoring, though widely performed, is a real disservice, favoring a tiny handful of "advanced" places -- as though the entire country hadn't grown both a lot richer and a lot more homogeneous since then. ■ The plain fact is that America is culturally, economically, and technologically much more alike than it is different, and it has grown much more so over the last generation. Pittsburgh is now a major tech center! You can get upscale tapas in Greenville, South Carolina! There's a Crowne Plaza hotel in Kearney, Nebraska, with an indoor water park and EV charging stations! ■ Economic output per person has basically doubled in the last 40 years -- even after stripping out the impact of inflation. And while we're making more money, the baseline standards for many products and services have risen as well. ■ You don't have the option to watch standard-definition analog television anymore, airbags are mandatory even in the cheapest vehicles, and literally every restaurant has been reviewed on Yelp. There are still plenty of experiences yet to be improved, but it's patently unfair of anyone to assume that long-outdated stereotypes apply. It's a very good thing that our consumer standards have risen by so much. It's past time for our social standards to catch up.

@briangongolbot on Twitter