It does not surprise me that when the Carolina Hurricanes play a team from the higher latitudes, such as Michigan or Massachusetts, in the Stanley Cup playoffs, that newspaper columnists from the north make fun of us.
We are Mayberry. Or, as Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe recently put it, we are "goobers." Same thing.
This is what some writers do when they have no clue about what's south of Foxborough, or they are hurting on deadline for something to say.
I have lived south of the Mason-Dixon since 1971. I came down from the suburbs of Boston to attend college. I have never once regretted it.
Boston is a terrific place to live, but it is a very provincial place. If your whole concept of the South is derived from watching the Andy Griffith Show, then I guess you can't fathom how this region has changed in the past few decades because your worldview doesn't extend much past Hopkinton, where they start the Marathon.
Boston's nickname is the Hub. As in Hub of the Universe. I am not original with this observation: There's an old joke that if a celestial rock obliterated Los Angeles, the Boston Globe headline the next day would be "Hub Man Perishes/As Comet Devastates LA.
I'd like to take Shaughnessy over to Cary's SAS, one of the biggest private software companies in the world. Or over to Research Triangle Park. Or over to Centennial Campus at N.C. State. Or the American Tobacco Campus in Durham. Or to Red Hat.
I know, I know. I'm starting to sound like the folks at the chamber of commerce who, every time there is a slight to this region in an out-of-town newspaper, begin reciting all its cutting-edge companies, its swell amenities, etc. etc. Stern letter to follow.
Truth is, we don't have to defend ourselves. People vote with their feet. Between 2000 and 2006, the population of Boston was essentially flat, up 0.3 percent. It would have dropped, no doubt, except that the Hub's world-class technology companies and universities draw in lots of folks from all over the planet.
During the same period, Raleigh's population grew by 25 percent.
People didn't come here because they made a wrong turn on Route 128 and kept going until they saw "For Sale" signs at Wakefield. They came here because this is where you can get a house for less than $785,000 (the price of a falling-down shack in my home town of Newton), because they can get jobs, because they have grown tired of cranking up the snow blower every third day.
Some of the folks who came to Raleigh, no doubt, have Southie (not Southern) accents. To them, I say, wicket cool that you are heah.