Surprising controversy about a list meant to boost
COLUMBIA, Mo 6/20/14 (Beat Byte) -- "Black and Yellow?" "The Trop?" Asparagus at Shakespeare's Pizza?
Though they gave it the old college-town try, online real estate brokerage Movoto is getting significant reader blowback over a list their website writers compiled, 21 Things You Need To Know About Columbia Before You Move There.
Entirely complimentary -- but not entirely accurate -- the list has been making the rounds of social media since its Wednesday release. "Today we had our writer put together 21 quirks about Columbia that best capture your city's 'X-Factor'," Movoto rep Larry Wen told the Heart Beat. "We think she did a phenomenal job."
"Phenomenal" may be in the eye of the beholder. "I'm just going to assume the person that wrote this article has never been to Columbia," Patrick Cornell, a CNN news associate, explained on Movoto's website. "Really just some terrible factual errors."
Citing Mizzou News and Shane Epping, "Get Some Black And Yellow" comes in at Thing You Need to Know #4. "The Missouri Tigers are the state’s only NCAA Division I program, and the locals go crazy for some black and yellow."
But Mizzou News would never get the team's Black and Gold colors wrong, perhaps the list's greatest faux pas. "Mizzou students would shame you for saying 'black and yellow' so shame shame shame," wrote Missouri State Highway Patrol employee Kaitlin Taube.
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"A Cocktail Plus A Slushy Equals The Best Drink Ever" from Tropical Liqueurs, the #20 Thing You Need to Know about Columbia. So far, so good. Then Movoto gave Trops a nickname: "Better known as The Trop."
"It's not 'The Trop'. It's just 'Trops', Alicia Schneider corrected. "I shared that with my hubs and that's the first thing I said to him! added Katie Pratt Knox. "It's Trops, not The Trop. Get it right! :)"
And so it went for much of the list. Thing 17 from Shakespeare's Pizza: "Load up on the various toppings like the unique asparagus pie." Maybe they were thinking of broccoli, some readers suggested. "I work at Shake's and have for two years. We don't have asparagus," corrected Sela Freuler.Other readers added Things the Movoto list missed: Root's N Blues; Booches; Sparky's short-lived but nationally-renowned cicada ice cream; the amazing rise of local theater.
"CoMo has a ton of great theater opportunities," noted Ed Hanson, Artistic Director at Talking Horse Productions. "We're talking live theater, not movies, people!"
Some readers mentioned "high crime," a Thing that should not be forgotten in the rush to promote. And what list about Columbia would be complete without student apartments.
"So much for historic architecture when we're replacing the entire downtown with luxury student housing behemoths," wrote Rachel Puidk. "We might as well rename The District (which I will never call it anyway) 'Brookside Village.'"
"If they keep building apartment buildings like they are, 'family-friendly' will soon have to be removed from this list," added Tessa Anderson. "It's all about the college students now."
So much for blind Boosterism in a smart college town. Real, lasting progress, readers seem to be saying, requires a mix of promotion and reality, distinctly missing from Columbia's recent history.
If readers can agree on one Thing You Need To Know, it may be Thing 19: A Trail for all Seasons. "Two thumbs up for the MKT trail," praised Derrick Fogle. Columbia, he says, "is a great town to live and raise a family in."