According to Men's Health Magazine, St. Petersburg is America's saddest city. Heh, thank god I live in Gulfport.
I'd link to the actual Men's Health Magazine article, but they don't have the story up on their site yet that I can see. However, if you're interested in a review of the six worst exercise machines, "bar brawl hot zones," whether or not your chair is giving you cancer, or an almost impossibly beautiful topless woman enticing you to "last longer, stay stronger" (I can only assume they're referencing the same issue every man must face in his lifetime: marathon gaming sessions with the Wii, where with all that moving, it really is a challenge to last a long time and keep your strength up! I'll click the beautiful lady link later and see...), then I encourage you to visit their site.
On a slightly more serious note, it does look like they used some real data to make this determination. From the Times piece linked at the top:
The magazine based its rankings on suicide rates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and unemployment rates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It also compiled information from a website called SimplyMap to determine the percentage of households using antidepressants and the number of people who say they feel sad all or most of the time.
Sure, antidepressants. Unemployment. Suicide.
Could probably ask folks if living out of cars sucked, too.
You're going to think this is a non sequitur, but Saint Petersblog featured a little piece this morning that I found interesting: In one of the most consequential years in a half-century, the most searched story of 2011 was…
Only click that link if you want to be, well, depressed.
Hey, for my money, the story of the year ought to be one in four kids is homeless. Instead, what did we get?
…the Casey Anthony story. That’s right, in one of the most consequential years of, at least, my lifetime – the economic meltdown, the Arab Spring, the death of Osama bin Laden, the earthquake in Japan, the tumultuous GOP primary, etc., etc. – the Casey Anthony story was the most searched term on Bing, which has released rankings of its most searched terms this year.
Peter's right, and I'd go so far as to say it's one of the most consequential times (if not years) in American history, maybe even world history. And the best we could do for ourselves was the Casey Anthony trial.
Is our collective caring about the Casey Anthony trial a symptom of something more? Is it simply a side-effect of our depression as a state (Tampa was not far behind St. Petersburg, by the way)? Or is it the disease itself?
I don't know. My gut tells me it is the nasty side-effect -- our collective desire to get away from the bad news. Look at some of the other stories on the most-searched list: Hurricane Irene. Joplin tornadoes. Haiti anniversary. Japan disaster.
That stuff is genuinely depressing. And we care about it. We just don't care care.
But we're living in a time when we are feeling a bit helpless -- a bit like we can't even help ourselves. So what real harm could following a little murder trial really cause? After all, it's sort of like a real-life 'Law & Order' or 'CSI' (though I doubt Caylee Anthony would agree).
That being said, if I'm right, it's a symptom we need to treat. I will link once again to the piece at DailyKos which broke down TIME Magazine covers domestically and internationally. In Europe, Asia and the South Pacific, the cover for December 2011 was of the revolution in Egypt. In America, a cartoon made the bold statement, "Why anxiety is good for you." (Perhaps, in a twist of fate, this bodes well for us, the St. Petersburg depressive coalition.) In August of this year, the cover featured on those three international editions of TIME was "Travels through Islam" with a wind-swept dune, a couple of camels and someone in flowing garb leading them across the sandy desolation. In America, we got a man holding a baby facing off with a woman holding a mop and the too-sassy headline, "Chore Wars". They go on and on ("Why mom liked you best!" "Who needs marriage!").
It's easy to say, "Well, there are an awful lot of foreclosures, there are an awful lot of people taking medication... we must be depressed!" But what's not so easy to tease out is how much of this we've brought upon ourselves, how much we ask for by virtue of our broken media establishment (and no, it's not just TIME Magazine).
Have we actually asked for the blue pill? Or has it been forced upon us?
Finding good, reliable --and true -- sources of information and news is hard to do. But I don't think it's too deep a rabbit hole.
Finally, let me say that I don't think St. Petersburg is depressing. I don't think it's a depressing city. It may be full of people who are having a lot of problems right now. But that doesn't mean it's not a vibrant, colorful, exciting place to be.
Viva St. Petersburg.
Update: via my friend Michael, here's the link to their online piece. Guess I just didn't look hard enough.