Breaking Globe News: Kids Are Walking To School

There are three types of trend pieces: articles that aren’t about real trends at all, but that are instead attempts to pass off single bizarre occurrences as trends; articles about actual trends that show up every few years in your local arts section (did you know that people are forming book clubs again?); and, finally, articles about ordinary things that editors dream into trends for the sake of filling newspapers.    

The Boston Globe is a remarkable place to find all three of these specimens. I remember the first Living|Arts trend piece I noticed when I moved here from New York; it was about how, and I quote: “a young demographic that includes bike messengers, snowboarders, artists, and musicians has adopted PBR as its beverage of choice.” That’s right folks – in 2004 Bostonians stole the West Coast trend of drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon. Those nutty bike messengers and snowboarders.

Today the Globe delivered a trend piece about one of those ordinary things: walking. And get this – it has a whole green angle to it. The piece – cleverly titled “Walk-to-school movement afoot across Mass.” – brings us to Newton for an example of how “this so-called walking school bus is part of a new citywide campaign this fall that mirrors a growing effort across the state to encourage children to walk to school instead of hitching a ride with their parents.”

First of all – and I know Globe reporters need to be constantly reminded of this – Newton is not part of this city. Neither are Abington, Worcester, Randolph, Shirley, Arlington, Canton, Waltham, Brockton, Stoneham or any of the other towns that this article is about. It’s no secret that the Globe cares little about what happens inside of Route 128, but it’s obnoxious how they refer to any part of Greater Boston as the “city.”

Second of all, in reference to the title, parents walking with their kids to school do not constitute a “movement” (except maybe in the most technical sense of the word). The fight against Apartheid was a movement. The civil rights movement was a movement. This is spoiled suburbanites needing five-buck-a-gallon gas to realize how lazy they’ve been all these years.

I could go on for paragraphs about this ludicrous article, but I’ll leave with this: One part of this piece mentions how some places in Massachusetts are “among 65 communities vying for millions of dollars in safety funds from the federal Safe Routes To School program.” What? The federal government is spending millions of dollars teaching people how to walk? Where else are they flushing our tax dollars – teaching people how to urinate safely? Someone at the Globe should find out; that might be a trend worth covering.

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