It turns out folks at the Times have been slipping references to Philadelphia’s most misunderstood and overblown sports fan incident into their reports for years, stereotypes which had gone largely undetected… until now.
Salon.com’s EJ Dickson took the time to compile 16 examples over roughly that number of years where NYT writers mentioned Philly, Santa, and snowballs in their stories. Random stories. One offhand remark was found in a game between the Mets and the Marlins. One of the articles isn’t even about sports at all. Here’s my personal favorite:
From a piece on Triple Crown contender and Philadelphia racehorse Smarty Jones:
Local boosterism is a curious mixture of pride and self-loathing. Philadelphians are more likely to defend the culinary significance of the cheese steak or the infamous booing of Santa Claus at a football game in 1968 than they are to preen about their history or great educational institutions, like the University of Pennsylvania and Temple. (June 5, 2004)
They know us too well.
And this is not even a complete list, not by any stretch of the imagination. Dickson says Santa has been mentioned twice in news involving Philadelphia during the last week alone, adding “the Grey Lady has consistently referred to Philly as ‘the city that booed Santa Claus.’
There’s no real explanation why, either, other than what appears to be some extremely organized and dedicated trolling – which a part of me actually wants to applaud. But it’s a stupid narrative, one it’s hard to believe still counts for style at an institution such as the Times.