You probably didn't notice, but last week in this space there was no Mr. Wrong Column, on account of last week was the annual Best of Baltimore edition-episode-installment of City Paper, Baltimore's Best Alternative Weekly! While I have based my Profession as a Columnist on complaining when the delicate Weekly schedule of the Mr. Wrong Column is interrupted or otherwise disturbed, Best of Baltimore is always one enforced respite I can get behind, in support of the singularity of purpose required to produce each year's fact-filled, feature-filled, and, most important, fun-filled Best of Baltimore. It's the Best Best-of there is, plus there's a party after it hits the streets and the internets and there's free drinks! How Best is that? Who else does a Best of Baltimore party where the tickets to get in are free and there's free drinks? Nobody, man! I hope you got in this year, to the party, it's a bargain at twice the price.
The big-ass Best of Baltimore printed on paper last week (almost 200 pages, if you include the ads, har!) is jam up and jelly tight with fistfuls of blurbs about all kindsa stuff that is Best, in the opinions of all the people (Writers) who wrote the blurbs, and every year Readers agree, disagree, and sometimes get all angry about Best-of, because of Opinions. I contend any time there is some sorta perceived oversight or slight in Best-of, it creates an opportunity for discourse, you know? So then like, whatever that Best Thing is, and that Best Other Thing That Shoulda Been Best Thing? They are part of a Process wherein the Reader looks at Best Thing, and then goes like "Wha? That is so not the Best Thing! I need to Tweet or Facebook or whatever and put a hashtag to dispute this so-called Best Thing! Fraud at polls!" And then that Tweetler or Snapgram or whatever gets a virus and retweets itself and then it has other Readers, and they will be like "Hey, I was gonna go check out that Best Thing, but now I'm also gonna go see what's up with that Best Other Thing, wow, I never even heard of that Other Thing, and now there's two different kinds of that Thing to get into and then I'm gonna Blogcast my own opinions on a Pod! Hashtag!" Best of Baltimore is stimulating, man, but some people get hot and then it's a lotta hurt feelings.
Don't get all knotted up about something in Best-of that you didn't Believe, or something that you think got skipped or ignored, OK? Participate in the Process! Best-of is all year! Right now is Best-of! Right now, this time immediately A.B. (After Best-of) is the Season for you to react and make an argument for your Thing You Think is Best and you can create Awareness for it and then everyone will know about it, and frequently this includes people who are gonna be writing some Best-of blurbs next year. It might even be you, getting some visibility from your Social Media or well-crafted missive to City Paper.
Meanwhile, if you can't do that, if you can't deal with all those Writers, you don't even have to spend one minute Believing the writers who write stuff in City Paper, man, you can just look to The Readers for direction on what is Best, in the Readers Poll. No writers! All you gotta do is turn to page 26 in that copy of Best-of you grabbed last week and read that part. The Readers control the Poll! Then you can skip over all the writing and look at the Baltimore Weekly Calendar and the Astrology Column and stuff. And the ads.
This year the Readers taught us that the Best Reason to Leave Baltimore is The Crime, and the Best Neighborhood is Hampden. Also, the Best Place to Work is At Home, the Best Raven is Joe Flacco, and the Best Health Care Provider is Johns Hopkins. These are some serious Truth Bombs getting dropped on you, The Reader, by you, The Readers! Best Jewelry Store? Smyth! Ka-blam! What say you? Did you vote in the Readers Poll?
There were at least 125 items in last week's Best of Baltimore Readers Poll (I kept trying to count 'em, but I kept losing track because I was doing it while I was watching the Presidential Debates on teevee and I think it was 139, but if there's one thing I am learning from all these bullshitting politicians is to not exaggerate stuff, so it's safer for me to round it down), and if you don't think the Best Bagel is at Towson Hot Bagel or the Best Crab Cake is at Faidley's, then maybe you didn't vote in the Readers Poll! But it's cool, again, you have all kinds of established recourse; you can fire off an email to City Paper or you could Tweet or Comment someplace on Facebook or hashtag whatever, OK? You could go all artisanal and analog and get a postcard, to send through the US Mail (which for a nominal fee is hand-delivered to the offices of City Paper), address it to 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278 and be all in your own handwriting like, NO-OOO! BEST LOCAL RADIO PERSONALITY IS NOT MARC STEINER, IT'S DAN RODRICKS, HOW CAN HE BE LISTED AS NO. 2 IN YOUR DOPEY AND PURELY SUBJECTIVE ASSESSMENT OF WHAT IS THE BEST? FRAUD AT POLLS! FIRE THE READERS!
Personally, I would never fire The Readers, they (and you know who They are) get to have all kinds of crazy Opinions and Ideas, just like the Writers, you know? The Readers are always my Personal Best of Baltimore, even if I think the Best Bagel is at Greg's, you know? C'mon Readers, seriously.
FINAL EPILOGUE: OK, look, so just like two weeks ago, in case the Brand New Editor-in-Chief of City Paper didn't get announced before Press Time, I was gonna leave a space to put the new EiC's name, but finally it has been announced, and I am pleased to say congratulations to Karen Houppert, who is the shiny-new Editor, and Chief, even, of City Paper, and as New Editor I hope you will make sure the Mr. Wrong Column runs in next year's Best of Baltimore, OK?
best email: email@example.com
best tweets: @MRWRONGCOLUMN