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They like us! They really like us!

Gazette staff November 21st, 2012

We don’t know if The New York Times Magazine’s Nov. 11 feature on the OKC Thunder was, as The Oklahoman reporter Steve Lackmeyer proclaimed on his blog — presumably with a stuck “caps lock” key — “THE BEST ARTICLE EVER WRITTEN ABOUT OKLAHOMA CITY IN A NATIONAL PUBLICATION.”

Credit: Brad Gregg

Chicken-Fried News isn’t certain we agree, since we’re mighty fond of a 1984 Psychology Today story on the duality of the human psyche as reflected by Butch and Ben McCain, but the Times piece was unequivocally a lovely paean to our hometown.

In “A Basketball Fairy Tale in Middle America,” writer Sam Anderson focused on the role that the team has in “a state known for its citizens’ kindness, levelheadedness, work ethic, community spirit and, above all, humility.”

Anderson goes on to gush about Kevin Durant, Wayne Coyne, Thunder GM Sam Presti, OKC Police Chief Bill Citty and others.

Oklahoma City, Anderson wrote, “has managed to reinvent itself while other cities have melted down, a conservative town that happily submitted to a series of voluntary taxes, a place where the oxymoron ‘corporate citizen’ almost begins to make some kind of sense.”

You’ll forgive our blushing. Sure, this city rocks and all, but c’mon: Surely we have some foibles.

Thankfully, once the initial crush wore off, Anderson later admitted on a Times blog that we do have feet of clay (and we don't mean Bennett).

“I never saw the niceness crack ... but there are a couple of complications,” Anderson said, adding that OKC has its share of poverty-stricken neighborhoods and gang problems.

“The other thing I’d say is that niceness has a flip side. … A handful of times, I got a sense that some of these Oklahoman virtues — politeness, decency, hospitality — could come at a cost: not speaking out, not making waves, toeing the company line, conforming.”

That’s better, Sam. Any more praise heaped on us and we would’ve had performance anxiety.
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