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Mayor Swearengin snaps back at Marie Claire’s ‘pretentious’ Fresno bashing

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A couple weeks ago, The Fresnan dug up this Taylor Swift feature from the July issue of Marie Claire. Writer Kimberly Cutter did some of her interviewing here in Fresno, when Swift played Save Mart Center in April. That sounds innocent enough, right?

Well, Cutter used Fresno as a bit of a punching bag — basically for no reason — in her finished piece:

“Fresno is an interesting place to see Swift perform. Basically, the whole town has gone bananas over her — including the mayor, who has officially proclaimed today “Taylor Swift Day.” (In part, this may be an attempt to distract residents from the fact that Fresno was recently rated the number one Drunkest City in America by Men’s Health magazine, but still …)

“A dusty farm town in the middle of California, Fresno is the land of monster trucks and short-haired, churchgoing ladies in ruffled homemade aprons and Easy Spirit shoes who sell their crafts at the Big Hat Days festival in neighboring Clovis. Swift, who does not drink or swear or flash cleavage, is huge here.”

Yesterday, KMPH got its hands on this and took it to Mayor Ashley Swearengin for response. As you might expect, the mayor wasn’t too pleased. Per KMPH’s story:

“I’m offended to say the least,” Swearengin said. “I find this to be extremely pretentious and completely uninformed … To see our community criticized in this way is just really over the line.”

You do have to wonder if Ms. Cutter actually saw any of Fresno — or if she just went off her stereotypes of Fresno and let her observations confirm them as fact. You also have to if Mayor Swearengin is going to cancel “Taylor Swift Day.”

One thing is for sure: We won’t be seeing “Kimberly Cutter Day” in Fresno anytime soon.

Responses to "Mayor Swearengin snaps back at Marie Claire’s ‘pretentious’ Fresno bashing"

Jerry says:

Actually, she wasn’t that far off in her description.

JoyUnconfined says:

So Ms. Cutter got confused and thought that Clovis people were Fresno people. It’s a common mistake.

E says:

What a b****! That Men’s magazine “study” was bogus. As a writer she should know better than to reference something with such ridiculous sources. She sounds really bitter for no reason. Maybe her hometown sucks.

EJ Schultz says:

E.J. here, the Bee’s state reporter. I gotta weigh in here because it drives me nuts every time I see a national reporter parachute in and lazily describe Fresno. Without fail, it is described as “dusty” farm town. While Fresnans are proud of the city’s rich agricultural tradition and farming still plays a vital economic role, the fact is we are the fifth-largest city in the nation’s largest state with an incredibly diverse population. And “dusty”? Don’t even get me started. It’s like there’s some unwritten rule that national writers must use this phrase. Where are the cliché police?

Heather says:

What E.J. said.

mdub420 says:

haha, i started laughing when i saw that last night on the news. i said to myself, there’s going to be a post about this on the beehive tomorrow.

stevecrozz says:

Of course this is just a stereotype, but it’s one that’s not going away anytime soon.

I think the correct response is to accept it with a sense of humor (even if no humor was intended) and at the same time do what we can to prove we don’t fit that description.

Jennifer says:

I have a hard time believing “the whole town went bananas” over Swift. I didn’t even know she was here recently, and definietly never heard of Taylor Swift Day.

Jennifer says:

p.s. thank you Blogicide for skipping pub quiz last night, we finally got our name called for once. In a 4 way tie for 3rd place. In one round. I think we were more excited for the one name drop than the actual winners of the whole night.

blake says:

I’m sure Blogicide *intended* to attend, it’s just that they got lost in the dust storm.
Excuse me, I can’t comment long…have to hitch up the mule and go see if the dust clogged up my white lightenin’ still.

who is taylor swift?

and fresno p.d. are my homies, thanks for telling me that my cell phone ticket was only 20 buks and not to worry about it

Gil Vasquez says:

Maybe Kimberly Cutter was sitting in on the session when Twist was trying to get a dance permit from the City of Fresno & got confused with that town where Footloose is filmed….you know, dusty farm town, homemade aprons, etc.

A Nona Mouse says:

Personally, I like what she said. The fewer people that think this is a great place to be the better. I love having a rush half-hour. I love not having to fight tourists for seats in a restaurant. I love being able to afford a home and a pool and have enough left over for PG & E during the summer. More people would spoil all of that.

The fewer folks that know it’s an affordable place to live, the weather is lovely (yeah, it’s hot but you don’t have to shovel hot), we have great shopping and food and entertainment the better I say.

SBR says:

Hear! Hear!

Carole says:

Actually, the description wasn’t that far off. Although she forgot to mention that we’re the Bible Belt of CA, that Rush Limbaugh is MUCH bigger here than Taylor Swift (you can’t walk through the offices of any City of Fresno dept. and NOT hear his radio show blaring proudly from the desks), and that it is also the meth capital of the U.S.! The only pretentiousness here belongs to the mayor and the snobs in the NE that don’t realize there’s a huge portion of Fresno that lives … gasp … south of Shaw! It’s a dying city. A broke … dying … city.

Michael says:

If it’s a “broke … dying … city” as you say, why are you living here?

I kinda wish the mayor just shrugged it off or something, it seems the reason jokes are made about Fresno is because of knee jerk reactions like this one. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad the mayor has pride in the city, but I wonder if she invited Cutter to a tour of the city would that have served a better purpose?

Mike Oz says:

For what it’s worth: I seriously doubt that Ashley took it upon herself to respond to this. I’m guess that KMPH took it to her and asked for her response to it. This is more media-fueled than knee-jerk reaction.

Besides, if she read The Fresnan, this would have been old news by now.

b2burns says:

Cutter is just another wannabe trying to use a few fancy words to appear witty. When older, she will laugh and reflect, “what tripe!” We just hosted friends from Sao Paulo, Brazil. They absolutely loved Fresno, particularly the tree-shrouded wide street views with the Sierra foothills in the distance. Let’s all have a good laugh at Cutter and then chalk her comments up to immaturity!

kiel says:

Wait a minute. Fresno is dusty. And we’ve got the air quality index to prove it.

peter robertson says:

Dusty? Pretty much.
Rusty? Only when it rains.
Musty? After it rains.
Fusty? Yeah, sometimes that too.
;)

Oh! Who’s Taylor Swift?

Jeffrey Whitaker says:

Gosh, I’m born and raised in the Fresno area. Why do Fresnans always get uptight when an outta towner says something negative about Fresno. I don’t see Los Angelenos get upset when outa towners complain about traffic?? We Fresnanas just need to realize that other people are gonna have there own ideas about our fair city, don’t get upset, it’s not gonna solve anything, just be larger than that and we make this a great city by our character.

559rell says:

HELLA dusty. You can actually smell the dirt in the air if you’ve been gone for a while and arrive home by plane. It’s a crazy realization.

But, like you said, it’s the truth, just like that LA traffic. But, they agree with the truth and go about their day in the city they love.

We should do the same. Most of the negativity I’ve read is true, and it’s okay to agree with it and STILL love plenty of things about this town/city.

Sure, the journalist didn’t have to take such a jab at Fresno for her piece, but, oh well. Sometimes people say stupid things from stupid embellished opinions. It happens.

Enjoy your city, be happy about it’s potential and enjoy your day :-)

~Rell.

Beth Bridges says:

It’s poor reporting. She hasn’t been to Big Hat Days, has no idea what it is and just took the name to sound like something that fit her stereotype of Fresno. Big Hat Days drew vendors from 15 different states this year!

Nary a homemade apron or Easy Spirit in sight! =)

Chase Sanborn says:

Gen. McChrystal here:

Bite me.

Rochelle says:

I remember when living just south of Shaw was actually the north side of Fresno. You could walk across an empty field from my house to go to Fresno State to go bowling and watch concerts at the Amphitheater. Or better yet, float in the backyard pool and listen to the summer concerts if we were short on money for tickets. Heard my entire neighborhood laughing at Steve Martin when he played there. Man, I am OLD.