In 2014, Baltimore once again grappled with how it presented itself to the rest of the country (and world). That’s reflected in the most-read Baltimore Fishbowl stories of the year. The image impasse is a long-running thread around here, but this year readers showed they were interested in more than just reacting to Wire-like representations of the city. And the rest of the country showed they were ready to watch the Baltimore accent on TV. Here’s the top 10:
10. Paragon Outlets Coming to White Marsh
About a year ago, a new outlet mall was announced in White Marsh. The outlets haven’t open, but the buzz was enough to make the Top 10. A 2015 opening is planned.
8. UMBC Among the Ivies
The pride of Baltimore County higher ed earned a place among the elites for its undergraduate teaching. Thanks again, U.S. News and World Report. Hopkins, where were you on this?
7. Molly Shattuck Arrested on Rape Charges
The Delaware State Police’s arrest of the image-conscious former Ravens cheerleader on charges that stemmed from an improper relationship with a teen was the worst-kept secret in town for weeks. When it came, the story made international headlines. There will be more in 2015, as Shattuck has a January court date scheduled.
6. Kathy Bates’s Baltimore Accent Most
American Horror Story viewers were puzzled by the accent deployed by Kathy Bates. But most Baltimore residents immediately recognized it as coming straight outta Highlandtown. The publicity gave a linguist a chance to publicly identify the accent’s main features. According to Kara Becker, the “ew” where the “oo” should go is called “fronting back vowels.”
5. 100-Year-Old Time Capsule Found
The Washington Monument renovations turned up a surprise find in the form of a time capsule that was left behind last time the Mt. Vernon landmark was renovated. Walters Art Museum experts are still figuring out how to open it without damaging anything, but we’re anxiously waiting to see what’s inside next year.
Beyond the arrest itself, the rumor mill that churned even as reporters tried to nail down Molly Shattuck’s arrest provided another dimension to the story. Not only was it talked about at parties and the other usual venues, but readers demanded that it run.
3. House of Cards Casting Call
Baltimore residents don’t just want to watch their accent on TV. They want their own place on the silver screen. House of Cards (and Veep) provided plenty of chances with casting calls. The opportunities may soon be history, as the tax credits that keep the productions using the city as a D.C. stand-in may not last very long into the Hogan tenure.
2. Baltimore in a Box
We know you’re out there, Baltimore ex-pats. This new ready-made care package is spreading local love well beyond the Beltway. Along with being a great idea, the execution was also on-point. Down to the Big Boyz Bail Bonds pens, the creators got it right.
High Wire Act
– National Geographic’s depiction of Baltimore’s heroin epidemic had a name derived from The Wire. But unlike the famed show that was recently re-released in HD, it was one-dimensional and a little lazy in the research department
. At least it wasn’t the only time we were on TV.
Stephen Babcock is the editor of Technical.ly Baltimore and an editor-at-large of Baltimore Fishbowl.
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