Frequently referred to as the “armpit of America,” New Jersey is possibly the least-liked state in the Union. It’s not helped by pop culture (The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire), or its shitty politicians (Chris Christie, those mayors that were selling kidneys on the black market). Here to duke it out over the Garden State are Amanda Patterson of Amanda Elsewhere and Matt Hershberger of A Man Without A Country:
Hi Matt. Maybe we should talk about why we’re here. Last week on Twitter, you took offense to my taking offense that any part of America would be shocked by the idea that Chris Christie actually did know about those bridge lane closures (because, c’mon, fucking duh) and then I said that New Jersey is the worst (which, if you know me, is a pretty established stance <I woke up this way>). But I think it’s pretty established that New Jersey ranks 50 out of 50, dating back to forever and not even Bruce Springsteen can change that true fact.
Hey Amanda! Okay, to be fair, Chris Christie is a douche, and the idea he didn’t know was a bit of a stretch. That said, it’s become incredibly fashionable to shit on New Jersey, and it’s undeserved. I’ve got a theory that as soon as the show How I Met Your Mother does something, it’s passe and needs to end. They did it with the words “epic” and “legendary,” they did it with bro culture, they did it with laugh-track sitcoms, and they did it to New Jersey haters. And seriously, go to a Springsteen concert and tell me it doesn’t fix everything wrong with the world.
If it’s fashionable to hate New Jersey, then it’s fashionable in the way that denim jeans are fashionable. My sympathies to Ted Mosby. I dated a guy who lived (lives) in New Jersey and it was a deal-breaker before the first traffic circle. Did you know they charge you $0 to cross the bridge into New Jersey but charge you $5 to come back into Pennsylvania? I basically had to pay the equivalent of a Starbucks latte for the privilege to be back in Philadelphia. Are you aware of how sad that sentence is? I was so traumatized dating him that when I saw a bum peeing on a Wawa the last time I got back into Philly, I thought, “My people!” You know, try as they might – those bridge toll angels – it doesn’t even stop them from coming here on Friday nights in fleets. Fleets! You can always tell who they are, too, speaking of fashion.
Being in Philadelphia for free is traumatizing, god knows how awful it must be to have to pay to be there. And of course you can tell who they are. They don’t reek of cheesesteak and stale Yuengling. Seriously, though, I’ll give you that there are some crappy spots in Jersey, and that you happen to be quite close to two of the worst: Camden and Trenton. That said, there are crappy spots in every state (I wouldn’t want my native Ohio to be judged by Akron), and Jersey has some awesome spots, too: the Shore is awesome, and Jersey City and Hoboken are a lot of fun. And as for that Jersey Shore stereotype? Yeah, 6 of the 8 of them were from New York. So let’s give credit where it’s due: A lot of things people say suck about New Jersey are equally true of New York, and no one shits on them. Also, not everyone in New Jersey is an Italian gangster or greaseball. Some of them are Irish.