Editorial ignites war of words between Columbia, Charleston

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Stand up and applaud yourself, Columbia: you're No. 5 on Kiplinger's list of "10 Great Places to Live"! While you're patting yourselves on the back for a job well done, take a moment to read this op-ed piece from the Charleston Post and Courier.



Well, then.  

In case you didn't click the above link or you're just looking for the Cliff's Notes edition, here's the deal -- columnist Brian Hicks takes several satirical pot shots at South Carolina's capital city in this article.

"Besides, it's not like it takes anything away from Charleston," said Hicks. "After all, this is a list of '10 Great Places to Live,' not 'The 10 Greatest Places to Live.' If it had been, well, we know who would have been on the list — and who wouldn't have been. But no one in the most mannerly city in America would say anything so obvious."

Even the headline of the article just oozes the smarm: "Columbia: Apparently a great place to live. Really."

Apparently the article about this great place to live has a lot of you up in arms. Really.

In a noontime web chat, it was clear Hicks was already getting heavy return fire from the Midlands. At least one Columbia defender suggested Hicks should perhaps step in front of a bus.

Others were considerably more diplomatic.

We got this statement from Ric Luber, head of the Midlands Authority for Conventions, Sports and Tourism.

"We in our day to day work promoting South Carolina recognize Charleston and its accomplishments," said Luber. "We would hope Charleston can likewise recognize the work and accomplishments occurring across the Columbia region."

Mayor Steve Benjamin also chimed in on the editorial through a statement.

"I thought it was cute," said Benjamin. "He forgot to mention that we've also been named one of the Best College Towns, one of the 10 Most Creative Cities and 20 Most Well-Read Cities in America, one of the 30 Best Cities for Young Entrepreneurs, 2nd in the nation for High Tech Growth and one of the 25 Best Places to Retire in the nation. But, whatever. It was cute."

But Shige Kobayashi, who came up with the slogan "Columbi-Yeah!", has his own take on this town.

"I grew up in South Carolina and took the South Carolina history classes, and I was told growing up that the whole reason Columbia was invented was to serve the rest of the state," said Kobayashi. "Columbia itself doesn't get a lot of credit, so if there's a newspaper guy in Charleston who looks at Columbia and says, 'Well, Columbia looks nice, but I'd rather stay in my corner of the state here,' then to me, that says that we here in Columbia have done exactly what we set out to do."

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