The Upper Ohio Valley is really, really fired up about that “Criminal Minds” portrayal in its “Blood Relations” episode on April 2. My blog post about the TV show has been read by more than 26,000 people so far, crazy considering Wheeling’s population is not much more than that.
On the opposite side, you’ll find cynics turning a fire hose on the mob with two categories of dismissal:
- “It’s just a stupid TV show.”
- “It’s just a stupid city.”
So, those of you who are upset, let’s talk. The Rolling-the-Eyes Set is embarrassed that you care this much. And let’s face it: Have some of you let your anger take control of your faculties? Oh yeah, so maybe consider turning down the heat to a rolling seethe.
But I’ll tell you straight out: I’ll take overreaction and outrage over detachment and disdain any day.
Anger is better than apathy. Anger isn’t good, of course. A lot of people need to grab a PBR and calm down a notch. But your anger shows that you think something is at stake with the portrayal of Wheeling in such an inaccurate way.
A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold. Proverbs 22:1
So, when the city you love is hit with a double-layer crapcake of not only misinformation, but misinformation from an entirely different region, what is that feeling, rising in your soul?
Love is jealous, in that old definition way: “fiercely protective or vigilant of one’s rights or possessions.” Everyone who has lived in Wheeling, or grew up there and now lives elsewhere, can list Wheeling as one of his possessions, as something to protect and be vigilant about.
Ah, you’re ignoring all the problems in Wheeling, say the naysayers.
For right now, yes. Love does that sometimes. But apathy never fixes anything. Apathy is too afraid to care too much, afraid to look ridiculous.
But love is ridiculous. It’s the ridiculousness of the fanboy.
Reject the “cool shaming.” Embrace your love for Wheeling.
Remember, though, that loving a city can be like loving an older brother with a gambling problem. Oh, how he can neglect his duties! He shuns offers of assistance. Sometimes, we have to distance ourselves, just to keep our sanity. But man, we always wish the best for him and cheer for every glimmer of hope.
Also, and very importantly, no one outside the family gets to take a shot at him.
So, writers of “Criminal Minds,” as you fly from coast to coast, I hope you can keep a lesson in mind. This jealous love for our city? This is how true blood relations work.
Photo of downtown Wheeling courtesy of Joseph A on Flickr