Capital Citizen with Clinton Yates (May 5)

May 05, 2014

Local columnist Clinton Yates takes your questions about politics, pop culture, people and whatever else you like from D.C.

What's up, gang? Glad you can join us this week. It's been a while since we last chatted, so I'm glad to be able to get back to your questions. A lot has happened, too. Let's get to it.

Is there any DC event more insufferable than the WHCD?

Ha, I figured there would be quite a few questions about this event. Personally, it's not one I attend. I emailed one friend about one party whom I thought my know something about it, and got no response.

What's interesting about the event is that the coverage of the event proverbially jumping of the shark, has itself, jumped the shark. I read more stuff this year in line with the very sentiment of this question, than I did actually stuff taking the event super seriously.

All that said, as a D.C. journalist, that night is an "avoid Twittter" night for sure. There are only so many pictures of people making faces with folks they'll probably never talk to again in their lives while wearing nice clothes.

I didn't even go to my own senior prom, so Nerd Prom is not exactly my bag. It's the easiest indication of how Washington separates from D.C. Not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just one of those things. 

What was your favorite moment?

My favorite moment in this, as pretty much is the case with any event involving presidential pomp, is seeing what FLOTUS is wearing. 

She radiates such an incredible elegance and seeing her operate among crowds that she is basically forced to, is always interesting. She looked fabulous again this weekend. 

Think the 'Zards have a legitimate chance this year, or should '13-14 be looked at as an experience builder, with any series wins just a nice bonus?

I'm not really sure what "a legitimate chance" qualifies as here, but if it's "a legitimate chance to regain respectability in the NBA," then that already happened. There are a lot of people, experts and fans alike, who think this team can and will be the Pacers.

I think that's a bit hasty, but don't be shocked if it happened. Also, I would reject the notion that the first two premises are mutually exclusive. There's only one team that can win the trophy, so if you go down doing the best you can and make it relatively far, you've both been a legit contender and built experience. 

I will say this, I will be surprised if the Wizards don't win Game 1.

What do you think are the team's chances against the Pacers?

As I said before, I think their chances are very good. Roy Hibbert has been a complete mystery this season, playing at an All-Star level, then suddenly dropping off the face of the earth.

If Roy Hibbert is on Roy Hibbert's best form, the Wizards have no real chance against the Pacers. But if the Zards' front court can find a way to neutralize him, relatively, this series suddenly becomes very winnable. 

The matchup to watch, for me, is Paul George versus Trevor Ariza. One of those guys has a championship ring. It's not George.

How is it possible that a pop star and the Wizards could have a potential conflict at the Verizon Center this week? Is Ted Leonsis that clueless?

This is easily the single funniest story to come out of the playoffs so far. If you haven't read it, here's the story from Dan Steinberg, with the headline: "Lady Gaga’s Little Monsters freaking out over potential Wizards conflict."

Everything about this makes me laugh. 

1. This happened at all. You'd think that the team would look as close as the SECOND ROUND when trying to estimate when one of its regular occcupants might no longer be playing. 

2. It's Lady Gaga. We're not talking about some aging rocker, whose fans probably don't care that much about missing a random concert. She has a very particular fanbase that does not enjoy being messed with. People have outfits to plan, folks.

3. Again, that this happened at all. As tribute, all music played at that game, whenever it happens, needs to be Gaga tunes. Obviously.

I was having this discussion with a friend about great Maryland neighborhoods, what is your opinion on the best of offerings north of the DC border?

I happen to be partial to Silver Spring, simply because it's closest to where I grew up in D.C. The diversity, the fun for adults and kids, but that's just me.

Bethesda has become almost undoable on every level unless you live there. Traffic and construction have made the area real tough sledding, and I don't see myself taking the train out there on any regular basis just to eat ice cream, or whatever. Nice when there, though.

One of the more slept on communities in Maryland, IMO, though, is Wheaton. I love Wheaton. Always have, always will. 

guessing that you saw the wild footage of the recent road collapse in bmore. there have been sinkholes/potholes/a**holes all over dc streets and nobody seems to care. can we ramp up the convo on urban infrastructure improvements?? why not?

I don't think the average person has any idea what goes into understanding urban infrastructure on even the most basic levels. People don't want to be around for fixing anything, they just want to be there when it's fixed. 

That's why nobody takes it seriously from a planning standpoint until their car gets swallowed up or yanno, COLLAPSES INTO THE EARTH, which is frightening, btw. 

Just take a look at what's happening in Virginia with the Silver Line. People are aghast that the stations don't have tons of parking, because they can't understand that the whole point is to create more walkable communities, somewhat organically, rather than just trying to accomodate those already there.

Urban infrastructure will always be a boring topic for as long as people continue to believe that change is not necessarily a good thing.

What is the next neighborhood in DC that will go through a process of renewal?

Let's be clear about something: the word "renewal" in this context is heavily loaded and to a certain degree, dangerous. I realize that in this specific context it is innocuous, but it's the continued repetition of this overall concept that is harmful.

Ask any person who's been here for more than 50 years what they think of when they hear the words "Urban renewal." I can tell you: "Negro removal." Because that's what actually happened. So, be careful with that.

Neighborhoods-wise though, the fact is that there are not that many super run-down neighborhoods in D.C. anymore, necessarily. You can point to places east of the Anacostia, but again, I would not qualify any of that development as renewal. 

That word would imply that nothing has been happening there for some time, which is pretty offensive to those who've been there all along.

All that aside, it will be fascinating to see how the Southwest Waterfront will evolve with The Wharf project coming along. That's a situation where the goal is to legitimately change the whole vibe of the area, for better or worse.

Any chance the maoyral race will be a real race with a possible Republican win?

No. Also, the race is plenty real. Just because one particular party has no major foothold or frankly, interest in participating in the city's local affairs, doesn't disqualify the election as real.

pie is the new cupcake and ramen is racing quinoa to see which gets scarfed then scorned by hipsters the fastest. what should we look for next? this is a loaded question all i want is for you to encourage a pizza roll renaissance..

You, my friend, win this week's award for "Caring Way Too Much About What Other People Think About What You Put Into Your Body."

Eat the food you like and makes you feel good. Not the food you  think will make you look cooler when people see you eating it. Same goes for music, and listening.

Ok its Premier league crunch time this week, whats your prediction? Personally I hope Man City stumble against Villa so we have some real last game drama this weekend.

I don't do a whole ton of predictions. I thought Man City was the best team the league before the season started. I still do.

Their latest ruling seems awfully religiously biased. Thoughts?

I tend to agree with that. ICYMI, here's the opening of the story, from The Post's Robert Barnes.

A divided Supreme Court ruled Monday that legislative bodies such as city councils can begin their meetings with prayer, even if it plainly favors the religion of the speaker.

The court ruled 5 to 4 that Christian prayers given before meetings of an upstate New York town council did not violate the constitutional prohibition against government establishment of religion.

Myself, I disagree with this ruling. I think that on a whole in this country, there is way, way too much God in almost everything, and it's extremely annoying. I don't just say that as secular humanist, I say that as someone that would rather not have to hear a prayer everytime I go to a public event. Huge waste of time on many fronts.

I enjoy your chat, but I think you need more participants so we can have interesting chat threads. Maybe the Post can do a marketing campaign on your behalf?

Ha, considering the nature of your question, this seems to be an interesting way to utilize the time you have at hand. But I appreciate it. 

I just write (among other things, of course.) I can't really control what marketing does, but if you like them, please do tell a friend! (or six, your choice.)

Thanks again, though. 

So in conjunction with your response to the public prayer at government gatherings, what are your feelings about "God Bless America" at baseball games? Personally, I can't stand it and refuse to stand during it, but don't let that affect your answer.

MEGA time-waster. But the whole discussion about time being wasted at baseball games is a whole other matter.

There was a great story once written by a pastor, I believe on this. *searching*

Ugh, can't find it right now. If I do, will post before the end of the chat.

So in conjunction with your answer about GBA at baseball games, how do you feel about "instant" replay/challenges/plays under review? Talk about a true time waster. Will it be retired after this season? Do you think if all the managers stopped using it, it would go away? PS: I think I read the article by the pastor about GBA at games, it sounds really familiar.

A "true" time waster? If you think getting calls right is a time waster, I'm not sure why you're even watching sports. I've said before, I'd get rid of the challenges, but definitely not replay. 

If you're don't want calls to be correct, fine. But spending time on the actual officiating of the game isn't a waste just because we're not used to it.

Alright, folks. I think we're going to end here. Thanks again for everyone's participation and I'll see you next time!

In This Chat
Clinton Yates
Clinton Yates is a D.C. native and an online columnist. He was born at GWU hospital the week before Ronald Reagan ended up there for the wrong reasons. When he's not covering the city, pop culture or listening to music, he watches sports. A lot of them.
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