We’ve been talking a lot here at the Seattle Met office about the city’s recent role on the national stage, a phenomenon we’ve been referring to informally as the Seattle Moment. I doubt we’re alone. You’d have to have your skull trepanned by Bertha—were that comically large deep-bore tunnel drill actually functioning—to miss that Seattle is undergoing something like a renaissance.
And I do mean the Seattle Moment, that definitive article distinguishing this epoch from any other that might lay claim. What is a Klondike Gold Rush, anyway, other than hundreds of smelly hirsute white men mucking around in the Yukon or playing Masters of the Universe in downtown cigar lounges, quite possibly in front a taxidermic polar bear while grumbling about that bastard Grover Cleveland? The 1962 World’s Fair? Candied apples and impractical space trains. The 1990s? “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and the WTO protests, sure, but it’s also the decade that gifted us The Real World: Seattle and Microsoft Office’s cartoonicide-inducing virtual assistant Clippit.
No, as far as Seattle eras go, I’ll take this one right here.
The Seattle Moment is the Seahawks winning the Super Bowl. It’s hearing Macklemore’s “Same Love” on the radio so many times you’re equal parts proud and praying for temporary deafness. The Seattle Moment is Amazon, admire or hate it, and the company’s ongoing ascendancy—an ascendancy soon to be aided via Everything Store drones. It’s the passage of the highest minimum wage in the country, gay marriage, and legal recreational marijuana—all three of which have dominoed across the country, sure to change the U.S. forever.
Finally as Laura Cassidy, in her final piece of writing for this magazine (“Owning It: Why I Don’t Think Seattle Is Fashionable”), so eloquently explains, the Seattle Moment is also the city’s look. Exported around the globe, the look is not fashion, which “is something you buy,” Cassidy explains, but style, which is “about what you can glean. What you can aspire to be.”
She’d know. Cassidy started here as an associate editor eight years ago, aspired for more, reinvented herself, and exited in September as the style editor, helping shape the look and much of the voice of the magazine.
That may be the common ingredient in all the city’s recent achievements. Reinvention. Coach Pete Carroll, a man unlike any NFL coach, took a losing football team and reinvented it. With no shortage of ingenuity and cantankerousness, Amazon’s founder—adopted, Texan, Wall Street type—turned his little online bookstore into the most feared retail company on the planet. The city’s electorate, meanwhile, refused to duck some of the greatest injustices of our time and either voted for remedies or elected officials who would.
I’m looking forward to seeing what all these people—from the professional athletes to Seattle voters to my former colleague—do in the future. There’s no telling what it will be. That’s the point. And that’s why this Seattle Moment is better than any other.
Seriously, those Klondike guys smelled really bad.