Culture Snob: Tom Menino vs. Michael Flaherty

It’s time again for Dan Morrell’s Culture Snob, wherein our correspondent sizes up public figures based on their cultural preferences. This week we break down the battle between the mayor, and his would-be challenger.

So, everyone loves Menino. God Save the King and all that. But someone has to run against him, and The Phoenix says the number one challenger is Michael Flaherty, City Councilor. Here’s how he compares to Hizzoner on the matters the voting public should care about.


Menino: Filene’s Basement Suits

Flaherty: “Crisp, gray suit”

Winner: Menino

Being born in the Southie PJ’s and pushing an Edwardsian message of “two Bostons” ain’t gonna cut it for Flaherty unless he throws on something a bit more blue collar. This is, after all, how James Traficant stayed in power for so long.


Menino: None

Flaherty: Facebook, MySpace

Winner: Menino

Menino really should try and stamp out a few of the fake myspace pages, but he has at least become digitally aware enough to employ the ever popular noseless frowny face emoticon (via a recent chat):

cat-rodent__Guest_: hi mister mayor, do you have tickets to today’s game?

Mayor_Thomas_M__Menino: No. : (

But the real reason Flaherty loses is his myspace friends. The lone group he’s joined (assuming that it is really his profile, of course) is something called “The Time Is N O W”, a group apparently led by Infinite Recordz—whose myspace page opens to a decent little basement hip-hop track courtesy of “DEEP ShiT Productions.” Flaherty gets minus points for the group’s affiliation with Creators777, whose myspace page prominently features every freshman’s favorite internet conspiracy film, Zeitgeist. You’d hate to see this become a sort of digital version of Obama/Ayers. Then everyone loses.


Menino: Jimmy Buffet

Flaherty: Black Eyed Peas, Dave Matthews Band

Winner: Flaherty

Yes, The Dave Matthews Band is, in many ways, the corduroys-and-Jetta version of Jimmy Buffet. But here’s what does it:

“Menino says he’ll wear a Tommy Bahama shirt (an upscale island-attire label) and slacks to the concert and is looking forward to hearing his favorite song — ”Margaritaville.” The mayor does not drink, but enjoys the easygoing atmosphere the song suggests.”

Listen, there are some events that need a few drinks to be enjoyed—NASCAR races, church, childbirth, court appearances—but Jimmy Buffet concerts are at the top of the list.


He’s a charming throwback. Like the uncle who pulls the ole’ quarter out of your ear trick on you after you are well into your 30s. Besides, who wants a well-dressed, wired aesthete in public office?