"...the simple fact that (at least in Baltimore) everyone’s an artist." -- John Barry, "Staging Ground", Baltimore City Paper, Dec 26 2012
Sure, I live in the suburbs, not in the city proper. But culturally, I'm a Baltimorean, or a Baltimoron, going back several generations in all directions. My accent may be duller than my grandparents', flattened out by growing up around TV, but bits of East Baltimore are still evident in my speech. There are photos in the family album of my brother and me as kids sitting on the cannons at Fort McHenry. (I'm sure that's a crime but trust that the statute of limitations has passed.) I can't hear the National Anthem, even an instrumental version, without putting in a loud "O!", at least inside my head. (And if you don't like it, tough; Baltimore gave the nation that song after we saved the country from the British in 1814, so if we want to add a little flourish to it, I say it's our civic right.) And though I'm not much of a sports fan, deep in my heart I still believe that that Baltimore Orioles are morally superior to any other major league baseball team.
For most of my life, loving Baltimore has been more of a faith-based proposition than anything grounded in reality. There's no doubt that it's a city with problems. It remains one of the nation's most murderous cities (fifth highest murder rate by 2011 data), "The City That Bleeds". Deep racial segregation is still a matter of course. City schools are failing. The city government is noted for is ineffectiveness and corruption. The economy still hasn't recovered from the collapse of manufacturing jobs.