published Monday, September 12th, 2011

Chattanooga praised, slammed by Outside magazine

  • photo
    The cover of the October 2011 issue of Outside Magazine teases the "Where to Live Now" story, which profiles the winner of the 2011 contest, Chattanooga. The winner was determined through a social media contest and rulings from judges.
    Outside Magazine

An online competition that saw 21,975 voters choose Chattanooga as the “best town ever” prompted Outside magazine to feature the city on the front of its October issue.

Author Chuck Thompson commended the city for its natural beauty and the many opportunities for climbing, swimming, biking, caving and whitewater rafting within a few miles of downtown.

But while Oregon native Thompson found plenty to like about the Scenic City’s trails and streams, he took Chattanooga to task for its industrial roots, conservative values and its lack of a dating scene.

“It’s not easy twisting your head around the idea of Outside’s Best Town being in a place with a history of monstrous industrial abuse . . . ubiquitous evangelical dogma, and a reputation for red-state conservatism,” Thompson wrote.

However, he softened his stance when noting that despite appearances, Chattanooga “doesn’t always follow the script.”

“Besides, the best cities are sometimes the ones that haven’t quite arrived,” Thompson wrote.

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about Ellis Smith...

Ellis Smith joined the Chattanooga Times Free Press in January 2010 as a business reporter. His beat includes the flooring industry, Chattem, Unum, Krystal, the automobile market, real estate and technology. Ellis is from Marietta, Ga., and has a bachelor’s degree in mass communication at the University of West Georgia. He previously worked at UTV-13 News, Carrollton, Ga., as a producer; at the The West Georgian, Carrollton, Ga., as editor; and at the Times-Georgian, Carrollton, ...

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bjennings55 said...

Some would say Chattanooga is such a livable city largely because of its conservative and strong Christian values. Look at the many strong nonprofit charities and foundations based here. These didn't all spring up from secular humanists; many were founded by church-led or -inspired organizations, such as the Chattanooga Area Food bank.

September 12, 2011 at 11:04 a.m.
ChattanoogaVol said...

So Chattanooga's too religous and too conservative for Chuck Thompson's liking huh? Not surprised coming from a guy from Oregon. Maybe that's one of reasons people like living in the Chattanooga area. I guess that went way over Chuck's (liberal and less religous) head.

September 12, 2011 at 11:20 a.m.
Facts said...

bjennings55, Awesome point! Can you imagine if a Christian publication went to Oregon & blasted their secular culture that apparently voted to elect our current President? The double standards are staggering.

September 12, 2011 at 11:41 a.m.
HarlequinKnight said...

Truly, part of Chattanooga's charm and warmth comes, in part, from the love and Christian ideals of much of its population. But the ire being expressed here speaks more to the negative elitist side of our Christian communities than anything that would make Chattanooga a nice place to live. If you wonder why the magazine cited conservatism as a negative, just look at how kind, forgiving, and loving our Christian communities can not be. Both to each other and outsiders. Look at your own words. Nothing the first couple of posters have said contradicts the point made in the article. In fact, it proves it. Best thing about Chattanooga? The people. Worst thing about Chattanooga? The people.

September 12, 2011 at 11:58 a.m.
manlyman said...

"lack of a dating scene"?! What the heck does that mean? Does that mean Mr. Thompson got turned down by one of our local beauties while he visited here? Or has he even visited here. I've never had trouble getting a date (when I was single) and the religious or political persuasion of the populace here has never infringed on my lifestyle. And I'm one of those left-wing pinko commie Jesus hatin' baby killers. (sarcasm intended)

September 12, 2011 at 12:02 p.m.
Beamis said...

Does anyone really care what Outside magazine has to say about anything? These best and worst lists are a huge joke at best and huge waste of time at their worst. As far as the conservatism and religious piety of the local population infringing on anyone's so-called lifestyle I find that also to be a joke.

September 12, 2011 at 12:17 p.m.
jayhay182 said...

Like how the picture has Mocassin Bend facility right on the front.

September 12, 2011 at 12:34 p.m.
Tax_Payer said...

Bull crap! I got plenty of dates in Chattanooga.

September 12, 2011 at 12:44 p.m.
kdawg said...

Not religious nor conservative. I find it extremely easy to ignore the religious community and who cares about a persons political persuassion when dealing with them on a personal level anyway? I'm orginally from Connecticut and have often said while Connecticut may be politically liberal it is socially conservative. I think the exact opposite is true of Chattanooga. People of all persuassions are warm and inviting here. Sounds to me like Chuck Thompson is a close minded individual. When someone chooses to associate with others who only share their own value system, whether they tend to be liberal or conservative, they are unable to look past silly labels.

September 12, 2011 at 12:45 p.m.
architect said...

I moved here from the ultra liberal San Francisco Bay Area, not for the environment but to be with the conservative, religious woman that I love. While Chattanooga does not have the environmental diversity of California's Bay Area, it has far more than I expected and I love it here. Many of the people here are religious, but none have ever tried to force their views on me, and people here are genuinely friendly, with only a few exceptions. As for the industrial history of Chattanooga, the changes in the last 50 years have been remarkable. See the "Chattanooga's Heroic Drive" book for details.

September 12, 2011 at 12:49 p.m.

South Carolina-born Chattanooga Mayor Bob "I've Got The Golden Pen" Corker violated a conservation easement to sell protected wetlands so we could get a new and much-needed Wal-Mart in Brainerd...

September 12, 2011 at 1:01 p.m.
sbm362 said...

"Does anyone really care what Outside magazine has to say about anything?"

For what it's worth...I think the CVB probably does and they help keep thousands of Chattanoogans in the "hospitality" industry employed. Those visitors they help to bring in also provide local businesses with revenue.

September 12, 2011 at 1:11 p.m.
joneses said...

I think many are over exagerating the forcing of religion on others in this area. I am all over town every week and night and have been for decades and have never had anyone try to force religion upon me. A person preaching in public is not an example of forced religion. it is just a guy preaching in public. If you do not want him forcing his point of view on you then ignore him. It is a choice. The fact that Chuck Thompson is basing his opinion on Chattanooga's past is stupid. Why would he consider something that does not exist in his judgement of Chattanooga?

September 12, 2011 at 1:27 p.m.

I think Chuck Thompson has done us a big favor.

If we were more like Portland or Santa Fe or even Asheville then we would attract the grungy unemployable drug dependant deadbeats who infest those cities and pose as outdoor enthusiast.

September 12, 2011 at 2:10 p.m.
dao1980 said...

Chattanooga is pretty much a wonderful place, it gets my vote!

Oh, wait.. are we voting?

September 12, 2011 at 2:51 p.m.
01centare said...

The fact that it is a conservative, Christian community has much to do with that.

Actually, those conservative and Christian observations exist only on the surface. Behind closed doors is where the truth lies. Remember: I*ntegrity is who we are and how we act when no one's around to record us.* A totally different, intolerant, non-"Christ-like" and conservative(only when the word refers to bigotry and intolerance) with little to no values Chattanooga exist behind closed doors.

September 12, 2011 at 2:56 p.m.
esaletnik said...

I think this is the authors veiled way of stating that, yes, Chattanooga is rich in scenic vistas and outdoor activities but once your done with that you might as well be in the Pennsylvania Dutch country if you're looking for nightlife or edgy entertainment. And for all those here who say that Christian conservative values are not forced on anyone, I only remind you of all the "liquor by the drink" ordinances that are voted down constantly.

September 12, 2011 at 3:32 p.m.
memphisexile said...

I don't understand why an magazine called "Outside" is concerned with nightlife, politics or religion. Shouldn't this author just stick with what is outside? I think he is probably just pissed his beloved Portland was not #1, so he slammed Chattanooga with whatever stereotypes he could come up with. Way to go guy. As far as dating scene goes, that is on him. The City of Chattanooga cannot chat up girls (or guys) for Mr. Thompson.

September 12, 2011 at 3:53 p.m.
bryseana said...

He obviously didn't visit Frazier Ave.

September 12, 2011 at 4:07 p.m.
Tennessee1 said...

Maybe Chuck should stay the f*** out of Chattanooga if he doesnt like ALL of Chattanooga...

September 12, 2011 at 9:07 p.m.
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