I am not from Boston, but I moved there and lived in Dorchester for about six months.
From Dorchester, I moved to Cambridge, then Somerville, then somewhere else in Somerville, then Lexington, then Cambridge, then Somerville then Somerville then …. and so on. The entire time I either worked for, was a student at, or taught at Harvard, which is in Cambridge.
Boston, Somerville, Cambridge, Medford, Alltson, etc. are all mushed together as one big urban zone around and including Boston. And, historically, the smaller cities around Boston have been absorbed into the Beantown Borg over time. Charlestown, where the Battle of Bunker Hill happened (on nearby Breed’s Hill) used to be separate. South Boston was created out of neighboring communities in 1804. East Boston was annexed in 1855, Roxbury in 1867. Then Dorchester, West Roxbury, Brighton, Charleston, and Hyde Park by 1913. Over historical time, a lot of people grew up outside of Boston in a community that, by the time they died, was in Boston.
So it is tradition for people to say “I lived in Boston” or “I am flying to Boston next week” and really they hardly step foot in Boston proper, which is both a place and an attitude, because that is how we talk about Boston. Back when I lived there, I had the five-five rule to remember the demographics. About 500K people live in Boston, and 5 million live in the GBA (Greater Boston Area). Meanwhile, all those people crammed into the urban zone commonly use the term “Boston” to refer to where they live or once did.
I now live in Minnesota. When people ask about my background, I say, “I’m from New York, but I lived in Boston many years before coming to Minnesota, except when I was in the Congo or Milwaukee.” However, the truth is, I grew up in New York State, not New York City (a distinction lost on most Minnesotans), lived mostly in Somerville, and 9 of those 12 months in Milwaukee were actually in Shorewood, which is to Milwaukee what Somerville is to Cambridge/Boston. Crammed in there, where many people who live there actually live.
The reason I mention all this is to warm up the part of your brain that has to do with geographical identity, especially vis-a-vis Beantown.
(For completeness, I’ve lived in the Twin Cities ever since moving to Minnesota. But really, I’ve lived in Falcon Heights, the home of the Saint Paul Campus of UMN, New Brighton, Fridley, Minneapolis, Coon Rapids, and Plymouth.)
Anyway, I have something for those of you who understand and know something about Boston, sensu large. You will ROFLYAO, most likely. There is a moment in this presentation of Lawrence O’Donnell’s when you think, “oh, listen, he’s slipping into his old accent,” but really, he’s just having fun with the audience. If you don’t have any connections with Boston, this may not be worth watching, so I’ll give you the key meaningful point below. But if you have that Boston connection, watch and enjoy!
The key point: Fox News Lies!!!!!! (Secondary point: Tucker Carlson is an asshole.)