Cedar Rapids has a lot to be proud of: from its blue-collar roots and tech industry developments to the resurgence following the flood of 2008. CR was even named an All-American City in 2014. But despite those past accolades and accomplishments, my hometown just can't catch a break on Urban Dictionary.

If you check out the entry for Cedar Rapids on the Urban Dictionary site, the definitions are far from flattering. Here are just a few high(low)lights:

The largest speed trap in the USA, cleverly disguised as a city with an inferiority complex.

A city located in East Central Iowa... It is known for... absolutely nothing... One of the few places in the nation over 100,000 people where people are actually known to cruise the town's First Avenue. 

And this one gets long and strangely poetic:

An expression for a destitute wasteland void of all human dignity and hope, in which there are more bars than books, and the inhabitance of those bars will talk endlessly to try and convince you that this is where they wanted their life to end up. Where the scale of social structure is so below par when compared to other cities, that the absence of homeless people is less a reflection of a prosperous community, but rather the fact that it is better to be homeless anywhere, than to have a home in Cedar Rapids. Where corn syrup souls only get away with lying to themselves, and where abandoned downtown buildings stand as the most accurate impersonation of a place with any semblance of reality. Where hangovers subsidize the layovers of lives whose plane will never leave the gate, and where the only cultures that survive are the bacteria in the back of your mouth. Where going for a walk is an oddity worthy of drive by heckling. Where daybreak has no sunrise, and nightfall has no sunset. Where children stand on the tips of their toes and look past the looming curvature of the earth in the hopes of seeing some place their dreams can run to without collapsing of exhaustion. An eddy on the side of the Cedar River where people begin to stagnate into everything they never wanted to be.


Now, Urban Dictionary is a crowd-sourced online dictionary, which means its definitions are written and provided by individual users. Are native Cedar Rapidians talking about their city like this? Or is it all just disgruntled travelers who have accrued speeding tickets while passing through?

In either case, the Cedar Rapids Chamber of Commerce might want to consider drafting and publishing a sunnier description of our fair city on the UD site to balance the scales a bit.

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