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Geography-challenged Vogue writer puts Kansas City on the map — sort of

Ah, once again an East Coast magazine has discovered that Kansas City exists.

And — ho-hum and behold (note rolling eyes) — the author, this time in a new travel piece in Vogue.com that has a few online Kansas Citians shaking their cyber-heads, once again trots out the trope of having had no clue where the city or even the state was located.

“There’s a chance that you’re not entirely sure where Kansas City is,” Marley Marius writes in the first line of her piece.

The young writer, educated at Dartmouth College but graduated last year from Columbia University according to her LinkedIn page, then goes on to write, “There’s also the fact that you might not really know where, exactly, Missouri is. Unless you grew up there … its spot on a map is hardly obvious.”

Marius has a point. Missouri’s sly plan to hide in the dead center of the United States has been ingenious.

“Needless to say, until earlier this month I knew nothing of its contiguity with Kansas,” Marius wrote. At least she is aware enough to later concede, “Ignorance that vigorous is difficult to explain away.”

The Twittersphere lit up with comments:

“I find this article wherein Vogue magazine discovers my hometown both mostly true and incredibly grating,” Gina Kaufmann of KCUR-FM noted, inviting others to chime in.

They did.

“‘Its spot on a map is hardly obvious.’ As opposed (to) what? Vermont?” wrote Kate Bender.

“Doesn’t everyone have to know where the states are in junior high geography?” Michael Frisch commented.

“Get it right Vogue,” another wrote.

The rest of the travelogue is well-researched, in parts even glowing as it also hits upon sensitive parts of Kansas City’s history such as J.C. Nichols’ race-based housing covenants and, quite recently, the public’s mixed feelings over Kansas City International Airport’s planned single terminal.

The piece offers tips on what to do, listing trendier spots, such as the Blue Gallery, Haw Contemporary, Foxtrot Supply, Coki Bijoux and the Green Lady Lounge, and only a few traditional destinations like the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art.

Vogue highlights, among others restaurants, Bluestem, the Belfry, the Antler Room and Novel, described as “an intimate, El Dorado-designed spot on a nondescript corner.”

In fact, the Kansas City architectural firm El Dorado is mentioned so often — six times in the piece — that Frisch, the Twitter user, felt compelled to wonder if the company and author had a connection. The only place the piece mentions to stay is the Crossroads Hotel, designed by El Dorado. The firm’s partner and principal architect, Hesse McGraw, is the piece’s only live-quoted source.

No, McGraw said in a telephone interview with The Star, he had no prior connection to the writer or to Vogue.

“I did not know the author before the interview,” he said. “It was not a junket for us.”

A junket is a paid trip, usually funded by sources looking for positive press, and is not allowed under the ethics policies of most legitimate news organizations in an effort to remain objective.

McGraw said he had no idea he would be the piece’s only live source.

“I was surprised by that as well,” he said.

Also surprising to some readers: Of all the bars and breweries in Kansas City to visit now, Vogue recommended one, The Campground, which remains a mystery to most people in town.

“Where cocktails are concerned, the most anticipated new bar in Kansas City may be The Campground,” Marius wrote, “which for years operated out of Christopher and Cristin Ciesiel’s back shed. (Christopher, who only recently resigned as a registered nurse, was an amateur home-brewer.)“

Located in the West Bottoms, the bar won’t open until Dec. 3, according to its website.

“Always good to focus a solid chunk of the article on an establishment that hasn’t even opened yet, too,” Greg Franklin tweeted. “‘Hypothetically speaking, this place is fantastic!”’

Of course, that’s probably a thing they do in New York, located, well, who knows where?

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