From The “Res Ipsa Loquitur” Fliles: Matt Shirley’s “Worst Attractions” Chart

Who is Matt Shirley? He’s a guy who has hit on the creative social media gimmick of making a daily chart about whatever strikes his fancy. In this case, his chart tells us a lot about—the lack of cultural literacy, biases, and historical ignorance of the people who follow Matt Shirley. The clever thing about a product like this chart is that it relieves its creator of any responsibility for its content. He is responsible for judging the accumulated unstudied opinions of jerks and fools worthy of publication, however.

As the title above suggests, the chart should have obvious implications. However, some of the entries will cause me to strangle on my own disgust unless I mention them. For example,

  • The alleged “worst attraction” in New Hampshire, which may have more cheesy roadside “places of interest” per square mile than any state, is “The Old Man Of The Mountain,” better known as “The Great Stone Face.” I’ve seen it: it was worth the trip, it was unique, and it was a big part of New Hampshire legend and lore: Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote a short story about it.  I once had this exact  same postcard:

The Great Stone Face, aka “The Old Man of the Mountain,” crumbled and disappeared 17 years ago.  Nice due diligence there, Matt!

  • Choosing The Alamo as the worst attraction (“But it’s so small!”) in Texas is signature significance for an ignoramus and an ethics dunce. That selection alerts us that Matt’s followers are incurable lock-step social justice warriors with  onion skin-thick knowledge  and no of an event with as much symbolic significance as historical. It also suggests, like the New Hampshire selection, that people were calling attractions the “worst” without ever having seen them in person.


  • Colonial Williamsburg (Virginia) and Plymouth Rock (Massachusetts)  attract people who honor the founding of what became the United States (so Plymouth Rock is a guess—so what?). They are only bad attractions to those who hate America, and are under the delusion that the world would be a better place if the vast expanse of North America had remained in the possession of the indigenous natives, who would have continued their blithe and idyllic stone age existence forever, or at least until Hitler reduced them to grease.

Our society, through inattention and apathy, somehow have allowed these deluded people to get ominously  close to positions of power.

  • Choosing “Disney”—it’s Walt Disney World, you boobs— as the worst attraction in Florida is also a tell, not to mention risible. That’s  anti-America bias talking too. There’s a reason Disney’s creations were used in the American Pavilion at Expos ’67 to stand for the powerful engine of American popular culture (along with Hollywood, which Matt’s followers also tagged as a “worst.”)

This perverse choice also strongly suggests that the critics have never seen what they have condemned. Even these indoctrinated jerks would enjoy something in Walt Disney World if they were actually there. I have never heard of anyone who didn’t: if you can’t have fun in The Haunted Mansion or Test Track (at EPCOT) to name just two, something’s the matter with you, not the park.

  • Naming the Grand Canyon as “the worst” anything is just inexplicable.


Pointer: Althouse

28 thoughts on “From The “Res Ipsa Loquitur” Fliles: Matt Shirley’s “Worst Attractions” Chart

  1. Hollywood is probably the most overrated thing in California, sure. I would nominate it for Local Thing Most Likely to Dissapoint My Out of State Visitor Friends.

    New Mexico has an entire tourist trap town dedicated to nonexistent aliens. At least the Breaking Bad house is real. Horrible pick.

    Elvis’s birthplace is really well done if you’re into that sort of thing. And Tupelo is a beautiful town to explore. Horrible choice.

    And the worst attraction in Oregon has got to be the nightly Riot and Fireworks Show in downtown Portland.

  2. Jack,

    “ The Great Stone Face, aka “The Old Man of the Mountain,” crumbled and disappeared 17 years ago. Nice due diligence there, Matt!”

    Considering the state still promotes the site as a “memorial” attraction, you’re the one lacking due diligence. They’ve since built a walkway, complete with metal structures which, when viewed at a certain angle, recreate the face profile against the mountain. Speaking from direct experience, it is definitely one of the stupidest reasons to pull over in a country full of them.

    • This is one of your best “gotchas,” but it still is baloney.

      I had never heard or seen a word breathed about that, until I stumbled upon what I assume you are talking about while looking for the photos of the former Face. Why would I, or anyone, think the state would promote a former natural attraction after it ceases to exist? I knew it had crumbled years ago. End of story. You can’t criticize me for not looking for something that was already gone, but even though I did not, I learned about the current sort-of attraction anyway. Your description is misleading.

      The Old Man in the Mountain indeed no longer exists, and cannot be called an attraction. “The Old Man of the Mountain Memorial” is a memorial to that one-time attraction. Saying they are one and the same is like saying The Lincoln Memorial is the same as Abe Lincoln. If the “worst attraction” had been designated as the memorial, it seems like it would have been a fair choice. But that’s not what was listed, was it?

      My commentary was 100% accurate. Wikipedia made the difference quite clear.I read it, correctly concluded that this was not what the list item referred to. and was right. I should have guessed you’d claim otherwise, though. Here’s the relevant part of the article:

      On the first anniversary of the collapse in May 2004, the Old Man of the Mountain Legacy Fund (OMMLF) began operating coin-operated viewfinders near the base of the cliff. When looking through them up at the cliff of Cannon Mountain one can see a “before” and “after” of how the Old Man of the Mountain used to appear.[2]

      Seven years after the collapse, on June 24, 2010, the OMMLF, now the Friends of the Old Man of the Mountain, broke ground for the first phase of the state-sanctioned “Old Man of the Mountain Memorial” on a walkway along Profile Lake below Cannon Cliff. It consists of a viewing platform with “Steel Profilers”, which, when aligned with the Cannon Cliff above, create what the profile looked like up on the cliff overlooking the Franconia Notch. The project was overseen by Friends of the Old Man of the Mountain/Franconia Notch,[10] a committee that succeeded the Old Man of the Mountain Revitalization Task Force. The Legacy Fund is a private 501(c)(3) corporation with representatives from various state agencies and several private nonprofits.[11]

      In 2013, the board called a halt to further fundraising. They announced their intention to spend what was left on minor improvements and dissolve the board.[8]

      Other proposals that were considered but rejected include:

      Architect Francis Treves envisioned a walk-in profile made of 250 panels of structural glass attached to tubular steel framework and concrete tower, connected by a tram, rim trail or tunnel through to the cliff wall at the original site. It won an American Institute of Architects Un-Built Project Award.[12][13]
      In 2009, Kenneth Gidge, a state representative from Nashua, proposed building a copper replica of the Old Man on level ground above the ledge at the original site where hiking trails already lead.[14]

      • The morning after the Old Man crumbled, I was sitting in a diner in Maine. CNN was on the TV, with a live report. The clueless reporter wrapped his package by saying “State officials still aren’t certain what caused the Old Man in the Mountains to fall.”

        The old timer on the next stool took a pull on his coffee, looked at me, and said “I’m not the smahtest guy in the wohld, and I ain’t a bettin’ man. But if I WAS a bettin’ man, I’d bet what caused it to fall was gravity.”

      • Jack,

        You accuse me of dying on hills and making gotchas when you’re the one who wrote paragraphs in response to a joke. During my recent trip there, I saw numerous signs still advertising the thing and was eventually lured in. Thus, when I read the chart my first thought was “Oh, they’ve suckered others too”. That’s it.

        Why do you always read snark instead of a smile? Jesus Christ.

          • Jack,

            Seriously? Why do you treat me so rudely even now? It’s not a “joke” like “ha ha” but a sardonic comment from a long-time reader who regularly lauds and promotes your work.

            I gave up long ago hoping you would respect me, but I hoped you at least appreciated my readership. But, this is not how you a write to a person you appreciate.

            • Read the commenting rules, Neil. If you accuse me of hypocrisy and not doing my due diligence, you better have an iron-clad case, or “smile when you say that, pardner.” You didn’t, and now you claim you were joking. I respect respectable comments. You could have made a productive and informative post with the information about the “memorial,” instead you wrote, “you’re the one lacking due diligence.” That was insulting and false. My response was appropriate.

              • Jack,
                I’ve only once insulted you and you still refuse to accept my apology for that. Since then, you’ve repeatedly treated me with disrespect even when I attempt kindness. So yes, I no longer soften my words. Consider extending an olive branch by (finally) accepting an apology, or fulfill one of your (several) broken promises and scribble me an email.

  3. Hoosier here.

    This guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Originally called Santa Claus Land, located in Santa Claus, IN, Holiday World is one of the earliest theme parks in the country. It started off as a Christmas-themed town and park with nearby campgrounds. In the 1990’s, additional rides based on Halloween, Thanksgiving and Independence Day were added and the name was changed from Santa Claus Land to Holiday World.

    It’s still family-owned, one of the cleanest theme parks I’ve ever enjoyed and offers FREE sunscreen and soda refills.

    How he overlooked the World’s Largest Ball of Paint is beyond me.

    • I was just about to say the same. What’s wrong with Holiday World? Just passed through Santa Claus a few weeks ago and drove by it. It’s a great looking theme park and the whole town is kinda adorable. Couldn’t make it on this road trip but I would love to bring the family to the theme park some day.

  4. Anyone unimpressed with the Grand Canyon has obviously never seen it. I first visited the South Rim when I was twelve, and in my subsequent visits over the years to both sides I have never been less than awed. About twenty years ago I spent a week at the Grand Canyon Lodge North Rim. Sitting on the terrace outside the main dining room every morning, watching the shifting light on the canyon walls was as well-spent as any leisure time I ever expended. I have recommended the Canyon countless times to friends traveling to the West, and I have never heard a single dissatisfied review.

    • Yeah, we visited in February – my third time there – and it was staggeringly beautiful. The English language isn’t rich enough to adequately describe it. A real treat is to visit, then drive to Page, AZ to see the Glen Canyon Dam. THAT drive is a scenic feast! The southwest (Arizona, New Mexico, Utah) is a smorgasbord of visual delights.

      I was at Casa Bonita in Denver many years ago, and it was really fun. I’ve read that the food quality has gone downhill, but I feel like we should visit there again. The Corn Palace – which I visited five years ago – was a major disappointment, but only because I thought it was entirely made of corn. Turns out it’s an event center with a corn mural facade. We walked in and there was a volleyball tournament going on.

      Matt Shirley’s followers are a strange lot…the Grand Canyon?!?

  5. Helen Keller’s birthplace?! Yes it’s smaller than expected, but it’s real. I’m trying to figure out what makes it the worst? Too many people who haven’t seen The Miracle Worker?

  6. There’s a good little burger joint just a five minute walk from my house. I can’t see how anyone over the age of ten would prefer McDonald’s. However, if a poll were to ask where to find the best burgers in the city, I have no doubt that McDonald’s would finish far ahead of my local spot, no matter how good it is.

    Why? Everyone knows McDonald’s, while only people in my neighbourhood would know my local burger place. Everyone else has their own local gem. If just ten per cent across the city would choose McDonald’s, that’s more than enough for the golden arches to finish ahead of any local burger joint, as the non-McDonald’s vote is hopelessly divided.
    By this line of thought, many of these attractions strike me as victims of their own prominence.

    I have no idea what the worst attraction in Texas or Massachusetts is but I know the Alamo and I know Plymouth Rock. It wouldn’t take much for these truly worthwhile attractions to receive a plurality while the other votes are divided amongst the likes of America’s Biggest Furball and the Toenail Museum.

    It’s too bad that the chart doesn’t include percentages for the “winning” attractions so we would know whether Matt Shirley’s followers are as bad as Jack believes or it’s just a relatively small number of dunces overwhelming a more reasonable, but divided, majority. If it’s the former, it doesn’t say much for the state of civic education. If it’s the latter, it doesn’t say much for the first-past-the-post system’s ability to withstand a critical mass of morons or zealots in anything but a two party system.

  7. Busy weekend.

    Part of the problem is that in order to make it to these lists, people have to know about them, and almost by definition people might not know about the “worst” attractions available.

    That said; I had no idea what the gum wall was, so I googled it, and then I almost threw up when I saw the Google images. Burn. It. With. Fire.

  8. The worst attraction in Texas is that awful strip right across from the Alamo. With the Ripley’s, the Guinness World Records Museum and the indoor amusement park ride.

    Raze that building and reincorporate the site into the Alamo grounds.

    • I just did a google maps look at the Alamo. They must’ve tasked an imbecile, a drunk or someone from Austin to label it.

      They’ve labeled the traditional side rooms as “baptistry” and “confessional”, which is what those rooms would have been during the mission era of the 1700s. Touching.

      Then they labeled the far end the “chancel”. Also architecturally correct.

      Then they labeled the “transepts” as the “transpects”. A little proof-reading would be nice.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.