Are snarky parody tourism videos good for more than laughs? Our friends at Good argue that this is the case, stating that viral gags like Mike Polk’s satirical 2008 look at Cleveland demonstrate that if “a city's residents spend the time to observe their city enough to make a ‘hastily-made’ tourism video, it means they're actually thinking about what's wrong with their community.” Which is an appealing argument: even if these videos are more intent on inspiring laughter than change, they’re an entertaining entrance into a larger discussion about the issues facing urban centers. The key, of course, is that at some point you have to get off the lollercoaster and get down to serious discussion and action, not always a smooth transition. Urban malaise is often considered a dry topic of conversation among all but the most direct stakeholders, so parody viral videos could serve as a great introduction to the discussion for activists to leverage in their outreach efforts.

Via Good, a couple of the best parody tourism videos:

The original Cleveland video:

St. Paul, MN:

Paul M. Davis


Paul M. Davis

Paul M. Davis tells stories online and off, exploring the spaces where data, art, and civics intersect. I currently work with a number of organizations including Pivotal and

Things I share: Knowledge, technology, reusable resources, goodwill.