Why did the story of a runaway unmanned blimp capture so much attention this afternoon? For most people, blimps are strange, unusual phenomenon, seen only hovering above sporting events.
But in Akron, Ohio, where Goodyear has been making airships since the early 20th century, blimps are almost normal. On any given day, you might hear a strange buzzing over your head, look up, and see the Goodyear blimp drifting lazily overhead. It’s the kind of city where people at bars talk idly about starting blimp airlines. And for a city that’s often a punchline for jokes, the blimp is also a source of pride. CD Truth, a stalwart Rubber City punk bank, eloquently captured the way Akronites feel in the 1998 song “We Got the Blimp”:
You think your town is cool
’Cause you got all the good schools
Well, we got the blimp!
You think your city’s better, just because you get art
Maybe a Picasso
We got the blimp!
Nowadays, Goodyear’s Akron-based Wingfoot 1 isn’t actually a blimp—it’s a semi-rigid airship. The very good Akron Art Museum actually has a Picasso, too. I bet your city doesn’t have all that.