The term “Philly shrug” — seemingly coined by Daily News columnist Helen Ubiñas in this 2013 piece — refers to the blasé attitude from the average Philadelphian when faced with the city’s problems.
Kinda goes like this:
2 Dead, 5 shot in West Philly? ¯\_(?)_/¯
Woman carrying baby, 2 others shot in South Philadelphia? ¯\_(?)_/¯
And so forth.
The infamous “who cares” attitude is harmful to a city with endless potential like Philadelphia. And it can be a total turn-off for immigrants.
See — if you’ll allow me to get a bit personal for a minute — when I moved to Philly from Venezuela in 2015 I saw nothing but opportunity and beauty in this town, but the Philly shrug attitude I perceived in some of the locals scared me. A lack of citizen engagement is the perfect climate for total breakdown. Coming from a nation that can currently best be defined as a dystopia, I know first-hand how damaging apathy can be.
That’s why I couldn’t help but be moved by Philadelphia in Motion, the latest timelapse video by Philly-based videographer Cory Popp:
In Popp’s eyes, the city shows nothing but beauty. Although this isn’t the first kind look at Philly he’s offered us through his lens (like when the Pope visited, or during that big blizzard back in February).
Philadelphia in Motion, shot and edited by Popp himself, took 12 months and over 10,000 photos to put together. At just over two minutes, the video doesn’t need that much time to capture all the hustle and bustle the city has been showing for some time now.
“The scenes in this video were shot all over the city to show how the city moves,” said Popp. “And when played back quickly through timelapse footage, it makes Philadelphia feel alive in a unique way.”
Granted, it’s easy to get lost in the majestic sights of Center City and the gentle curve of the Schuylkill River. True, there’s no Badlands in North Philly or poverty-stricken West Philly streets. There are no people at all, really.
But if these two minutes of inspirational music and crisp HD footage of the city are capable of anything it’s warding off the Philly shrug, even if for a little bit, by presenting something that’s pretty enough to care about.