Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Yes, Rust Belt is a Dirty Word's image, not mine
Joel Kotkin's gave the Rust Belt chic guy another turn at the blog today.  His piece, "Is 'The Rust Belt' a Dirty Word?" is both worth reading and worth answering.

Richey Piiparinen's central point is made when he writes:

"There is indeed a growing movement of Rust Belt pride taking hold. Yet it is not a false pride, rather a pride that’s derived from an acceptance of having become rust. Such can be immeasurable for the psychogeography of the region."

I can totally agree that acceptance of our current status is healthy and, strategically, wise.  We don't need to, as a region, reinvent ourselves to the extent that we try to become cool and hip or imitate some place on the planet that isn't a fit with our culture, our economics, and our geography.

I can't agree, though, with just accepting the term Rust Belt as our collective, multi-state identity or what Piiparinen calls our "psychogeography." 

History is filled with changing the negative terminology associated with races and cultures.  This case is analogous. 

Those name changes--terms with such negative connotations I can't in good conscience even list one of them--didn't mean that those races and cultures had to give up anything of their collective self identity.  No way.  It just meant that they got a clean, fresh start that buried the negative connotations of the past.

We can have it both ways.  We can keep all the things that make us great and change only the pejorative term. That's fine by me.

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