cinci blogsphere social commentary!, part 1

i appreciate this sentiment (i am lying) but this is middle class hyper-righteousness at its worst; it may stir people but it’s not useful/practical.  i don’t pretend to write from anything but a similar middle class view, but there is a way to be self-aware.

there are a lot of problems with this post (for one: “When you take everyone out of a neighborhood and leave a few under-educated poor people behind by themselves, the neighborhood will become ridden with crime and poverty.” cringe cringe cringle krinkle), but one thing i want to draw out about this post and they way it posits the “urban experience”

consumption.  it’s all about consumption.  in this blog, OTR is a “product” that suburban folk don’t have the correct “taste” (i am wrinkle-browed quizzical with this thought :::::: bourdieu…maybe? my recall of bourdieu’s “taste” concept is bad) to appreciate.  they need to be educted to consume/buy into OTR right.  to the blog person, this involves promoting travel (A DISTINCTLY MIDDLE CLASS ACTIVITY – OH I AM SO TIRED OF HEARING PLATITUDES ABOUT TRAVEL – GOING TO SOME LOCALE DOESN’T [consistently] DO MUCH EXCEPT REINFORCE THE ECONOMICIZATION [vacation = spend lots of money time] of experiences with people who are not middle class whites) or diversifying the “heritage/preservation” concept.  as this blog-knight sees it, OTR is being misbranded by certain parties, and this need to be rectified prontissimo.

OTR is not a “product”, nor is any other neighborhood (let’s not whitewash blue ash or west chester and cover up the diversity in those places – blog-samurai does what he says his suburban opponents are doing by grossly stereotyping them – ignore strategic partners at your peril ).  it is a place, and let’s distinguish that from its marketing.

eck, i’m reading this “consumption” idea into the post slightly because i have been thinking on it in general, but it’s there.

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3 Comments

Filed under cinci blogsphere social commentary!

3 responses to “cinci blogsphere social commentary!, part 1

  1. Ha. This attitude is also reflected in the shock voiced by some new residents that there’s “nothing” in the neighborhood, or shock at the state of the neighborhood. You know, if there’s nothing here, or if it’s that deplorable, why move in?

    At best, there is an acknowledgment only of the recently opened businesses, a kind of compression of time to roughly the past two years and, before that, a hundred years ago. Thus, the new shops are lauded, as is the recently re-opened Grammer’s, but no mention is made of long-standing businesses such as Suder’s, Roh’s or Smitty’s.

    This was particularly evident in the promotional literature for the recent Tour of Downtown Living, which broke the larger area into small neighborhoods, and then differentiated them from one another with gross exaggerations/lies, and completely ignored certain true features of those micro-neighborhoods. At worst, this can seem gleefully divisive.

    Neighborhoods change, but I’ve never seen a neighborhood change so quickly in such wholecloth fashion. Unfortunately, this seems partly facilitated by efforts such as the materials I mentioned [top-down] and the local blogosphere [bottom-up]. OTR is being remade into a specialty shopping destination, with the thought that this will spur condo sales and other forms of investment. I guess it’s working, but I don’t know that these efforts are helping the day-to-day needs of the people who live here [recent transplants or not]. And, when there is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the neighborhood, what’s highlighted is often generic and consumption-based cultural tourism that glosses over, or denies, the unique reality of a place.

  2. do you know are those tour of downtown living materials available online somewhere. i remember the week of blog buildup and new shop madness, but i don’t think i ever saw an original website.

    the neighborhood splitting/rebranding thing is interesting. i know there is literature somewhere on realtors creating neighborhoods and “feels” (the most amusing new one in new york is “SoBro” – http://www.sobro.org/) but i still don’t get how it works, why the specific opening act of giving a place a new name begins to jazz people up for moving – maybe it’s some sort of magico- parellelism between new apartment/brand new neighborhood. mm mm hm

  3. Arrgh, I recycled my brochure, and I can’t find it online. If memory serves, the splits included Washington Park, Gateway Quarter, Main St., Pendleton, Piatt Park, Lytle Place, West 4th St., and a few others. When the names center on real places with some distinguishing feature, they make sense, but they’re so small that it’s near impossible to write promotional copy about them without sounding disingenuous. From my perspective, the little-known fact about basin life is that, if you’re willing to walk up to 20 minutes, you can find pretty much anything right here. But, if you draw boundaries around these micro-neighborhoods, you have to admit that there’s very little in each one when it comes to “urban lifestyle” amenities.

    For instance, the copy for the Gateway Quarter lauded the presence of “bistros” — for this to be true, it must refer to Lavomatic, Venice on Vine, and possibly Steak & Lemonade. Ahh, but the latter two are not actually bistros, nor are they even included in the list of businesses that get promoted in these contexts. You can’t have it both ways.

    As for the splits in general, it seems a no-brainer that micro-neighborhoods in OTR are ways for developments to distance themselves from the baggage of “Over-the-Rhine” and all that that means to people. Similarly, desirable neighborhoods grow in area [e.g. South Slope, East Williamsburg] and envelop parts of their less desirable neighbors. Try looking for housing in OTR on craigslist, and you’ll find that much of it is listed under “downtown.” Again, that sort of makes sense if you’re willing to walk, but you can’t have it both ways.

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