Monday, July 24, 2006

The 'Burgh blogosphere.

Do you want an afternoon of masochistic amusement? Do a search for "Pittsburgh Bloggers" (THIS will do nicely if you are feeling lazy) and sift through some of it. If you are even lazier, I will give you a synopsis... you will find a few gems of entertainment and enlightenment in a vast rough of dreary complaint. And I am going to hazard a guess that a majority of the negative spinners are natives of the greater Pittsburgh area. You would be hard-pressed to find a more self-hating group anywhere else. They are like little indulged kids that only want to play with their toys when someone wants to share them. People move here from out of town and try to contribute their energies to building something around fresh ideas, and they are informed by the natives (many of whom have given up and moved out to the 'burbs) that they don't know enough about the town to warrant any influence. But meanwhile it's just business as usual... and that reserves for them the mental resources to condemn the next plan of action.

is an example that is particularly representative of what I'm talking about. The author explains his residency within the Pittsburgh area as having been "forced back". One can only speculate why this would be so... maybe his brain will explode Scanners-style if he strays outside of the "werstern suburbs" (where he no doubt resides- the biggest "urban" critics ALWAYS live in the suburbs, from where they no doubt think they have the best view). From reading his blog I fear for the safety of his housemates if he ever quits venting on to his site- he's liable to whine until they have no defense but to become psychosomatically deaf. I have to suggest he quit watching bad TV and actually venture into Pittsburgh, so he will know enough to have a qualified opinion.

Look... I'm not saying everyone's got to be a cheerleader, and take a pollyannaish view of our city. It's not that a discussion of problems in Pittsburgh is unnecessary...but for a dialogue to have any utility it needs to have substance. Simply pointing out obvious weaknesses is only a baby step. It's even worse when the commentator has no direct experience with what he/she is talking about. Take a step back, and look at the whole picture. You have to be able to see what is working well (in addition to what is not) to formulate an educated opinion about possibilities.


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