Saturday, January 12, 2013

Sic Semper Bob

Look, I have not mentioned Border Guard Bob in like... months at least. Yet I must admit it was the vanity news filter that caught this...   CoolCleveland.com: Rust Belt Cities: Invest in Odysseus, Not Barney Fife


BTW, for the anti-Bob perspective (or is it the pro-Bob perspective?) I am really quite fascinated with the negativism on this site: http://leavingpittsburgh.com/


Like all things Pittsburgh, it all ties together.   As referenced in the first link, when I wrote on Border Guard Bob a decade ago it was remarkable the unsolicited comments I received from around the region, and around the nation even, from folks who found it incomprehensible that there was any positive spin on the story of Pittsburgh. For some there was no equivocation. The Pittsburgh story, as it were, was bad then, and would undoubtedly be bad forever. No doubt Pittsburgh is far from perfect, but it is the severe pessimism of many that always gets me thinking. 


The Border Guard Bob story really is about 15 years ago now.  It is remarkable to consider that the very idea of Bob was once thought to be a no-brainer. When I first commented on how bad an idea the concept was the immediate, and supposedly unassailable, response I got was "the focus groups loved it." No doubt a focus group of Pittsburghers.  It all really reflected a deeply rooted insecurity.  The "Pittsburgh angst" I think I once called it all.


While times have changed, there is a severe strain of nabobism that persisted for long.  Much of that has abated, but I still get strong blasts of similar sentiment from many... though I suspect it is a shrinking cohort.  Still, that 'leavingpittsburgh' site encapsulates it and appears current. I notice similar sentiment pop up elsehwere. While I am loathe to resort to the ad hominum, and have no doubt many share the negative thoughts, I really wonder if some have a vested interest in propounding negative PR.  Curious in some ways, but still. 

4 Comments:

Anonymous DBR96A said...

Don't you just love it when people generalize an entire region of 2,356,285 people as "narrow-minded" and "prejudiced"? Honestly, Pittsburgh is better off without people that stupid. It's addition by subtraction, much like the population loss in the Pittsburgh area has been with regard to education and income levels.

Sunday, January 13, 2013 2:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In defense of that blog, I've heard, mostly via anecdotes, there is a pretty significant...inferiority complex (not quite what I'm trying to say, but close) among African Americans in Pittsburgh compared to other cities like DC, Atlanta, etc.

I'm not a sociologist, so I don't know if it's economic conditions, racism, or whatever, but I can understand why some would want to get the hell out of here.

Monday, January 14, 2013 8:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the leavingpittsburgh link. It's a breath of fresh air.

Monday, January 14, 2013 9:21:00 AM  
Anonymous DBR96A said...

I can understand some of the perspective of black people in the Pittsburgh area, because I've always said that Yinzers hate black people unless they can score touchdowns. With that said, there's a difference between a Pittsburgher and a Yinzer, as far as I'm concerned, and most Pittsburghers aren't Yinzers, the same way most black people aren't guilty of the worst stereotypes put on them.

I think an influx of diversity can help alleviate the racial tension, and I believe this has begun to happen in areas where the Asian population is growing. It can also lead to more understanding, especially when white people and black people realize that it's not just one or the other. And there are more and more white people are beginning to realize that there are upwardly-mobile black people who want the same things they do.

Monday, January 14, 2013 11:55:00 AM  

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