What 'Rust Belt Chic' Shows about the Complexity of Cities

Belt Magazine is publishing the second edition of its "Rust Belt Chic: The Cleveland Anthology" next month. The edition's new introduction sums up will the complicated issue of Cleveland's renaissance.
August 26, 2014, 2pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Rudy Balasko

In a sea of prosaic, often utterly scientific, treatments of the city experience, Dave Lucas, a poet and faculty member at Case Western University, displays more range in relating the term "Rust Belt Chic" to the experiences of Cleveland.

A sample:

But the urge to oversimplify persists here too. We see it in the commentary that appeals to Cleveland’s supposed “authenticity” (as if other cities are somehow inauthentic) and in the penchant for reducing debates about the city to a false choice between “boosterism” and “critique.” We see it in our collective elevation of professional athletes to the status of civic and cultural messiahs. And I see it in my own tendency to think of the region’s sensibility as simultaneously fatalistic and defiant. It’s easier, after all, to personify a city than to reconcile its contradictions.

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Published on Monday, August 25, 2014 in Belt Magazine
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