Media and Neoliberalism in Cincinnati (an excerpt)

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I earlier wrote about nostalgia based redevelopment, criticizing a recent book about Over-the-Rhine’s brewery history (that ignored other important history). This is a critique of Laure Qunlivan’s Visions of Vine street from the same source as the first excerpt.

The media tends to serve the ends of the representatives of capital in the region. A survey of articles in the Cincinnati Enquirer and Cincinnati Post from the 1990s shows and organizational distrust of both social service and some non-governmental organizations. A Post article from 1994 simply stated “Over-the-Rhine has a new tenant and its name is money,” (Griggs, 1994) establishing what the paper felt was the most important defining element of the previous residents: their poverty. Dutton describes a “systematic refusal” to mention the existence of resistance in the neighborhood:

This is not an ignorance that comes simply from not knowing.  It is an active ignorance, an avoidance that is constructed as a systematic erasure of the community in order to make it invisible.  For example, in all the ink that has been spilled about Over-the-Rhine, no mention is made of the People’s Movement.  It receives no mention in the ULI report.  Nor is it mentioned in the 1998 Changing Plans for America’s Inner Cities: Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine and Twentieth-Century Urbanism, a book that now circulates as the reference of choice among the city’s elite.  The most explicit example of invisibility is expressed in the Cincinnati Enquirer’s three-part, “in-depth” front-page coverage of Over-the-Rhine. [1999:4]

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Remembering Larry Gibson

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This piece was written for the September edition of Streetvibes. Larry Gibson is one of a handful of people who I can name who were instrumental in getting me involved with activism, as I’m sure nearly every environmentalist East of the Mississippi can say. When he died in September, nature lost one of its toughest defenders.

I only met Larry Gibson once. It was on his mountain, in his little cabin, huddled close to a wood burning stove. We were visiting coal country, and preparing to bring the knowledge we learned back to school, so we could fight against the coal plant on Miami University’s campus. He explained to us his story, indelibly intertwined with the story of the Appalachian mountains. And gave us an ultimatum, Larry, nicknamed “keeper of the mountains,” didn’t want to talk to us if we weren’t going to do something about the mountains; we had to promise we weren’t wasting his time. We he died in early September, it was a blow to the environmental movement that seems almost impossible to recover from.

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