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Memories aren't journalism
February 19, 2010 - Paul Giannamore
Please, folks who are FROM here. It's nice you've got all these memories in your head. All of us do. But please, before you put pen to paper or keyboard to computer, remember that HERE still exists, somewhere outside the frozen time in your memories. I say this so that perhaps, when the next playwright, comedian, singer, artiste or would-be author from HERE would decide it's really funny to remember Steubenville and its environs as a bigoted, drug-infested, gambling, whoring, hard-drinking hellhole to remember something. It indeed was all those things, more to some, less to others, but the operative word is WAS. The mills are all but gone. Gambling still exists, so do hookers. As for bigotry, it exists, more or less everywhere. Point is, this is hardly the romanced, nuanced "Little Chicago" of the 1940s. Hell, Chicago isn't the Chicago of the 1940s, either. There are people here working to make a new place out of what's survived, and it's not easy. It becomes no easier when playwrights, comedians, singers, artists or would-be authors decide to depict their world as one of scoundrels, bigots, drinkers, johns, gamblers and hellhole dwellers. In other words, shut the hell up. Keep your memories in your head. Talk about them at your hoity-toity pinky-out parties. But remember. If you're a success, you did it because or in spite of your upbringing. We all have crosses. We all bear them. We don't necessarily benefit from your venting your psychological scars, real or perceived, for fun and profit. Some of us still live HERE, and want HERE to be different from anything in your memories. Can't do that if you keep on dredging up the past. This isn't aimed at any of our famous or near famous ex-citizens, but at all of them and none of them in particular. Oh, and please, when you send press releases about your attempts at telling your story while damaging the attempts of current folks HERE to make HERE a better place, could you at least refrain from the 1980s cliche "Rust Belt?" Might mean your releases get read past the second paragraph when they hit my desk.
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