Tube City Almanac

March 15, 2008

Hardscrabble Watch

Category: Hardscrabble Mon Valley Watch || By

Johnstown isn't in the Mon Valley, but in the eyes of the national and international media, it's just another Hardscrabble Gritty Steel Town. From the Toronto Star:

Under the shadows of a steel mill's rusting carcass, a new Johnstown is slowly taking shape.

Quaint cafes and even an upscale bridal shop have appeared in long empty storefronts. Downtown lofts are being snapped up. Biotech companies and high-tech firms have set up shop.

Decades after heavy industry died, taking much of Johnstown with it, this Rust Belt community appears to be regaining its footing. An aggressive city planner, a creative redevelopment authority and tourism officials are trying to turn Johnstown into a postindustrial tourist center with a vibrant downtown.

"Even an upscale bridal shop"! People in Johnstown dress up when they get married! Who woulda thunk it?

Next thing you know, they'll be wearing shoes! People in Hardscrabble Pennsylvania Mill Towns are almost human!

. . .

From the Huffington Post:

As the home of U.S. Steel - once a giant, now little more than a logo on a football helmet - Pittsburgh was one of the wealthiest cities in the country, once. Now it's just a regional capital of the Rust Belt, with all the second-generation assimilation of a factory town that lost its factories. The children of the Polish immigrants now say "yinz" and drink Iron City, and absolutely everyone wears black and gold. It's hard to pass five people on the street without seeing one of them in Steeler gear, especially on Sunday. Some even wear it to church, which is almost as holy a communion as Heinz Field.

Those wacky, wacky Pittsburghers! They like sports teams!

By the way, the people who hold more than 103 million shares of U.S. Steel stock are going to be upset to hear that the company is now "little more than a logo on a helmet."

Also, U.S. Steel's logo is not on anyone's helmet. The "Steelmark" on the Steelers helmet was developed by the American Iron and Steel Institute. It has nothing to do with U.S. Steel.

A phone call to the Steelers' PR office would have verified that. Just as a phone call to U.S. Steel's press office would have indicated that they remain in business.

Otherwise, that's a very accurate description, Huffington Post. Way to check your facts.

. . .

From the New York Times:

Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, with its depressed steel industry, are generally similar to Ohio, with blue-collar workers and a struggling economy. That region could favor Mrs. Clinton.

Yes. Our steel industry is so depressed that they're putting Prozac in the continuous caster at Edgar Thomson. Also, the cops had to talk Steely McBeam out of jumping from the Westinghouse Bridge. It's true.

. . .

From the Associated Press:

It's a Rust Belt state largely abandoned by the once-mighty steel, coal and railroad industries. Today, its biggest employers are the federal government, the state government and Wal-Mart, in that order.

Newsflash: The federal government is the largest employer in the United States, period. Not just in Pennsylvania.

And the number one employer nationwide is Wal-Mart. That doesn't make Pennsylvania unique at all.

Nice job, media! Keep grinding out those clich├ęs, and we'll keep counting them at Tube City Almanac!

Your Comments are Welcome!

All I want to know is who were the officers who talked Steely McBeam outta jumping? They should be suspended without pay for that negligence!!!
Bulldog - March 17, 2008

More for the Hardscrabble Watch files (though it’s about Scranton, not the Mon Valley, the rhetoric is the same, and just as meaningless):
mon valley girl - March 17, 2008

I like how the AP article doesn’t mention that the most productive deep coal mine is still located in Pennsylvania – Consol’s Bailey/Enlow Fork operation near Waynesburg.
Wade - March 17, 2008

Now that Johnstown is doing fine, can we stop paying the Johnstown Flood Tax?
The Dude from West Mifflin - March 18, 2008

If we stop paying the flood tax, how will nerds in Johnstown get pants?
Webmaster - March 18, 2008

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