The Demoralization Of Newark, Ohio.

I did a post a while back about the Newark, Ohio songs that came out. I really didn’t think much about it at the time. I’ve heard these types of songs before and thought, “It’s just some good humored rivalry among cities.”. The following post may well be me over-thinking what this really is, but since these songs came out, I’ve noticed a relentless bashing of Newark on many media outlets and there are an enormous amount of posts in forums and blogs.

I’ll go way back in history to show that my theory on this is nothing new. Growing up in Mount Vernon, Ohio, I learned how Mount Vernon became the county seat for Knox County. The neighboring towns of Gambier, Fredricktown, Centerburg, and Danville all had as much going for them as Mount Vernon did. Fredricktown was the most likely choice. The town leaders in Mount Vernon had a plan to put Mount Vernon ahead though. Mount Vernon cleaned up the town and staged drunk and disorderly scenes in all of the other towns. When the state government officials made their scheduled visits, Mount Vernon looked like the most pleasing place and the other towns had the illusion of disorder.

Modern times have an entirely different motive – MONEY. What would be the motive of a radio station to put out a professionally done song to bash an entire area of their listeners? I remember Lancaster, Ohio, Logan, Ohio, Zanesville, Ohio, and even Grove City, Ohio being the target of these songs right before some big industries came to town. They didn’t have the added benefit of being able to make the song go “viral” in those days, but I think that this is done to demoralize a town.

What is the benefit to industry to demoralize a town? If you’re going to pull some shady legal tactics, you want the surrounding population to not sympathize with the victims. The thought that, “Oh well, those lazy, uneducated, hillbillies had that coming to them. Not much going on in that dump anyhow. What’s the harm?”. The companies doing as they please come out the hero and are considered a beneficial improvement to the city no matter what the reality of the deeds are. Demoralization in lowered perceived value of an area also drives property prices down. If you can get the general population to feel that they really are of lower value, they’ll except lower wages too.

Corporations pay the bills for major media outlets. If you think that they don’t have a major influence in what news is reported, you’re mistaken. Have you noticed that every slightly odd thing that happens in Newark hits the national news? It’s never good news either. Drunken barstool ride, KC And the Sunshine Band child molester, alternative proms for kids that want to perform simulated sex, after school fights on YouTube, etc. These are hardly worthy of national attention, but they have been pushed to the major outlets. Newark rarely made the news for much at all until recently.

One of the most glaring, a recent New York Times article about a Newark High School Orchestra member really stood out. The story was a poor wayward teenager had been kicked out of her house and made to live out by a dumpster. She strived and overcame and rose to new heights with music. Even though her Newark, Ohio school was so underfunded and her community was so full of hopelessness,  her heroic teacher helped her rise above it all. I happen to know the real story behind this one. Wayward teenager is right! No need to tell of her problems that have nothing to do with Newark, Ohio, it’s education system, or an apartment with a dumpster facility, the real problem there was common to many teenage girls all across the country. How did this story of slightly above average achievement reach such a huge level? Who pushed that and why?

So what do you do? Stop accepting and discounting the area. Newark is no worse than the surrounding area. Ask them what their graduation rate is. Ask them why thongs on big people and oversized pickups in Newark are so interesting when you see them everywhere else too. Ask them about the “blight” in their city. Why are crumbling neighborhoods in every neighboring area less interesting than ours. Make them quantify their baseless comments. You can start demanding that the lax property codes are enforced. You can quit bashing the city government on every slightest misstep or odd comment and start forcing them on the real issues.

The best thing you can do though is to start watching who is orchestrating this. You can start exposing them for what they’re about. Watch the large land purchases, then research what they’ve done in other cities. Stand up for your neighbors when bankers want to confiscate their property with legal loopholes. When they say they will do great things in Newark refer to their not-so-great things in other cities.

The big road is almost here. This is when the land grab and free-for-all in Newark will start. I’ll be watching. Will you?

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