So, we’re inching closer to a big event here in Pittsburgh that you might have heard about, if you haven’t been walking around with your head tightly wrapped in layers of black soundproof acoustic foam. Yes, the G20 is coming up next month, and in addition to threatening to turn my twelve minute commute into a four hour one, it’s polarizing ‘Burgh-watchers everywhere.
For example, this Wall Street Journal blogger answers his own question, “Why Pittsburgh?,” by likening the summit’s host city to L’Aquila, the Italian city that hosted the G8 earlier this summer. The town of less than 100,000 inhabitants was chosen for the G8 as a show of sympathy and solidarity after it was devastated by an earthquake in April – the idea being, apparently, that the summit would bring in jobs and publicity that would help L’Aquila recover. Well, uh, thanks for that… but I can’t help but point out that some job loss in a cool overall economy is not exactly comparable to a natural disaster than killed over 300 people.
On the other hand, the columnist for the Huffington Post (never shy about kicking folks when they’re down) picked up the refrain of decline and renewal that Pittsburghers have been singing for decades.
From inside the city, the Eds and Meds at CMU, Pitt, and UPMC are excited to show the G20’ers what we’re made of in the 21st century, inviting summit attendees to tour their facilities in Oakland and see the labs and classrooms that have replaced coke ovens as the workplaces of many locals. And the Pittsburgh G-20 Resistance Project objects to everything the G20 stands for and is not afraid to say so in the most incomprehensible and opaque way possible (their goals are to “lay the groundwork, provide an information clearing house, create & distribute publicity and educational materials, build momentum for the mobilization, engage in local, regional and national outreach, and develop an action framework.” Oookaay.)
And if that’s not weird and conflicted enough for you, there’s this, from a blog so thoroughly creepy I’m not crediting it:
So, I don’t really know what to say about the G20. I’m willing to imagine that it could do some good things for Pittsburgh if global bigwigs think we’re as great as I do, but I kind of think it’s bringing a lot of the wrong kind of attention our way.
Plus, my commute.