This was a hell of a story and I congratulate the writer and her editors for having the guts to write and print it. Going against the grain of accepted belief to dig for a deeper truth - and facing and listening to the accused, in this case Jim McGuire, such a longtime staple of the Charlotte arts scene -- is not easy. But Ms. Tracy-Blackwood showed the kind of courage, knowledge, chutzpah and talent it takes to be a real reporter for an alt weekly. Congratulations to you guys.
Ryan, thanks for emphasizing CL's writers in your story; I'm particularly happy to see Lynn Farris, Jerry Klein and Vance Cariaga mentioned, as they were dedicated stalwarts of the publication, which wouldn't have been as good without their ongoing contributions. Keep up the good work - you've kind of learned your profession "on the job," as I pretty much did. It's not easy, but it may be the best way to learn how to be good at it. Don't get discouraged about the repeated presence of assholes in our midst; you're right, it is ever thus - but so is the voice to the side giving them shit and pointing out the problem.
If you think its been hard for the cool kids in Southend, you should check out whats happened to area residents in the past few years.
I have very mixed feelings about the new C3 Lab project. If a giant event space/art gallery is your idea of a great re-use of industrial buildings, no matter what the effect, this is a wonderful thing. If your concerns lean more toward treating area residents with respect and not quickening the process of driving them out via higher prices, you're out of luck.
This is the devil's bargain too many "creative types" have been willing to make since abandoned industrial buildings were first converted into art spaces in NY. The irony, and it's a pretty dark one, is that the C3 Labs folks, who are from all reports well-meaning people, say they want to keep gentrification away so artists and "creative types" won't be forced to move; never mind people who've lived in the area for decades.
No one wants to see artists priced out of good studio space, and hopefully this new project will help that. It is darkly ironic, though, that developers who want to lower prices for the arts community and stop "gentrification" are re-fitting a building in an area already devastated by gentrification. Once again, no one cares what happens to the people of the Brookhill neighborhood, which has already been degraded by owners letting the venerable Brookhill Village area deteriorate from valued properties to junk heaps all the better to get those higher Southend prices when the poor have finally left and the place can be resold, dontcha know.
At this point, though, these arguments are moot. Wilmore is being eaten up by yuppies, and any liberal guilt about displacing the poor in Southend was "settled" years ago - settled, as in 'Hey, this is probably destructive to the surrounding black community," followed by a wink, a nod and a figurative shrug of the shoulders.
So, yes, hurrah and howdy-do for artists and barflies and boo-hoo for those invisible "other people" who will be soon forgotten in any case. The whole cool scenario is, well, cool. But also a bit stomach-turning. As someone who has supported an increase in the arts and creativity and artists' livelihoods in Charlotte for decades I'm waiting to see if anyone else is queasy about the situation, although I think I already know the answer to that.
Yes, liketofish, you have every right to speak out on moral issues. Everyone does. BUT, when the culture you're living in goes through changes, do not expect to be greeted with open arms if your views go against the "new normal." That's just how it works, my friend. For instance, you'd be surprised at how many Southern "Christians" fought like tigers against the 1964 Civil Rights Act. And, you guessed it, they got mad when all of a sudden, people didn't want to hear them use the N-word anymore. Same thing here. Plus, hate to stretch that closed mind of yours, but there are plenty of Christians who think churches should leave LGBT folks alone.
My point, Jeff, is that readers have already been exposed ten million times to what anti-gay people think about things - our culture is soaked in that view and hardly needs a boost to bring it to people's consciousness. An alternative paper worth its salt would emphasize the, er, alternate views and stand for freedom and expanded civil liberties. As I said elsewhere, this city already has a "newspaper of record," the Observer, whose job is to tiptoe through all sides of an issue. Readers - or at least former readers of the more substantial version of CL - expect that from a real alternative newsweekly.
Ryan, can you send me your email address? I'd rather talk about this in a space that's not an open forum. Hopefully, someone at CL will still have my email address, who knows? If not, let me know in this space and I'll call you at the office. Thanks!
As the former, and longtime, editor of CL Charlotte, reading this tripe in CL nearly turned my stomach. What the fuck, people?
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