Sunday, July 13, 2008

One Year of Daytonlogy

The first posts on Daytonolgy were on July 13th., 2007:

First Post

Fittingly one was a post of mostly vacant downtown buildings in the setting sun, maybe unintentionally symbolic, but really taken because the city just looks good in the afternoon sun.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with this blog or even if I wanted to blog. The motto was “Urban Nihilism from Dayton Ohio” , so I had a sort of industrial slumming concept in mind, as well as a bit of “Dayton sucks and this is why…” thing.

Things didn’t work out that way, as I tried at first some posts on things that make Dayton different. Some of them, like foreign language radio, ended while I was blogging. Others, like the various festivals, are still happening, and the Rev Cool is still doing radio.

Some things I steered away from was sports because I think sports is boring and know absolutely nothing about it. I also didn’t post much about politics. There is a social-democratic/Marxist meta-politics that’s behind my POV, but I didn’t post on partisan politics that much, with the exception of things for David Esrati when he ran in the Democratic primary for Congress. Though, on occasion, I did touch on politics as it related to urban affairs.

I tried “scene” blogging. Taking pix of bands and gallery things. And commenting on the creative class. That turned out to be pretty silly as I have absolutely no connection with the art/music scene and urban bohemia in general, such as it is here. Music blogging is being done better elsewhere (actually better on MySpace than in the blogosphere, though the Bhudda Den remains a good blog on this). This is insider blogging and an insider I am not.

I did dabble a bit in economics and tried a sort of activist blogging (around certain issues, like gay rights and the “grocery gap” when the Gettysburg Kroger closed), but I don’t really know anything about economics and , again, don’t have the kind of insider knowledge for solid activist/muckraking blogging, which is done best at sites like Esrati and Dayton OS.

The main point of the blog turned out to be urban history and geography, mixed in with urban morphology & vernacular architecture and an interest in, for want of a better term, “suburban studies”. This is a pretty rare POV in Dayton, aside from the interest of gentrifiers/restorers in their particular neighborhoods and in the city proper (which tends to be more an advocacy/booster POV, rather than a critical analytical one) .

Also, my take on history is fairly different given my Marxist/populist POV, as its not nostalgia, genealogical, or celebratory.

I am unsure this kind of blogging is worthwhile given the somewhat middle-of-the-road/conservative mindset here vs. what I blog on (lots of research behind those posts on the union movement and black history, but few to no comments), and the seeming lack of interest in the built environment/urban fabric.

Prior to blogging I posted quite a bit at the Urban Ohio forums, which was more of a community open to my interests. That online community aspect is missing from blogging, which tends to be typing out into thin air (or at best," I post/you comment") vs being part of an online conversation of kindred spirits.

So there is a sense of alienation to blogging on what are really special interest topics and themes.

I am not sure where I am going with this blog or if it will survive. I might go back to the original intent of a mix of urban slumming & noir + Dayton sux ranting (which I never really did much of of).. Also, experimenting with long distance blogging on other places was interesting. I might do more of that along with Dayton stuff.


Anonymous said...

I don't comment on your posts much, but I read and look forward to every one.

Some feedback:
I particularly like the Dayton centered posts, more than recent "long distance" topics
I appreciate your skeptical attitude, but I've always felt you love Dayton more than you claim to
I like the level of research you put into the posts -- they really allow you to look at things in a "deep" fashion.

Here's to another year! (Please!!!)

Anonymous said...

Hi Jeffrey,
I find your site more interesting than most local blogs- because of your marxist/populist slant. I'd love to introduce you to my other favorite marxist- David Lawrence- now the principal at Thurgood Marshall.
I've learned more from your research/urban geography posts than at a host of other sites- I hope you keep it up. I find Urban Ohio useful- but hard to navigate and feel welcome.
It's a great site- I hope you keep it up. I just wish you'd add search and a way to go back past 10 posts.
Thanks for help on my campaign too- I'm sorry I couldn't pull some sort of wild upset out of the hat.

Admin said...

Jeffery congratulation on marking a year with Daytonology. I find your posts so interesting that I'm continually sharing them. You have nicely filled a void in the local sphere.

I hope the lurkers that visit but never post will accept your invitation to comment occaisionally.

Maybe you should have a birthday party in the Dayton Banana or the Empty Quarter.

Keep up the good work!


Anonymous said...

Sir. You're doing a good job. Just keep your distance from Sacharine Trust Creative Crassers such as Bill Pout and T. Graspar.


Papa Ubu

Jefferey said...

"Maybe you should have a birthday party in the Dayton Banana or the Empty Quarter."

Hah..yes, in the Empty Quarter it would be that root beer stand in Drexel.

"but I've always felt you love Dayton more than you claim"

Actually I do see a lot of potential here, which is why I occasionally post those Louisville say "See, this is what could be done...".

Jefferey said...

"I find Urban Ohio useful- but hard to navigate and feel welcome."

..yeah, I was a member of UO from nearly when it first started so sort of an old regular,

Though it gets parochial,that was not the intent of one of the founders, as he saw it as a statewide forum.

It's still a great place for me as a mutual support for people who actually like citys.

Admin said...

"Hah..yes, in the Empty Quarter it would be that root beer stand in Drexel. "

And if you are not a vegetarian they serve up a great hot dog! How about it?

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm enjoying your blog-- we are really interested in the urban layout and history therein. We live by Hills and Dales so we have fun researching into that park and the original vision, so I've gotten some interesting leads and ideas from checking out your site. The urban nihilism is great-- I'd love to see more ugly pix of Dayton! It's got some real armpit sections, unfortunately, but publishing this fact seems like a way to... witness it or something.

J.R. Locke said...

Jeff I really enjoy this site. I wish I researched and put the time into the posts you do. I find myself blogging about my own silly life instead of what I originally set out to do online.

You have got it right and hopefully you enjoy this because it certainly adds to the level of discussion around and about Dayton.