Kate's Queen City Notes

Blundering through Cincinnati, laughing all the way

The Duomo Through Telephoto

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Yesterday, I promised Satan munching on human snacks. The day has come. The Satan pic is directly below the Jesus picture in the upper right corner of the mosaic below. Enjoy.

When as I was going through these pictures, I was reminded of how much I admired the craftsmanship on display at all of the places we visited in Italy. And… it reminded me of how little we strive to make things beautiful in the United States. This seems particularly striking to me while I was driving down Colerain Ave. in Cincinnati. It’s a massive 4 lane road, that somehow also manages to be monstrously congested, and lined with oceans of dingy strip malls. It’s at once boring and chaotic, and particular mix that seems difficult to achieve. It’s disgusting.

And it’s not hard to see why Americans don’t value place. It’s because all the visual queues tell them those spaces are throwaway. The roads and parking lots are made for cars and not people. The buildings are constructed in the cheapest possible way. Construction from the 90’s is already looking dilapidated. Everything thing about this space is constructed for the maximum extraction of value.

I suspect that this is really just an offshoot of a larger truth. Italians value history over progress. They value quality over quantity. They value people over capital. America is in contrast on each of these. And seeing a culture that has chosen differently, reminds me that these are choices rather than forgone conclusions.

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