02 November 2018

Image and reality

The ad above was recently posted by Nick Stella, an Illinois Republican candidate for Congress.  Meant to dramatize the dire economic fate which supposedly awaits Americans if we vote Democrats back into power, it instead exemplifies the sloppy blundering typical of Republicans under Trump -- and subtly raises a point which is the opposite of Stella's intent.

To begin with, the dilapidated street shown is not in the United States.  It's in the village of Jaywick Sands in southeastern England (the Pelosi billboard was added digitally, of course).  In 2015, official British government statistics identified Jaywick Sands as the "most deprived" community in the country.  As a result, images of the village often come up in internet searches for pictures of run-down or decrepit areas.  Most likely some lazy staffer on Stella's campaign found the image that way and decided it would do fine for this ad without checking further.  At least one local official is annoyed at Stella's use of the picture.

One thing that comes to mind is that if this is the worst-off community in the UK, then years of "socialist" (by US standards) government in that country have served it pretty well.  One could easily find dozens of American town and urban scenes that look far more dire.

Jaywick Sands is, by British standards, quite new.  It was founded in 1928 by a private entrepreneur as a beach resort, and over time houses meant for intermittent use became permanently inhabited, especially during the housing shortage that followed World War II.  A severe flood in 1953 killed 35 people and contributed to the decrepitude of the houses and streets; the fact that the place is built on a marsh means that repaired streets deteriorate quickly.

In any case, the Stella campaign's image is no longer representative.  Since the publication of the 2015 statistics, the county of Essex in which Jaywick Sands is located has spent millions to upgrade the village's infrastructure and quality of life -- the kind of "socialist" direct intervention against poverty that Republicans in the US disparage.  Flint, Michigan should be so lucky.  If you want blighted communities in the US to get a better deal, voting against Republicans is one way to help it happen.

7 Comments:

Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

Absolutely Infidel ... All across America, there are areas I have been in, that are far worse as far as infrastructure and everything else. I myself, or my familia dont live in an area really run down, but do visit areas in Dallas for example, that are much worse than this, because I have known folks there for years. Also, because I was a street kid, I just have it in me still to where I have to at least go to the hoods weekly ... hard to explain, but it gets rooted in you in some bizarre way I guess, to where you come back to it ... too hard to explain, even too myself. My guess is even some areas of Portland, I didnt get all over Portland, so I didnt see it's bad areas, but I'm sure there is some. Some of the most ran down areas I have seen over the years, were not even in urban areas in America, some areas all along the gulf coast are pretty un- kept, Mississippi was really bad as far as poverty. But blighted areas I have seen in urban areas here that were ignored much by government, was pretty bad in Atlantic City, Bronx/ NYC, Philadelphia, Detroit, Buffalo, Chicago, SE areas of LA, SE areas of Houston, etc. There has been much improvement over the years to some areas, but only because of gentrification mainly, and it's all for investments, that use public dollars as partners they say (we all know that scam too ... P3's). Anwayz, when they move out the poor, not even working classes can afford it after they rebuild there, of course they put in alot of over- priced retail, and none are without a Starbucks, and the usual chains, heh, heh, heh, heh, heh {:-) Getting more and more difficult to get cities these dayz to improve much, because we been drained financially as far as budgets, so we have to depend on private investments to take over, long story. But even all these new residences and all they build these dayz, are constructed very cheaply, and I would bet, that they will lose value fast in less than 20 years. Even all these new suburbs, planning and infrastructure for plumbing and power, are not constructed as carefully as the old, and experts in this are looking at suburbs in the future to really get bad, as far as lasting. Many investments in these new neighbourhoods that pop up all over urban Dallas for instance, will not last as long as the older places by far, even. Everything is for the short investment. You build a overpriced apartment building, hold it a few years, when maintenance starts to be needed (usually less than 5 years), you sell, and the new investment/ management starts to go downhill, every time it changes hands.

02 November, 2018 05:30  
Blogger Jerry Critter said...

It also implies that both Trump and Pence will be impeached and convicted. They must be worried that the evidence against Trump and Pence is very compelling because conviction will require the support of many republicans even if the Democrats take control of the Senate.

02 November, 2018 10:48  
Blogger Professor Chaos said...

God, I would kill for our worst areas in the US to look like that!

02 November, 2018 14:15  
Anonymous PsiCop said...

Ferfucksakes! (Er, can I post that here? Apologies, if not!) Has Stella or any of his staff or supporters been to Appalachia? Technically it's a huge swath of the country, running from northern Alabama all the way to western New York, and many chunks of it are literally hell on earth. I've been through there a couple times. Buildings falling down (that one assumes people are living in), salvaged cars and trucks on blocks in people's yards, along with dilapidated appliances and a wide range of junk. Trailers, shacks, ramshackle huts, and even tents and lean-tos are all over the place (that, again, one assumes someone lives in). I even saw a school with missing windows (and some kids at recess outside, so I'm sure it hadn't been abandoned). That was in far western Virginia, IIRC.

The thing about Appalachia is that its people are mostly all militant Right-wingers, vehemently opposed to "socialism" (or, really, any government at all). Their towns, counties, and some of their states are all run on Right-wing principles ... but their communities (if one can call them that) remain hellholes beyond compare.

And that's not all. I've been told huge chunks of the Ozarks, further west in Missouri and northern Arkansas, are very similar (but I haven't been there so I can't say so, from personal experience). That region, too, is primarily Right-wing, and it too is a rabble of "shithole counties" (to paraphrase the Groper-in-Chief).

So go ahead and tell me all about how Nancy Pelosi will somehow singlehandedly make the entire country into a ruined shell of its former self. Unfortunately, that's already taken place, in parts of it. Not only did Pelosi not have the slightest thing to do with that, there's no way she could, because she's not an autocrat who runs anything. To the contrary, that'd be the GiC ... if he had his way (which he doesn't, yet).

02 November, 2018 18:30  
Blogger Thomas Ten Bears said...

Ever visit The Rez?

02 November, 2018 18:41  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Ranch: There are certainly some bad areas in Portland. Even the part of downtown where my current job is, is pretty bad. Certainly not as bad as the worst in the country, though.

Jerry: Sorry, but I'm not seeing how the ad implies anything about impeachment.

Professor: I bet the people who live there would as well. Or to get the kind of systematic help from the government that Jaywick Sands eventually did.

PsiCop: Republicans and libertarians somehow manage to keep themselves oblivious to such realities. Poverty is just the natural state that things remain in when they're neglected. Lack of education (also the result of neglect) keeps people poor and keeps them unable to see the real reasons for their poverty. The reasons why people in that position end up becoming right-wing are complex, but you'd think the Republicans would try to do more for their base.

Thomas: I should have thought of that. I did once drive through the Yakama reservation in Washington on the way to Ellensburg, but mostly through uninhabited areas. I know conditions on many reservations are terrible, though.

03 November, 2018 15:15  
Blogger Jerry Critter said...

You are right, Infidel. I misread the ad. I thought it said “Madame President”.

03 November, 2018 20:21  

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