From the Editors: September 12, 2018
On cleaning up and getting messy
Whether at work or at play, Erie has never been afraid to get its hands dirty. Historically, we're a tactile breed, with a heritage of blue collar jobs during the day and food we can eat with our fingers when our shifts are through. Somewhere between the dust and dirt of foundries and assembly lines and the drippy ox roast sandwiches and saucy chicken wings, we can only hope soap and water was involved.
To this day, many of us intrinsically favor a hands-on approach — the no-nonsense practice of tearing problems down and building solutions up in a manner appreciable to the senses. To see major construction projects shaping up downtown — at Erie Insurance, the Erie City Mission, UPMC Hamot, and Velocity Network, for example — is gratifying for those of us to whom tangible progress is the only progress. Something like the Erie Downtown Development Corporation's maneuvers behind the scenes — including the recent acquisition of properties along North Park Row — might prove frustrating to those that have difficulty reconciling the haziness of future benefits with their eagerness for more immediate results.
Just ask Dave Harbour, star of Netflix's Stranger Things and recent visitor to Penn State Behrend for a speaking engagement. Weighing the practicality of a career in business or the hard sciences against the incertitude of a career in the arts presented a great challenge to him in his youth, as it does many high school and college students today. But if you've ever enthralled yourself in the pages of a comic book or the fantastical scenes of the silver screen, you've likely experienced the byproduct of someone's more convoluted, nebulous, and circuitous path. The Erie ComiCon — a very tangible success last year — is resurrected (in true superhero fashion) for a second go-round this weekend.
In the event you aren't ridden with the existential angst of an artist, there are matters in our physical reality that are of utmost urgency. For instance, our oft-degraded and overly-polluted Earth. Columnist Liz Allen addresses her intolerance for littering and the quandaries of recycling rules in her latest piece. It's a lot to soak in, so hopefully you have a few pepperoni balls lying at the pit of your stomach. It's easy to be cynical that we'll ever get things turned around.
But hey, stranger things have happened.