Eye Opening

It is funny the things around us that we don’t notice in the rush of everyday life. Awhile ago I came across this article, “United We Stand: Fresh Hoagies Daily” by Carrie Rentschler, Carol Stabile and Jonathan Sterne on the web site “Bad Subjects.” All I can say is I wish I had noticed this and photographed it. The article starts:

Driving around Pittsburgh the week after September 11th, we couldn’t help but notice that something had changed in the roadside landscape: the signs. Where roadside marquees once announced the arrival of new managers at tire shops and $.99 “values” at fast food restaurants, they now combine those messages with short, patriotic expressions — mostly cliches or variations on cliches. The sign from which this essay takes its name is a great example: a convenience store advertises its own brand of fast food, with its own brand of patriotism. These signs can be found all over the Pittsburgh landscape. The pictures that accompany this essay were taken in late October on a strip of highway leading from Butler, PA into Pittsburgh, and within the city itself. Roadside marquees can only say a little to passers-by, but as a pervasive cultural phenomenon, they can be read more deeply.


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