Tag Archives: Industrial Decay

Bruce Springsteen on Deindustrialization

Writer David Masciotra is working on a book in which he will analyze Bruce Springsteen’s lyrics in context of politics, globalization and industrial decay.


He has displayed some of his work in a blog post about The Boss’ blue-collar ballad, “Youngstown.”

The song can be interpreted as a scathing condemnation of business practices that put the bottom line over the interests of American workers, to the detriment of Midwestern manufacturing towns, Masciotra writes.

An excerpt from the song:

Well my daddy worked the furnaces
Kept ‘em hotter than hell
I come home from ‘Nam worked my way to scarfer
A job that’d suit the devil as well
Taconite, coke and limestone
Fed my children and made my pay
Then smokestacks reachin’ like the arms of god
Into a beautiful sky of soot and clay

Here in Youngstown
Here in Youngstown
My sweet Jenny, I’m sinkin’ down
Here darlin’ in Youngstown

Masciotra writes:

“The comparison of smokestacks to the “arms of god” not only provides the song with powerful imagery, but gives one a sense of the unmatched importance of the steel industry to Youngstown life.

It was a benevolent giver of jobs, livelihood, opportunity, and identity. It helped individuals maintain decent lives for their families, and established value and meaning for their larger community.

Pride and purpose could be found in the assistance that Youngstown’s labor gave to American foreign policy. That is, until the foreign policy became confusing and ignoble, and the American steel industry folded.

The worker recalls his father, no doubt at this point an elderly man, expressing scarred bewilderment over how the world’s evilest men could not destroy Youngstown, but wealthy American elites with their own agenda could.”

Interesting stuff. Masciotra has also analyzed John Mellencamp lyrics from a Midwestern cultural perspective on Mellenblog.


Filed under Art, Headline

Blog Spotlight: Industrial Decay


Take a look at the photos of industrial decay highlighted by this blog.

There are an amazing amount of photos on here. My one teeny complaint is that I would like to know a little bit more about where some of the pictures were taken. It’s still well worth a look.


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Filed under Art, Featured, Rust Belt Blogs, The Big Urban Photography Project

Detroit’s Beautiful, Horrible Decline


Detroit's Main Train Station. Opened in 1919. Has not been used since 1988.

Wow. Check out this slideshow by two French photographers about decline in Detroit. Amazing.


Filed under Art

A New Look at Industrial Decay

Maybe you don’t consider industrial remnants and demolition scenes beautiful. But, at least for me, there’s something fascinating about the ruin.

A blighted, abandoned building can inspire all kinds of emotions in people, depending on their perspective. It’s sad and shocking to see failure on display. It’s interesting to glimpse into the past. It’s scary when a building is exposed to the elements of nature and the darker aspects of society.

I’ve come across two sideshows that offer an interesting perspective on the aftermath of industrial decline. In the first one a Detroit News photographer explores the abandoned Packard Steel Plant.


This second one was posted by Sean Posey of Rust Belt Bloggers. It is scenes from Youngstown set to Bruce Springsteen.


I’d like to get photo submissions (the beautiful/ugly and well as the pretty stuff) from other Rust Belt residents on our site.

Just putting that out there …


Filed under Art