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A Burgher's Eyes toward Burgh

Pittsburghers have always been interested in the visitor's-eye view of their city, and whether the imported observations be well or ill-natured, the native feels pleased that his habitat has been noticed. Having dwelt under the ponderous shadow of heavy industry, the Pittsburgher has become so conditioned to dolorous descriptions and dark blanket indictments---clouds of smoke and dirt (if not of fire and brimstone) --- that he feels his city is not beautiful or amenable even if it is ugly and powerful. While he puffs out his chest with pride, he lowers his eyes in deprecation. The native's own view is often largely negative, even if the Smoky City has long since been cleaner up. The smoke and dirt have become so deeply ingrained in his spirit that, almost subconscioutly, he feels his native place is inferior.

He has come to expect the genigratory comment, the sardonic observation, even the supercilious sneer. All the while that he accepts, or even invites, disparagement of his home langscape, he yet hopes for words of appreciation and praise. However, he is often suspicious of the laudatory opinion when, as is often the case, it is offered by a visitor perceptive enough to glimpse the local splendour, the very real beauty of the place. Perhaps, the native says to himself, this is a put-on, but perhaps, perhaps, it's true.

-------------- From "Urbane, Cultivated and Formerly 'Gracious'" by James D. Van Trump
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