Reading Analysis 1 – David Fleming “The Persistence of Space”

In his City of Rhetoric, “The Persistence of Space” section, David Fleming argues on the importance and influence of the physical spaces that surround us. When speaking of physical spaces Fleming introduces the idea of the towns, countries, and areas we as citizens live in. The concept of the different sections of those towns, and how the community living in and surrounding that area view that particular space. And through such perceptions the influence that our personal experience and the experience of others have on us when identifying a space for what it is. Fleming himself states in the beginning of the section that, “…we routinely make discriminations among them: we know which are better and which are worse, which are ours and which are someone else’s” (32).

The title of this section “The Persistence of Space” acknowledges the fact of the continuity of a space. The idea that space is permanently there but what truly changes is the stories connected to that area and the individuals that either decide or are forced to live there given personal circumstances. Fleming influences the reader to think about how easily were tier and rate these spaces for what they are. Through such ratings, we decide which spaces should get our attention and the ones we should stay away from and warn others about. This idea as Fleming argues is presented as  “spatial manifestations” and “place-based thinking.” In postmodern United States landscapes,  we see a major contrast of very poor and very rich neighborhoods coexistence in the same area. Fleming states, “It is a landscape in which residential areas are separate from commercial ones, single-family ones, multi-family housing, rental from for-sale properties, and people of one social group from those of all others” (33). The area that one chooses to live in is subconsciously where everyone else with the same mindset and lifestyle as well. Every area has a specific type of citizen living in it,  and areas such Washington D.C, Brooklyn New York are prime examples of that.

Fleming notes a great point that on a national and global scale, companies among other businesses capitalize on such area distinctions/characterizations. Businesses whether it be an apartment complex, small own business among others use such distinctions to thrive. Fleming states,

From a national, rather global point of view, meanwhile, we can see that some locations in the United States are capitalizing on the economic transformations of our time — places like Boulder, Raleigh-Durham, Austin , and Washington, DC, variously”creative centers,” “ideopolises” or “latte towns” — while others are stagnant or declining” (32).  

It’s spatial manifestations, in order to succeed individuals as well as groups migrate to the areas that will able them to do so. There is no real thought of the consequences that might follow or result in such migrations. As a result, two different things may occur in a certain space, it will it slowly but surely turn into an affluent isolated area and lose the history of what it once was, or continue to be poor and the citizens in such areas will have to suffer from the fact that they are being forced out of their homes because they cannot afford it. The persistence of the space does not necessarily mean it will stay one way, more so, the presence of the space will be there and the stories concerning such area will change.

Works Cited

Fleming, David. City of Rhetoric: Revitalizing the Public Sphere in Metropolitan America. Albany: SUNY Press, 2008.

The Day Beyoncé Turned Black – Formation Anniversary (Commonplace 3)

In honor of the One Year Anniversary of Beyonce’s song and music video release to “Formation,” I decided to celebrate in the only way I knew I could – a commonplace entry…

On February sixth, 2016 at 7:05 pm I was on the train coming back from a birthday trip to New York City with my best friend. I was sitting on the train, genuinely content about life and how the day went. It was my eighteenth birthday and I couldn’t have asked for anything else… then it happened. I got a notification that Beyonce Giselle Knowles-Carter released a video to something called “Formation.” Being the Beyonce fan that I am, I quickly clicked the video and what I saw – changed my view of the artist known as Beyonce forever.

The video was essentially a call out, Beyonce called out police brutality, embraced being black, and being a woman and made girls like me (a black girl living in America) proud.

One year later this video continues to have so much impact and for (arguably) the first time in her more than twenty years in the music industry, Beyonce lays it all out there. This video started a new chapter in her music, one that is raw, real and unapologetic in all aspect. The video itself packs in symbolic imagery and lyrical content. The dancers being all black women, to the lyrics claim and own her blackness, southernness, and womanness. The video speaks for itself, it starts a conversation about a dialogue that people always tend to hesitate to talk about. The fact that Beyonce, an icon in the music industry ignored the stereotype of the “uninformed celebrity” and did something for her fans and counterparts alike to open our eyes. It made us gain a newfound respect for this woman who didn’t stray away from what she believes in as a citizen of this country, she used her platform to call out society and embrace herself. Happy One Year Anniversary Formation! Bravo Beyonce!