Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday Photo Shoot Out: the Dark Side

Welcome to the Friday Shootout. It's the Dark Side today.

One of the things I'd like to change about my town is the vacant lots.
This one is right downtown; it's the old bus station, closed for about five years now. At first, there were signs on the front saying that a new University Library and Cultural Center was coming soon, in a renovated interieur. Those signs are gone now.

Hard economic times have closed a lot of the smaller businesses in town. Being next to a closed shop makes your shop more vulnerable, too, so areas of blight tend to spread.
I hope the city and the region, if not the whole nation, come up with some sort of plan to help small business stay in business. For my part, I shop small whenever I can, preferring to pay a (limited, I admit) premium at these more personal and unique places than contribute to the big box stores on the edge of town.

For a bit of dark side in a literal sense, this is a highly volcanic region, and the specialty local stone is an excellent black basalt. Most buildings of Importance are made of it, like City Hall, and here the Cathedral. Situated on a hill, from a distance the cathedral with its twin spires looks like a big black rabbit.

Right next to the cathedral is this new statue.

Urban II and the First Crusade.
Preached to great acclaim at the end of the 11th century in Clermont, the first Crusade aimed to wrest control of the Holy Land from the Muslims. Urban never transcribed his speech, though later chroniclers and his own letters indicated that this directive was the Will of God, and participants would be forgiven their sins and assured a place in heaven. The infidels were said to be subhuman and evil. The crusaders did succeed in taking Jerusalem, just before Urban’s death in 1099. For many participants, especially the peasants who made up the vast majority of crusaders, the movement was as much a chance for riches and glory, as it was a holy mission doing the work of God.
I guess such ideas were acceptable at the time. In fact, any offensive war that's going to succeed needs to paint the adversary as 'other', 'alien', 'vermin'. This makes it okay to kill, rape, and enslave.

That's enough depressing stuff for one blog post. It is kind of pretty as a work of art.

And, naturally, my favorite dark cat!

For other takes on the theme, click here!


Ann said...

The bus terminal, may be you should the city's father to turn it to a beautiful park, with flowers, and trees. What a waste to leave it like this.

Rebecca said...

Interesting history. I think all of our towns are suffering from some closed businesses. Hopefully things will turn around.

Tabor said...

While I find your photos intriguing it is the banner photo that I like the most.

Doreen said...

we have the same thought on this one NanU. the empty stores and buildings of our towns. City Hall is magnificent.

this theme has been fun to do and love seeing how everyone has interpreted it.

Chef E said...

I love history in the mix, and your cat, love the cat- I get my cat fix when I come over here :)

I never thought of taking photos of empty places, but I also read about a girl who was lured into an abandoned building in Trenton, something that plagues this area is the crime and falling down buildings of our capitol, so sad...but the dark side!

Kerry said...

It doesn't get much darker than the Crusades, a terrible time in history. But what an impressive dark cathedral you have there, made of basalt. These places in France always amaze me.

shabby girl said...

Gorgeous old buildings! And a bit of a history lesson too.
A suffering economy makes for scary times for small businesses. You're right. Shop local.
Love that kitty!

NanU said...

It is strange sometimes, S-girl, as an American particularly, to live where so much history happened. The Crusades weren't some far-away thing. They started Right Here, at a place I can walk to. More about history in my back yard in two weeks for Local Heros!

Ronda Laveen said...

Yes, America is, comparatively, new country that those tales seem like they come from a far distant land. They almost feel like fairy tales. Great dark side post.

GingerV said...

shows that another 1000 years of man and religion and nothing has really changed - still callin g names and killing each other in 'the name of god'

my word verfication is MOOTO - if playing around - in portugues I could say 'I have no point'

Argent said...

My hometown is blighted with these empty spaces and boarded-up shops too. Some have hopeful little signs on them saying that Luxury (and it is always 'luxury') apartments are going to be built, but none ever seem to appear. The star of the post is the cat of course, although the buildings and statue are very nicely photographed,

Pauline said...

Thank you for putting your photos into context for us, Nan. I love reading about the history, New Zealand is such a young country, we have nothing that can compare. Certainly nothing like that magnificent black cathedral, and I love the evil looking black bird fountain, such a lovely contract the darkness and the purity of water. And thanks for the theme, I think it's great how we each interpreted it.

Titus said...

The cathedral does it for me. Fantastic looking building.
It's funny, I like the dark places - transition is human history, things rise, fall, and some things stay the same...

~JarieLyn~ said...

I really like your header photo. I prefer to shop small businesses also. I'm definitely not a mall shopper. Las vegas always has ugly construction going on around here too.