OT: Diaspora?

Submitted by bamf16 on August 8th, 2017 at 8:28 PM

Last night and this evening, the Tigers are playing the Pirates at PNC Park, and I've seen A LOT of Tigers gear on people walking through my city the last couple days. It got me thinking.

We Pittsburghers loathe when national TV comments about "how well Steeler fans travel" because most of those fans DIDN'T travel; they live in those cities now as a result of the diaspora (as some of us call it) created by the collapse of the steel industry throughout the 1970s. I'd be a lifelong Pittsburgher if not for my father losing his job as a part of the early 80s economic collapse here causing us to move away for a few years. We Pittsburghers are well represented in the DC area, down through Charlotte, and into Atlanta, across the Sun Belt, and even in Denver.

Before Googling this, I talked with some Tigers fans downtown today and heard a story about father-son ballpark trips before school started, students attending Pitt & Carnegie Mellon, etc, but figured I'd cast a wider net here. Am I seeing the result of some Detroit area/Southeastern Michigan movements as a result of some of Detroit's recent economic issues and the changing economy in Pittsburgh? Am I reading far too much into this? Or was it just that random groups of Michiganders sought a long weekend in Pittsburgh?

(The Red Wings fan base is also represented quite well at Pens games; yours' is one of our favorites to interact with for a myriad of reasons, like the memories of the hard fought 08-09 Cup Finals, your passionate and largely knowledgeable fans, and you're not giant douches like the Flyers fans.)



August 8th, 2017 at 8:37 PM ^

And speaking for the plethora of other Jews on this board, never name a thread topic the "diaspora." Thanks. Pretty much anything else would've been better.


August 8th, 2017 at 8:48 PM ^

Borrowed the diaspora notion from us Armenians nearly as soon as we walked down the Ark's gangplank side by side. Our travails garnered the whole "genocide" thingie, coined by a Jew about the Armenians BTW, first. Diaspora is thus a generic term applicable to many. And so now we know.


August 9th, 2017 at 10:50 AM ^

so I looked it up:

In botany, a diaspore is a plant dispersal unit consisting of a seed or spore plus any additional tissues that assist dispersal. In some seed plants, the diaspore is a seed and fruit together, or a seed and elaiosome. In a few seed plants, the diaspore is most or all of the plant, and is known as a tumbleweed.

So don't call Jews and Armenians a tumbleweed.


yossarians tree

August 9th, 2017 at 12:50 PM ^

But to answer your actual question, I believe you are seeing a mix of the two phenomena--there are a lot of former Michiganians living all over the country (our own diaspora), so it is always mentioned when Detroit teams are on the road that Detroit "travels so well." This is exaggerated in places like Phoenix, Tampa, NC, etc. especially for the Red Wings who actually take over the arena when they travel, and those are mostly all transplants.

Also for a quick four-hour drive and visit to a fellow up-and-coming rust belt (and very cool) city, I imagine a lot of those people did come in for the road trip. Tigers fans rule in Michigan. The Red Wings have a passionate fan base, but Tigers fans probably outnumber them 5 to 1. Little kids, old men, women--everybody loves baseball and the Tigers.

901 P

August 9th, 2017 at 10:19 AM ^

For a long time I had only seen the word in writing and never heard it, so I thought it was pronounced "die-uh-SPORE-uh." 

That seems to happen to me a lot. I remember playing quiz bowl and knowing that the answer was "behemoth," but I pronounced it "BEE-huh-moth." 

Not really relevant to this thread, but then again we've veered pretty far from the OP. 

901 P

August 8th, 2017 at 8:51 PM ^

I think "diaspora" may have different meanings for different groups of people. I see the word used pretty regularly in academic contexts to describe all kinds of groups, not only Jews (Asian diaspora in the United States, African diaspora, etc.). 

(Speaking as a "half-Jew" and a professor--I'm not sure I can claim to speak for all half-Jew professors.)


August 8th, 2017 at 8:53 PM ^

As a fellow Jew, I understand the emotional connection to the word, the history, the connotation, and the implications on our people in the movements both from Judea and the forced exodus many experienced throughout the 20th century.

Know that no offense was intended.

My grandparents weren't warm at first to the usage of the word, but towards the ends of their lives I didn't hear objections as much. As an econ major, I read and heard that word in conjunction with the study of various push and pull factors and the movement of human beings in that regard.


August 9th, 2017 at 12:44 AM ^

a raving anti-dentite.
My people left Pittsburgh in the 50's and settled in Detroit, the reverse of what the OP presented.
As a Los Angelino, there is nothing I like less than Bosox fans taking over Angel Stadium. If you like Boston so much, maybe move back there.

901 P

August 8th, 2017 at 10:19 PM ^

You bring up an interesting point though. There *are* debates about whether some words relating to the suffering of Jews can be re-appropriated in other contexts. The concern is that in doing so we might "water-down" the words and therefore lessen their impact in describing truly horrible events.

"Holocaust" is a word that I would be very careful using in contexts other than the extermination of Jews during WWII. Genocide is used a little more widely, but there do seem to be limits. (As earlier posters have noted, the term is generally used in relation to Armenians, as well as Cambodians and Rwandans, among others.)

In this particular instance I think you were under the impression that "diaspora" is a term similarly limited to the experience of Jews, but my sense is that it is conventionally (and uncontroversially) used in many different contexts. 

No biggie--I'm just happy to see a civil discussion on the internet!

901 P

August 8th, 2017 at 11:39 PM ^

I agree--that's what I was getting at. I think many people would say that "Holocaust" should be used in rare instances. "Diaspora"--not so much. I imagine the OP was accustomed to seeing a term like "diaspora" only in the context of Jews, and therefore thought--like "holocaust"--it shouldn't be thrown around willy-nilly.

But I also reread my comment and realized I came off as condescending and pedantic--a habit I'm trying to break.