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Signs of the Times: The Unstoppable Dumbing Down of America

February 18, 2010

Signs of the Times: The Unstoppable Dumbing Down of America
By Matthew Newton

“Whether you arrive [at Casa D’Ice] in a stretch limo or stretch pants, you’ll feel comfortable the moment you walk in the door.” -Bill Balsamico

On an ugly, congested strip of highway located in North Versailles, PA — one of countless armpit towns outside of Pittsburgh — a ridiculous war of words has been playing out for the better part of a decade on the sign outside a restaurant/lounge called Casa D’Ice. This war, waged by ice entrepreneur turned outraged citizen Bill Balsamico, finds the business owner regularly preaching politics from his roadside pulpit.

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(via Annal of Americus)


The Ballast contributor Matthew Newton is a writer, editor, and blogger who lives and works in the once-decaying heart of America’s Rust Belt (i.e. Pittsburgh, PA). His work focuses on subculture, crime, mental health, race, class, and creativity.

His writing regularly appears in Spin, Good, XLR8R, Next American City, RaceWire, and Swindle, among other print and online publications. He has reported on the decline of sampling in hip-hop; interviewed artists and musicians who survived Cambodia’s killing fields; investigated the struggles of U.S. military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder; and shadowed graffiti writers, coaxing candid confessions about their obsession with illegal art.

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