Quote of the week

Richey Piiparinen on one of the uncelebrated advantages of the Rust Belt:

[B]eing born into post-industry is a good first lesson. Life is an obstacle. Cleveland prepares you.

For what?

Bullshit, or at least the proclivity of it.

Aspirations abound now. If you were only creative enough, rich enough, worldly and knowledgeable enough, then: you can become something, a star — evolved from your basic beginnings. Fine. But it’s this ambition-before-all-else mindset that has also extended our eyes from our feet, or our aspirations from our selves, and so for long the country has left its principles behind to build castles in the air with no foundation. Consequently, our culture — our sense of being from somewhere, of bleeding the aesthetic of someplace — has taken a hit. It’s no surprise, then, that our castles keep falling down into a pile of broken promises that never seem to be able to feed, clothe, or employ us properly.

To hell with it. Time to be proud in the gift of being grounded. It is the only way up.

Note that phrase “ambition before all else.” It’s killed this town once before, and it may do it again, as we try to graft A-level amenities onto a solid B-list community. It’s why we’re going to put roughly a third of a billion dollars into a convention center just in time to watch the industry’s death throes. It’s why we’re going to scrape our one legitimate architectural landmark off the ground entirely and replace it with God knows what. And it’s why we’re desperate for more skyscrapers when what we really need around here is more pedestrians.

Kevin Durant gets this town better than the movers and shakers do. I’m starting to think it’s because (1) he’s only 24 and (2) he wasn’t born here. KD is grounded in a way that I wish I was, that the Chamber of Commerce never will be.


  1. fillyjonk »

    30 November 2012 · 10:10 am


    (And I see similar things happening in the town – much smaller than OKC, of course – where my parents live. Huge building boom with not much to back it up, loss of some nice historic buildings because they’re “no longer relevant” or “not big enough,” after previous years of a “pay as we go” mentality).

    I grew up not too far from Cleveland, and in the 1970s (another recessional decade) and I think I tend to have a fairly highly tuned BS detector. Perhaps those accidents of my time and place of upbringing had something to do with that. (Though having a father who tended to be cynical about the more highfalutin’ promises of politicians probably did a lot too)

  2. Roger Green »

    30 November 2012 · 1:26 pm

    The late Harvey Pekar had been strengthened by Cleveland his whole life.

  3. Charles Pergiel »

    30 November 2012 · 2:18 pm

    Right on, dude.

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