Say It Proud 

Letters published March 15, 2006

No pussies need apply: I cringe everytime I read stories ["Dear Cleveland," March 1] about how Cleveland needs to become more "trendy" and "hip" to attract young people to make the city "vibrant." It's the same type of elitist crap that keeps me from moving to cities such as New York, Boston, L.A., or Chicago.

I'm glad that I can drink beer in a real bar with real people and not pay five bucks for a shitty Budweiser while I sit next to some sissy with over-gelled hair and designer jeans. The local media always harp on what's wrong with Cleveland and find outsiders to tell us how to fix it. Please, let's not make Cleveland a playground for pussies.

Jon Katz
Cleveland Heights

Three small problems: Funny article -- especially funny, considering that you:

1) Were just bought by the Village Voice. Hmmm, that just screams "Go, Cleveland!"

2) Employed Illinois native and cheap-beer hound Jason Bracelin as your music editor for years. His slant on Cleveland music threatened to keep the reflection in the mirror squarely in 1987 and littered with tired, blue-collar-wannabe and cheap-beer references -- despite the fact that Cleveland's music scene has been experiencing its best music in years.

3) Aren't funny.

Mike McDonald

Try the Cle-Schools Magic Multiplier: I'm uncool, and my balls hurt. However, I know I can go to East Coast Custard and ice them down. And when I want to lose one of my chins and actually see my balls again, I can go to the L.A. Weight Loss Center.

Perhaps Cleveland is missing out on some excellent branding opportunities. I have visions of chains of "Cleveland Check Cashing" stores or perhaps a children's furniture store called "Cleveland Kids' Cages." Contact me for franchising opportunities.

Rick Uldricks

The biggest group therapy on the lake: Urban therapist Ron Rajecki hit a home run. He has found the unrecognized self-wounding in our collective psyche -- our unswerving inability to see ourselves for what we are, as if we exist only by comparison to some other monolithic, undefined entity. The amount of data he provides to support his discovery is noteworthy.

His well-written article leaves it up to us to decide what to do with the evidence. I'll be back for another appointment. What's the homework?

Ed Neal

Shorthanded compliment: Rajecki raised several good points, but they were based on a specious argument. He chides local media and club owners for describing places by comparing them to Manhattan and says that by doing so, they are putting Cleveland down. Au contraire. They are complimenting Cleveland. They are using a cliché as shorthand to make a complex statement efficiently. He shouldn't fault them for it.

Worse, he never says what distinguishes a Cleveland bar, or what distinguishes Cleveland. "New York" is shorthand for hip, cool, avant-garde, trendy (my own words fail me, showing how uncool I am). When you say "New York-style," you expect something to look like the old opening credits of Saturday Night Live or pictures from a magazine (most likely written by New Yorkers and printed in New York). I love going to New York for that New York feeling. What is a Cleveland feel? (Here come the potshots from locals.)

I am from New York and now live in the Akron area. I come to work in Cleveland every day, and it is the best perk of my job. For the first few weeks, I'd get off the bus at 6:15 a.m., look up at the Terminal Tower, and exclaim, "Wow! So this is Cleveland!"

David Manka

Detroit can relate: Hilarious article. We have the same problem here in Detroit, but no one here has the balls to compare anything to New York. Here any new venue for twenty- and thirtysomethings tends to have that elusive "Chicago" feel. We suck so bad, we can't even imagine our city as being like New York. Clearly, Cleveland trumps Detroit in overreaching for the "hip" urban identity.

Amy Lee

A trend emerges: Excellent story! As a proud Tacoman who has spent his life seeing every new restaurant, club, or trendy store touted as having the "feel" of Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, or New York, I know right where you are coming from.

Earth to reviewers: If we wanted to go to places with those "feels," we'd flipping move there. We're proud of where we live. Maybe you should be too.

David Dahlgren
Tacoma, Washington

They'll come crawling back: I am a 23-year-old Cleveland native, and I totally agree with Ron Rajecki. This city suffers from being filled with a bunch of naysayers who are just here to use its resources and move on to better things.

Unfortunately, most young people don't recognize the opportunities right under their noses. Instead, they complain about how much the city sucks, yet make no effort to change it.

Cleveland's time will come, and all the people who left it for dead, trying to make it in New York or Chicago, will realize what they've been missing and come back.

Ira Ross
Cleveland Heights

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