Polemics & Exchanges

On Cleveland

I am sure that Scott P. Richert, in his review of Bill Kauffman’s Dispatches From the Muckdog Gazette (“Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere,” Reviews, November 2003), did not intend to single out my hometown as the standard for the corporate homogenization of America; since he did, however, let me say that I also like Cleveland.  This is not to deny that it suffers from the plagues that he mentions—the proliferation of chain restaurants and big-box stores—as well as a host of other problems, such as stupid, corrupt, and evil politicians; businessmen with no loyalty; deteriorating, crime-infested neighborhoods; rotten schools; and citizens who seemingly only like to complain and to dream about moving to a warmer climate.  I hardly think that Cleveland is unique in these regards, however; in fact, it probably retains more of its old character than many Sunbelt cities do.

I lived in the heart of the industrial armpit on the near east side for the better part of my life, long past the time when it was a decent place to raise a family.  What happened to that neighborhood and so many others in the city and throughout America is a national tragedy.  Without this collapse, there would have been no “need” for new-and-improved Clevelands, Pittsburghs, and Detroits.

The road...

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