What Do You See?

Cleveland has an image problem.

There are the national jokes of course.  And the lame, poorly researched, “worst of” lists.

People from other places that have never been to Cleveland make comments about how we set our river on fire and the sports teams. Comments that are outdated or based on what they find in aforementioned articles.  You want to remain ignorant and closed-minded and not give my city a chance?  Fine with me.  Your loss.

But when outsiders come here, they often find that Cleveland surprises them with what it offers.

Look at traveler-extraordinaire Anthony Bourdain.  An epitome of snarky New Yorker, he brought his No Reservations show here and loved the city.  He’s even mentioned that that show is one of his favorites.  Fellow Travel Channel star Adam Richman shared the love in his book, America the Edible.

So many visitors see the city, and enjoy the city.  Why do so many Clevelanders not see it?

The worst image problem Cleveland has is self-inflicted.  That is, the natives who drown in self-loathing.

Local news stations linger on the negativity that flows from national sources, and rehash it, and rehash it, and rehash it again, ad nauseum.

The down-trodden set buy into these two-bit pieces of journalistic hackery and fall into self-pessimism mode.  Have a peak at the cleveland.com comments section and you see the overwhelming and unnecessary negativity at work.  Better yet, don’t…save yourself the time and irritation.

(A side note, television news is all about ratings.  They talk about what they think will get people talking and watching.  Please don’t feed the monster.)

Why do we spend so much time talking about the negatives when there are events or institutions that deserve that time?  Did you know Cleveland has the third largest fashion week in the United States behind only New York and L.A.?  Probably not, because it doesn’t get the publicity.  We also have the second largest theater district outside of Lincoln Center.

Just a sampling of what gets overlooked by locals and outsiders alike.

If we step away from the self-pity and look for the bright spots, and make those bright spots known, one day we might be able to see Cleveland for what it is and can be.

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