A few great artists come to "own" their territory. As Joseph Mitchell once owned New York and Zola owned Paris, Harvey Pekar owned not just Cleveland but all those places in the American Heartland where people wake up every day, go to work, do the best they can--and in spite of the vast and overwhelming forces that conspire to disappoint them--go on, try as best as possible to do right by the people around them, to attain that most difficult of ideals: to be "good" people.To be good. To keep trying. To not let down the people around you. This is the essence of the Midwest, and why I feel at home here. This tells me that Pekar, despite his reputation as a curmudgeon, probably would have agreed with me about choosing Cleveland. Which was my point in posting this.
Harvey Pekar's death touches a chord
Many of my fellow Clevelanders have shared Anthony Bourdain's tribute to Harvey Pekar with one another. I didn't know Harvey, and to be honest I'm not that familiar with his work (the American Splendor graphic novel, which spawned an independent film). But this paragraph of Anthony's tells me that Pekar might have been my kind of guy: