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Can't say I ever heard of Harvey Pekar (or David H) before this post. But from the article in the New Republic, it's likely that both of them would be on Chris Orlet's list of folks it's best to avoid. Perhaps there's wisdom in the Orlet-cornfield-approach to maintaining one's isolation after all.
Catch-22 p.45Colonel Cargill had the next idea. "Maybe I ought to phone Twenty-seventh Air Force Headquarters and see if they know anything about it. They have a clerk up there named Wintergreen I'm pretty close to. He's the one who tipped me off that our prose was too prolix."
From the title I thought this was another Obama post.
Yeah, I didn't read it at first and I thought that Ezra Klein was dissing you again.
Hajdu also says quite a few complimentary things about Pekar, which have been overlooked in creating this topic and setting it's header.
"indulgent, didactic, and verbose."Who else does that apply to?
Pekar sounds like an acquaintance I know who surrounds himself with people that he can tempt into abusing him. It is a peculiar way of controlling others that seems to give him a feeling of security. It is not pleasant to be around for long.
I saw the movie. I only have a sketchy memory of it, but he seemed to magnify the drabness and insignificance of his own life. Is there such a thing as negative grandiosity?.....The article claims he was a knowledgeable about a recording that Duke Ellington made with a transient sideman in 1937. When you're that far into something, you're generally trying to escape from something else.....There was a mysterious woman who left a rose on Valentino's grave every year on the anniversary of his death. In this spirit, you should post a tart comment about Pekar's inconsequential life and work every year on the anniversary of his death.
My biggest problem with Pekar and his oeuvre is that I'm afraid that he's becoming synonymous with Cleveland -- and Cleveland already has enough problems with being perceived as somber, depressed and in decline.I live in Cleveland and it's a great place to live. We can get by fine without Harvey (and don't even get me started on LeBron!)
Anthony Bourdain on Harvey Pekar:. . . Harvey captured and chronicled every day what was–and will always be–beautiful about Cleveland: the still majestic gorgeousness of what once was–the uniquely quirky charm of what remains, the delightfully offbeat attitude of those who struggle to go on in a city they love and would never dream of leaving.What a two minute overview might depict as a dying, post-industrial town, Harvey celebrated as a living, breathing, richly textured society.A place so incongruously and uniquely…seductive that I often fantasize about making my home there. . . .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.
Peter,Bourdain is a great writer and those are very nice words about Harvey Pekar; still, the Cleveland they evoke is one that's washed up, rusted out, and on its deathbed. Personally I have a much more upbeat view of the place and don't equate it with working class heroes and the romanticized vision of noble-savages-amongst-the-ruins the way Bordain seems to. Still, his good thoughts about Harvey and Cleveland are sincere and I thank him for them, unlike the snarky sophomoric taunts of Letterman who saw Pekar as though he were some fair-game retarded guy he could make fun of without recrimination (one of several reasons why I feel Letterman is a dick.)
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