Hooray for Negativity! (or, how wrongs can make a right)


By Mark McKenzie.

We’ve all been told at one time or another (usually by some judge-y aunt) to stop being so negative. To look at the bright side. See the glass as half full. Admire the rings on the fist that’s punching you in the face.

Well, I’m here to say that there’s a place for negativity—in business, in advertising, and in everyday life. And that place is to help us see things realistically. Because it’s only when you own up to something being broken that you can begin to fix it.

Here in the sprawling hamlet of Cleveland, Ohio, we’re no strangers to negativity. You may have heard that, recently, Forbes Magazine named us the most miserable city in the United States. And we think that’s great news. Negativity on a scale this large can do nothing but spawn an equal amount of positivity.

Watch this magic: In a mere three minutes of misguided research, I found three separate facebook fan pages that rebuke the Forbes article: 1. NO THANKS, Forbes Magazine, 2. I don’t care what Forbes Magazine says, “I love Cleveland” , and 3. Why Does Forbes.com Hate Cleveland? Along with this blog by former Brokaw employee (and current Chicagoan) Brian Pokorny, defending his hometown.

And hey, remember the Cleveland Tourism Video made by my friend and co-member of Last Call Cleveland, Mike Polk (come see our next show!)? Some may argue that it paints Cleveland in a negative light (it’s a parody, folks), but its unabashed honesty is exactly what’s made it a phenomenon. Says Mike, “My only completely unsolicited advice would be to respect the audience and not pretend like everything is hunky dory. They have a good B.S. detector, and if you patronize them by not acknowledging the city’s struggles in one way or another, it may come off as disingenuous.”

If you get a chance, check out the comments. Not only are people defending Cleveland, they empathize with our plight. They’re embracing and rooting for our screwed up little town. Some are even scheduling vacations here.

Sometimes, it just takes a little negativity to move in a positive direction.

Because you can’t overcome the odds unless there are odds.

And you can’t say, “I think I can” until you have something to “can” against.

And you can’t save a city that isn’t worth being saved, right Drew Carey?

So come on everybody, negative it up!

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