Wednesday, June 1, 2011


7635 Broadview Rd

Cleveland, OH

(330) 928-3797

by Beau Cadiyo

Bite: some of the best fast food, service and ambiance in the region. Remember to tip your server well - it's not fun to be running to cars in this heat!

A new Republican proposal in the Ohio legislature would do away with front license plates because they don’t look good.

I’m not kidding.

Basically, Republican Rex Damschroder says that the plates pleaseth not his delicate eye and that car enthusiasts don’t want them on the fronts of cars. Also, some sports cars don’t come with brackets for the plates, so it’s apparently inconvenient. It is, in his view, not the responsibility of business to conform to laws; it is the responsibility of the laws to conform to business. Thus, we need to get rid of them on all cars.

Who opposes this? Police and law enforcement, funny enough. The front plates are useful because they help identify cars that break the law. For "Dandy" Damschroder, of course, that doesn’t matter – making things look nice is more important than public safety and enforcement of the laws, and serving the minority of car owners who actually care is more important than serving the public interest.

Is this, in conjunction with Senate Bill 5, an effort to distance the Republican party from law enforcement – a constituency which, one would think, is a natural Republican base? Perhaps. I had breakfast with D. John Horseradish recently, who is now some bigwig national political consultant. He mentioned that the Republicans have been recently exceptionally anti-government and that the Tea Party wet dream is to dismantle it at as many points as possible. In this, they are virtually anarchist; they want government to have no power over the individual citizens, and to have the citizenry in as close to a state of nature as possible. It makes sense. But this law, justified in Republican eyes because the plates don’t look pretty on expensive cars, is so far out of reasonableness as to make one question whether Mr. Damschroder actually read it.

(Interestingly, if you click on the link for “education” on his official biography, the field is blank. I’m not judging, I’m just reporting.)

Damschroder claims that, “The public wants (to get rid of the front plate requirement).” This is a surprise to me and, I’m sure, to everyone reading this. Rex, let me tell you something: the “public” of your imagination and the Public of the real world are different. The real Public doesn’t care about license plates right now. The Public wants you to go to Columbus and help figure out how to get our economy back on track however you can. The Public wants you to figure out how to ensure that our communities are safe – and yes, that means we do what we can to help police and law enforcement do their job. The Public wants you to figure out how to ensure that we don’t join California and Mississippi at the bottom of the public school rankings and that we educate our youth to take over and fix the problems that people like you create. The Public wants their potholes filled and their garbage picked up on time. The Public wants clean water and affordable health care. The Public wants criminals taken off the streets and rehabilitated, and then the Public wants to be able to integrate them successfully back into society so that they don’t pose any further threat to the Public. The Public wants its bread and the Public wants its circuses. If you can’t deliver these things, the Public wants you to stop taking up important government time with these frivolous bills which will damage Ohio’s communities in order to placate an absurdly infinitesimal minority. When you get us toward a more perfect union, then – and only then – feel free to pretty up the fronts of sports cars. Until that time, work on improving the lives of Ohioans.

And if you can’t do that, good sir, try to at least stay out of the way.

I’m really beginning to resent the constant assault on the responsible and the reasonable in favor of the merely aesthetic. Wright should have said that Form should follow function, and that function should come first; putting form in front frustrates everything else. If the Ohio Republicans were designing airplanes, they would first decide how it should look and only afterward would they try to see if the wings were aerodynamic. Essentially, we are in the middle of a war of intelligence against ignorance, a fight between the socially superior and the socially stupid. As played out in the Ohio legislature, the Republicans are attacking something that actually benefits our children and communities because he thinks it doesn’t look pretty.

This is ultimately what the Republicans are doing in Ohio right now. To all those who voted for them: you are getting the bills you deserve. After two years, we won’t be able to say the state is better under Republican leadership, but we WILL be able to say that it is less intelligent and rational.

I went to Swenson’s last night with Reuben Dagwood and Frank Kondilas; we decided a little while ago to have a book club on The Sun Also Rises. I read it every year between May and June, as I find it the perfect start to the summer, but I’ve never really discussed it with anyone. Soon after getting our Salad Boys and Fried Chicken Sandwiches, I had a whole new perspective on things.

We might be a lost generation.

But really, aren’t all generations lost in some sense? I started to think that after talking to them; we really have no purpose in the traditional sense since most of our lives are something we can take for granted. We don’t fear death so much as prolong it indefinitely; we have pretty much everything we truly need within our reach, even the poorest of us, and luxuries of the past have become as common as air. What, really, is the point of our lives, then, and how different is a weekend on West Sixth or Coventry from the nightclub scenes in Pamplona or Paris?

I’ve had the chicken sandwich at Swenson’s before; it is delicious plain, or with mayo and cheese, but with “everything” – pickles, peppers and something else I can’t quite remember – it loses some of its deliciousness. The Salad Boy, after a mint whip and fries, started to fill me up, and the patty felt mushy in comparison to the crisp-yet-tender chicken. We stood around after eating, smoking and taking snuff, and talked more about Lady Brett Ashley, about whether Jake’s impotence was physical or social or both, about how being an aficionado could just be an indication that you have nothing else of importance to go on in your life. I found it interesting that they seemed to be looking for something more to life – Reuben, a successful mortgage broker, and Frank, a high-flying international filmmaker. Then we went down the street to a bar and had three whiskies. Frank Todoroff called, and then I got gas, drove home, roasted a chicken, wrote for a while and tried to sleep. I stared up at the fan, lit by the light through the window, thinking about what I was doing with my life, whether it has meaning, or whether everything I'm doing and writing is really in vain.

As someone wrote, it is awfully easy to be hard-boiled about everything in the daytime, but at night is another thing.

Swenson's (Seven Hills) on Urbanspoon


JET said...

Personally, I would like to use my airbrushed license plate.

Kingtycoon said...

I've never been disappointed by Swenson's but I've never been extra eager to eat there. For what it is, it is basically ideal. Higher expectations are as inappropriate in sandwich restaurants as they are appropriate in politics.

What occurs to me is not that the representative from Sandusky has embraced an ideological agenda, but rather has gone to a darker place even than that of the tea-party ideologue. I suggest, in fact, that the gentleman is composing policy merely to do it. Out of idle personal whims he has taken it upon himself to arbitrarily reduce the functional role of the government's services owing purely to his own befuddled, antique sensibilities.

So says me.

(Of course there is the matter of car manufacturers having to design two different kinds of bumper for different auto markets since not all states require the front license plate - so there may be some interest on the part of his automaking constituency.)

On the matter of generations lost and found, I think I have more to say than a comment alone would bear.