Monday, October 5, 2009

McCullers vs Nordecke: It's Columbus Stupid

By El Chupacabra

Here's the thing. Far be it for El Chupa to take the side of the Man, but the current strife surrounding our beloved Nordecke has less to do with Mark McCullers and Crew management than it does with C-Bus itself. Columbus is the problem, people. What we have here is not a failure to communicate, so much as an ongoing battle between provincial, middlebrow, middle class, white-bread Columbus on the one hand, and the Doo-Dah, Gay Pride, Comm Fest, urban hipster Columbus on the other. The problem, however, is that when you cast pearls before swine, no amount of convincing will turn the swine from their usual slop to the genuine pearls you offer them. The key is some sort of accommodation, and McCullers is faced with marketing a product to two demographics who basically have contempt for each other. Good luck, Mark, you'll need it.

Remember Ameriflora? No? Then you're too young. But El Chupa does. Since the 1980s if not earlier, there has been a tension in Columbus. On the one side is the dominant culture represented best by the Dispatch editorial and sports pages (Ray Stein has contempt for soccer), 610 WTVN (Air Watch Traffic on the Tens, Bob Conners), the old Jai Lai, the corporatized nightmare that is the City of Dublin, the Memorial Golf Tournament, Scioto Country Club, Wendy's, the Cheff-O-Nette, and virtually every local news outfit other than the alternative papers. On the other side of Columbus are the denizens of Olde Town East, Victorian Village, German village, the Short North and Clintonville. They have the Gallery Hop, the Surly Girl, the Clintonville Farmer's Market, Calumet Market, and the Crew.

These two groups not only do not live near each other, they live in two entirely different intellectual spaces as well. Oh, they don't LIKE each other very much either.

El Chupa's late father was stationed in Cincinnati in the late 1960s (Why Cincy? I have no idea, I was only two at the time). He dreaded coming to Columbus on assignment because it was, in his words "A Freaking Cow Town." Remember there was no Gay Pride, no Comm Fest, no Doo Dah Parade, no Short North -- in short, none of the things that today serve so many of our brothers and sisters so well that we don't feel compelled to march downtown and just start fucking shit up because we're so bored. There are things in Columbus that actual thinking men and women can do to keep us from realizing just how land-locked and isolated we are from the other major centers of the civilized world. Woe to the hipster in Dayton -- he/she is screwed.

The best example of Columbus' provincial, midwestern, middle brow soul at Crew Stadium is, without a doubt, the Crewzers. High School and 6 years of grad school in Columbus taught El Chupa that whenever Columbus gets something even remotely cool, the local dominant culture will try to fuck it up by marketing it to the least common denominator: Joe and Jane Buckeye. Thus the Crew allow strippers to perform at an event where such cheese-dick, American-style-capitalism marketing schemes have absolutely no place. And don't think we don't know that Europe is slowly succumbing to such artifices. We know better. But at least in European stadiums they have 100+ years of real football culture to offset the marketing ploys of the dicks in suits upstairs. We ain't got that.

And let's be clear, there is some really cool shit in C-Bus. I know that the local hipsters get a bit jaded, but Columbus does offer a quality of life that rivals cities that have a hipper reputation, such as Portland and Seattle. The problem is that the local big money always, always, always, ALWAYS suffers from the same freaking idiocy and provincialism of the white bread hordes in the burbs who screw up virtually everything from Holloween (I know, let's be sure NOT to trick or treat on the actual day the rest of the country does! We have to protect the children!) to the Columbus Convention Center (hideously ugly does not make something architecturally avant garde) to our beloved Crew.

McCullers isn't the issue, per se. He has no choice but to kow tow to the big money. We get that. The issue is C-Bus itself. My advice to the soccer mom's? This is our house, GTFO.

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