Today in Pennsylvania...

Well, not Today today, but today as in March 20th, when I started this post. And the day that there were 2 interesting news bits out of the Keystone state. The first was from the Fair unfair city of Philadelphia, specifically from Geno's Steaks. Geno's, along with Pat's King of Steaks directly across the street, forms the nexus of the cheesesteak universe at 9th and Passyunk. To be clear, it's not that either Pat's or Geno's actually makes the best cheesesteak in the city, but they do serve the most cheesesteaks in the city. By far. Also, their almost identical steaks, on identical Amoroso rolls, with identical topping options (provolone, american, or whiz, fried or raw onions), engender surprisingly strong loyalties. Personally, I'm a Pat's guy. They chop their steak a little bit more, which I like, and don't have all the glitz and glamor of the Geno's storefront, which comes off a little too Wildwood, NJ for my taste. Also, their name is "Pat's King of Steaks", so they must be the best.

Anyway, a couple of years ago Geno's posted in their window a sign that read: 'This is America when ordering "Speak English"'.
Right above their long time pledge of customer satisfaction: "Management Reserves The Right To Refuse Service". When charges of racism and discrimination inevitably arose, Mr. Geno claimed he had never actually refused service to anyone because of the language they were speaking. That's probably true, I suspect any non-English speakers just got a stronger dose of the general assholery always being thrown about by the staffs of both Pat's and Geno's to all of their customers. Regardless, the sign quickly became the center of a debate over free speech/signage vs. immigrant rights, and resulted in a formal complaint to the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations. On March 20th, after 21 months, they finally decided that no, the sign is not discriminatory. Just sort of douchy. To the best of my knowledge, as of yet there has not been a lawsuit demanding that the unnecessary quotation marks around "Speak English" be removed. But there probably should be.

Story #2 was a NY Times dispatch from Johnstown, PA, deep in the heart of the 'tucky portion of Pennsyltucky. As part of their continuing series proving how in touch they are with the common folk, the Times reported on the general apathy among the small town Pennsylvanian electorate towards the upcoming primary vote. In a proud moment for all Pennsylvanians, they conclude with a quote from a local business leader:

Peter Contacos, 42, the fourth generation of his family to own and operate Coney Island Lunch, [...] will not vote for Senator Barack Obama, “because his name is Barack Hussein Obama — case closed.” Mr. Contacos, an avid hunter who proudly displays pictures of himself with a magnificently maned lion he killed in Botswana, said he considered Mr. Obama “a terrorist.”

Overall, not a good day for Pennsylvanian in general.


MC said...

More on Ronald Reagan’s relationship with a great leader given the name of Hussein and the origins of the name.



Spread the word.

wb said...

Umm, thank you? Sort of?

tommy said...

if these are not good days for Penn, when were the good days? The day Rocky beat Apollo Creed?

wb said...

I'm glad you asked. Important dates in Pennsylvanian history:

Summer 1776 - The founding of our country; the "Lower Counties" achieve independence as the state of Delaware. Good riddance.

1930 - Cheesesteak invented in Philadelphia.

1946 - ENIAC invented at UPenn.

1952 - polio vaccine invented by Salk in Pittsburgh.

September 1968 - Will Smith born in West Philadelphia. Later to be raised there as well.