And, of course, while in Detroit, choose from the dozens of Arabic diners on Warren Avenue (two short miles from my new job!)...Cedarland is clearly the best, in my not-so-humple opinion, but check out other recommendations in the above linked story, including Al-Ameer's, site of my first date with Nicole. Here's another interesting article that captures the non-academic (specifically culinary) reasons why I can't wait to start work next month. Don't get me wrong, the job provides challenging teaching opportunities and close proximity to resources in working-class culture and rhetorics, but a good shawarma sandwich was another prime motivation for the move.
While not eating dolmas, we managed to find a house in greater motown. Small but cute, and walking distance to downtown Royal Oak, where Bloc Party is playing a show with the Kills opening. September 13...I'm there. Anyway, I wanted to live in Detroit proper, and the Royal Oak thing is giving me a bit of liberal guilt, but in the end Detroit 1) ended up being a bit of a hike to N's new job, 2) has really high city taxes that sort of nullify the cheaper housing prices, and 3) scared us with stories of cutting back on various public services like fire ("the local station shut down, so wait fifteen extra minutes for a truck from two neighborhoods over"), police, etc. At least--and this is the voice of me rationalizing--R.O. offers greater racial diversity and cultural possibilities than the average s-s-s-s-suburb (see, I can say it). Loads of places to grab a cup of coffee and read, plus the Main Art Theatre, a tasty gelato place, general motown atmosphere, and did I mention a Bloc Party show in like six weeks?! All in walking distance.
Alright, back to Youngstown (hey, I said this would be scattered). While in Y-town, my buddy Lew and I drove up to Cleveland for some pasta e fagioli in Little Italy, and then an Indians game at Jacob's Field. And then, driving from Youngstown to Hamilton, I experienced a stretch of highway north of Columbus where three a.m. stations were carrying Rush Limbaugh's radio program. Yes, the drive gets boring and, yes, I like to track such things. I didn't realize he still had a show, and out of masochistic curiosity managed to listen for about ten minutes. He had GOP Senator Rick Santorum on defending himself against critiques of an editorial Santorum wrote in 2002, in which he argued that the liberal ethos of Boston created an environment that fostered the Catholic Church's abuse scandal. Santorum wrote:
[I]t is no surprise that Boston, a seat of academic, political and cultural liberalism in America, lies at the center of the storm.Santorum falls short of claiming direct causation between 'liberal identity' and 'pedophile' but on Limbaugh's show stood by his claim of correlation. I was in dissertation mode three years ago when Santorum published his screed and missed any attention it may have garnered, but--as I heard the story last week--couldn't help but think about the religious right's claims that gay people caused September 11. It's Ted Kennedy's fault that Boston priests abused children? Really? And Santorum's claims are NOT completely out-of-step with sentiment I've heard over and over in SW Ohio: the country will be less moral with a liberal in the white house. Never mind that the number of abortions decreased during the two Clinton terms and increased again during the past five years. I know good and smart people who occupy all points on the political spectrum, but I optimistically see a time in future decades when our culture looks back with shame on the current regime's alignment with hatefulness, vengefulness, intolerance, and disregard for rights and liberties. Just as I hope we progress to a place where Ashcroft is remembered for the Joseph McCarthy he truly is, I also hope we get to a place where the Rick Santorums and Pat Buchanans are remembered as the Charles Coughlins that they truly are: using religion as a mask for regressive and self-serving political ideology.