The FC is nearly ready to open its first soccer-specific stadium, the West End Stadium in the West End Presented to You by TBA [Litigation Pending], and the excitement is uncontainable for those of us dealing with COVID by mixing uppers and downers.
Those of us who “live in a society” recognize that the history of the stadium is complicated. Personally, I think MLS, the team, and the stadium are all net positives for the city. No, those things do not atone for what was done to the people of the West End over the last 50+ years, and we still have an obligation to do as much as possible to make sure people have access to affordable (or free, honestly) housing. I just don’t think the stadium needs to be an obstacle to any of that, and working with the team on a community benefits plan, funding a study on the extent of the housing problem, and providing decent jobs for local people are all good things. They’re not revolutionary, and they don’t make us suddenly wake up in a functioning democracy, but they’re also not nothing.
It’s not a crime to disagree with me. You’re just wrong, and you probably have kleptomania or some other kind of anti-social disorder that needs to be treated. If so, imagine that I’m reading this article to you in a whisper.
There are certainly people with some well-reasoned thoughts about why the stadium should never have been built. I mean, there probably are, somewhere. I haven’t seen them. What I have seen are various categories of people who have seized on the stadium for their own purposes and have used the issue as a stand-in for problems (real or perceived) that they feel powerless to address but are afraid to admit it. So, without further ado, here is a complete (or incomplete, if I decide to add more later) list of the haters and losers who will be thoroughly defeated once this thing opens.
Rosie the Reds
No, not the Cincinnati Reds mascot. These are Cincinnati’s local version of “Rose Twitter,” people who describe themselves as Democratic Socialists, spam Elizabeth Warren supporters on social media with snake emojis, call things “cringe,” and use the word “liberal” as the highest possible insult. (For the record, these are my people.) When they’re not correcting your pronunciation of Slavoj Žižek or accusing their friends of being nazbols they’re tweeting about how the stadium caused all of the affordable housing in Cincinnati to be torn down.
What isn’t mentioned enough is that the stadium site was previously going to be the location of a Citirama development – 50+ McMansions costing somewhere north of $400,000 each. Then again, that might be what your average Rosie considers “affordable” – most of them did, after all, grow up in places like Anderson and Wyoming.
There are plenty of things you actually can do to fight the housing crisis, other than complaining about something that thousands of your fellow citizens (even if they are PMC) enjoy and that isn’t hurting anyone. You could organize for and try to pass a rent control law. You could run for council like 700 other people this year. Or you could work or volunteer for an affordable housing clinic that helps people fight against slumlords for better living conditions.
But that would mean less time for trivia night at Northside Yacht Club.
Apparently it’s leftist to believe that all “affordable” housing – low- and no-income housing – needs to be in the city, concentrated in a single neighborhood. (You must have loved – checks notes – the entire 20th century.) I guess we want wealthy people to have the suburbs all to themselves, so they never have to think about material conditions and they have more time for their Pelotons and getting radicalized by QAnon.
Quit complaining. You sound like a lib.
You might ask: Am I just being a manager? Am I advocating for rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic? Is this just harm reduction, that does more to prop up the illegitimate system and further entrench the ruling class?
There is a certain kind of person. This is the kind of person who lives in Blue Ash, makes his name complaining nonstop about the actions of a city that he doesn’t even live in, and absolutely hates the sport of soccer with a passion. This person also might be the kind of person who makes his date pay for her own Wendy’s.
Pay this person no mind.
First Generation Gentrifiers
You’ve seen these people. They’re people who have no other job than vaguely being an “artist,” live in $500,000 condos, and always donate at the “Host” level at local political fundraisers. They moved into OTR just as redevelopment was kicking off, and they act like no one lived there before them.
Your bar wants to put in an outdoor patio? They’ll file a nuisance lawsuit. Your Christian charity wants to build new housing for recovering addicts? They’ll call their friend, the mayor, and complain that your proposed development doesn’t have enough parking spots.
But do you want to fence off a public park for a $100-a-head pot luck? They’ll rent a white designer outfit and help you put up the tables.
As mentioned above, FC’s deal with the City required it to make some meaningful contributions to the West End neighborhood, which desperately needed some attention. By all accounts, FC is holding up its end of the bargain. (Obviously, treat public relations with a shaker of salt, but don’t hate just to hate.) And its players are doing their part as well – all credit to Saad Abdul-Salaam and new papa Joe Gyau.
Obviously, we need to remain vigilant. But those of us concerned about affordable housing, childhood literacy, struggling public schools, and income inequality were all missing the real danger of the stadium – stadium lights might bother some rich people for a few minutes.
Get a load of this lady:
It must be incredibly jarring to have someone who you have no influence over move to a close neighborhood and (in your opinion, at least) change its character. I wonder if there’s anyone who lives near her (or used to live near her) that can sympathize.
Gentrifiers (again, a group that might or might not include this writer) complaining about the stadium is the equivalent of Peter Stuyvesant looking around wondering where all these English came from.
(No, I’m not providing a link for that joke. Read a damn book.)
People with Famous Hotels Named After Their Families
You know who I’m talking about. A politician so woke, who cares so much about underprivileged people, and feels so strongly about removing everything in this city named after someone problematic, that he’s apparently never read The New Jim Crow. (There’s a very embarrassing video out there where it takes my dude way too long to understand that the U.S. prison system is modern-day slavery.)
Only a special kind of person gets to adulthood without having any traces of a real job and then decides that they should run everything. (This is where we admit that even stadium supporters count people who hold this description. Never accuse The Post of being unfair or unbalanced.)
But this is about… you know who. Someone so off-putting and buffoonish that the only reason I’m sure he’s not going down in a bribery scandal is that no one would actually want him out there supporting your deal. A guy whose greatest accomplishment is almost getting arrested over text messages where he made fun of a cancer patient.
He did get some meaningless German signs put up in Over-the-Rhine. So Foosers probably like him.
Well, that’s a full, complete, comprehensive review of everyone who has been opposed to the stadium. No other type of person exists. As you can see, the stadium opponents are not only wrong, they are hypocrites and worthy of mockery.
Now, as FC starts the season with (probably too many, to be honest) fans in the stadium, you can go to games with a clear conscience, knowing not only that you are taking a defensible side in a reasonable debate, but that you are morally, logically, and mathematically justified, and your opponents are reprobates and degenerates.
I can’t wait until every picture of the Cincinnati skyline shows the stadium sponsor’s name, lit up in neon orange.