Cleveland has been at the mercy of 80’s nostalgia since, well, the 1980’s. The Flats were a working class Champs Elysee of the midwest, where I first bought a beer when 18 was legal. A reggae scene rollicked. The American Dream was not yet gone. It all seemed possible. And the Browns owned our hearts, breaking them always, in cold winter playoff games.
On 2018’s first cold winter weekend, the American Dream gone poof, the Flats a ghost town Potemkin Village of shiny new public subsidy of oligarchs, thousands of Browns fans will not be at a playoff game, but marching in disgust. With floats. After finally going 0-16, which we’ve all expected now for some time, Browns fans are making floats in their own garages to send a middle finger to Cleveland sports oligarchy on playoff weekend. Braving single digit temperatures, they will march around the stadium their taxes built like a kind of strange Stonehengey pagan incantation to release us from our 80’s spell.
Clevelanders have clinged to our 80’s golden age through a Clear Channel dad rock mist like grim death, as the rest of Ohio, and the midwest now does through Trump, same soundtrack. We love our home, our memories, our ancestors, and their stories, their dreams. It’s all been used against us by rapacious billionaires at the point of a gun who give us something in return for our taxes they call “The Browns.”
No less than Brent Larkin, chief pimp of Cleveland oligarchy for my entire life, has finally written what must seem to Roldo Bartimole a plagiarism of Roldo’s entire life’s work documenting sports billionaire welfare for 30 years, in one column.
Behold, Woke Larkin.
The emotional hold the Browns have on this community is as powerful as it is irrational. Nevertheless, hindsight allows for the argument that I and most other Greater Clevelanders were wrong, that we would have been better off the last 19 years without the Browns than with them.
Fuck you Brent. Larkin led the cheers like a pom pom girl for every single taxpayer handout every sports billionaire in Cleveland has ever demanded at the threat of leaving, starting with Art Modell’s in 1995. If it weren’t for Cleveland’s media sticking a knife to our throats “THEY MIGHT LEAVE” every time a billionaire needed a nickel from a poor man, we wouldn’t be in this spell.
Alas, now, no one cares if The Browns leave town and become The Feces of some other billionaire, let some other town get a hot poker up their ass for 20 years, see if we care. Great job Brent. Maybe Brent will go to the march, get on a soapbox and apologize for conning Cleveland his entire career. Get a live feed goin. Clicks. Shares. Likes.
One thing Cleveland does better than just about anyone is gallows humor, so a few thousand fans circling the rich man’s toilet their money gets flushed down? That’s us showing our love. Rising up to show it. We want our football team, we’ve proven that once. Cleveland doesn’t give up on dreams easily. In a world losing hope fast, a parade for losers feels just about right.