Monday, June 12, 2006

Speak English Please At Geno's

Sure he's the grandson of Italian immigrants. Sure he has realized the American dream. Sure his family business is successful. Would assimilation have anything to do with the success of Geno's Steaks in Philly? Most likely.

Now dig this. Geno's has a sign posted -

This is America - when ordering, speak English.

Of course a civil rights watchdog agency has opened an investigation. Read about the situation and potential charges here.

Ol' BC knows where he'll be eating when he goes to Philly. I hope you all will do the same. This freedom of speech thing tends to have streets named after it.........ONE WAY.

Just an observation.


At 6:30 AM, Blogger Sir Loin of Beef said...

I wonder if Geno speaks French when ordering in France, Dutch when ordering in Holland and German when ordering in Germany? These language elitists need to come down off their high horses and come back to earth where people speak many languages. The fact of the matter is that some people simply can't speak English and should they be learning it, it is going to take them several years to be proficient.

Americans are so culturally isolated and arrogant that they believe that the rest of the world should be accomodating them at all times. I'd like to see how well an American family would get along in Turkey, with everyone telling them, "Speak Turkish!"

Not only would this intimidate the hell out of the American family, it would isolate them and cause them to remove themselves from the culture, thereby even retarding their learning process.

Slogans such as "Speak English" are ignorant and boorish in the extreme. It would be better, I think, to just hope for understanding no matter the language. In all my travels I was never once told to speak the native language, and I was thankful for this. And, I got by just fine with body language most of the time.

I can only assume that people who move to other countries feel the same.

At 2:24 PM, Blogger RightWingRocker said...

I will be in attendance at Geno's sometime within the next week or so to pick up a cheesesteak or two.

As a quasi-Philadelphian (I'm a Philly suburbanite), I can tell you from experience that the problem they're dealing with isn't so much that these people can't speak English; it's that they WON'T.

When I traveled to Germany, I learned the language (actually got to be quite fluent in it). When I traveled to France, Italy, Holland, and those places linguistically similar to them, I learned the things I needed to know to communicate in those languages with regard to the things I needed, such as ordering at restaurants and paying for stuff. That's part of your responsibility as a traveler.

Just like here in America, the people were much more tolerant of and/or friendly to me just because I was trying. Ironically, the city in which I experienced the most difficulty communicating with people in their own language was London. Go figure.


P.S. - Ol' BC, If you're going to be in Philly, make sure you get a cheesesteak at Geno's, but don't you DARE leave the area until I've personally bought you a beer.

At 7:01 PM, Blogger Sir Loin of Beef said...

So it is your responsibility as a traveler to learn the language everywhere you go? I don't think is really that true. After all, one might travel through Europe and hit ten countries with different languages in a week!

Still, my point really is that we need to lighten up a little about it in this country. This country was not born with a single language spoken throughout its borders and I doubt it will die that way either...

At 10:25 PM, Blogger Ol' BC said...

Actually, if you really don't speak English, the sign means nothing. If you've been here a good long while, there's no reason not to have learned "with or without" by now.

Beef, glad you're continuing to broaden your horizons with OL' BC.

At 12:46 AM, Blogger Texas Truth said...

Yes, there is a problem with Geno's, immigration and racism. The problem is that his business is HIS business and he can do wherever he likes. If some immigrant can't order his/her lunch in the way that is prescribed, I guess he/she doesn’t eat at Geno's. I know there are other places in Philadelphia to eat. Some of the bleeding heart liberals just don't get it. Kudos to Geno’s. He has a great deal of support out here. I have a post at my blog about this and other issues

Please feel free to stop by and read my perspective on this and other issues.

At 7:35 AM, Blogger Sir Loin of Beef said...

Well, I certainly am not saying he has no right to make his own rules in his own establishment. But really, he needs to lighten up. Kudos? I don't think so. I think he needs to pick a new battle, one with a little more substance.

At 2:37 PM, Blogger RightWingRocker said...

So it is your responsibility as a traveler to learn the language everywhere you go?

It's certainly your responsibility to give it a try. There are certainly negative consequences for not trying to communicate with people in their own language when you're in their country. I gave it a try, and was better for it.

Once again, the problem isn't that these people can't speak English. They are largely fluent in it. Even those who can't aren't expected to do any more than try. It's a way of earning respect by giving it, a concept you will learn well in your teaching career, Beef.

I know there are other places in Philadelphia to eat.

Ironically, Pat's has a similar menu and is right across the street from Geno's. One of Philly's favorite debates is over which of the two makes the better cheesesteak.

I echo Texas's kudos for Geno's. I live in and around Philly and I know that the people in question are people who are fully capable of ordering in English but openly refuse to do so. Given today's climate, I would have to agree that this battle is one of ever-increasing substance. My fedore is off to Geno's.


At 5:23 PM, Blogger RightWingRocker said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 5:25 PM, Blogger RightWingRocker said...

Ol BC Please delete my last comment ... The link is bad ...

Here is the excellent article.


At 9:34 PM, Blogger Sir Loin of Beef said...

Now he's a hero? I'm sorry, but my definition of a hero varies slightly from his.

The fact of the matter is that Joey is only showing his intolerance and ignorance. Never once in all my travels through Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East was it ever demanded of me, via a sticker or otherwise, to speak the native language. Never once did I see a sign that said, "You're in Germany, speak German!" You know why? Because not speaking the native language is not a crime. It's not an offense. It's not a slap in the face to the mother country. It's understood in most other areas of the world, besides the good old US of A, that just because you can't speak their language this doesn't mean you're a damned criminal.

Quite frankly putting up stickers and slogans of this kind speaks only to the ignorance, arrogance, and retarded vision the under-exposed have of this country. It reminds me of Bush demanding that immigrants adopt our values. This country is built upon change, the influx of values, the influences of many diverse forces. To demand that everyone suddenly live according to the Book of America is self-righteous and distasteful.

At 10:05 PM, Blogger Ol' BC said...

RWR, I'm not nearly savvy enough to delete shit.

At 6:59 PM, Blogger RightWingRocker said...

This country is built upon change, the influx of values, the influences of many diverse forces. To demand that everyone suddenly live according to the Book of America is self-righteous and distasteful.

This statement proves your ignorance, Beef. This country is not built upon change. It's built upon the solid base of Judeo-Christian values set forth in the founding documents. It's high time we began to demand that our people and out government went back to that set of documents and lived according to it.

America was a much better place when we did. And will again be when we do.


At 7:01 PM, Blogger RightWingRocker said...

Oh, and Ol BC ti delete just click the trash can in the lower corner ... you must be logged on to to do it. Of course I forgot that I can delete my own comments, so I did it.

So for practice ... you can delete this one ;)


At 10:55 AM, Blogger Sir Loin of Beef said...

This country changes and has been changing for two centuries, RWR. Therefore it most certainly is built upon change. It may have at its core a judeo-christian bent, but it certainly doesn't any more. When you say we need to get back to these "values" you undermine your own argument. By admitting that we need to go back, you admit that things have changed. Therefore, if things have changed, we might assume that they have been changing for quite some time, and therefore the country we have today was built on and by change.

At 11:00 AM, Blogger Sir Loin of Beef said...

Oh, and as for America being a better place back in the day, how do you know this, RWR? This is so typical of the Conservative mindset. You talk about a time you didn't even live in. Your only perspective is from history books. This is not in and of itself a bad thing, but you certainly can't judge the past on how good it was from a future standpoint. After all, this is completely subjective. Ask the peasant laborer or the slave in 1788 just how wonderful things are and he would likely tell you he wished he lived back when things were better!

Quite frankly, life in generalized America is so much more improved that your statement borders upon the absurd.


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