In 2007, The New Yorker art critic Peter Schjeldahl gave a talk at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago in which he said that the hosting city was “a great place to be, if you have a particular reason.” He went on to call Chicago one of the “great receptor cities of the world” for all the artistic talent it sends to other places, maybe not realizing he had opened up old wounds inflicted by another New Yorker writer nearly 55 years earlier when the late A.J. Liebling proclaimed Chicago the “Second City,” behind Mr. Liebling’s hometown of New York. The most recent New York media potshot at Chicago was by Rachel Shteir, an ex-New Yorker and current Chicagoan, in a recent New York Times Book Review piece, “Chicago Manuals.” Ms. Shteir, who claimed not to be “some latter-day A.J. Liebling” in her attack on the city she has called home for the last 13 years, pointed out Chicago’s many faults, from rampant gun violence to the nation’s second-highest combined sales tax and the clear lines of segregation that zip through its neighborhoods. (Ms. Shteir’s review generated titanic reaction from the media in Chicago, all of it wounded, which pretty much proved her point; she wrote about the experience for the Observer.) I left Chicago over a decade ago, but I still recognize these problems in my beloved hometown. And yet I wondered what city doesn’t have a laundry list of specific failings.
Thomas Dyja, a Chicago native, doesn’t set out to change the view of contemporary Chicago with his latest book, The Third Coast. Instead, the book charts “When Chicago Built the American Dream” through a detailed look at postwar Chicago and how the Second City changed the course of America for good.
Last Sunday, a piece of mine, “Chicago Manuals,” was published in the New York Times Book Review, a
By the end of the week, the backlash had been picked up by the national media and meta pieces ran in the New Republic and on All Things Considered and the scandal was reviewed—like a play–in Read More
LiveSTRONG minus Armstrong
Despite the lack of of its president and CEO Doug Ulman–delayed because of weather–the LiveSTRONG Foundation went ahead with its planned “State of the Foundation” yesterday in Chicago. The task of delivering the Foundation’s remarks was given to the executive vice president of operations, Andy Miller, who we imagine started to sweat when he saw that his cancer organization–founded by the now-disgraced Lance Armstrong (LiveSTRONG had, in fact, just changed its name from the Lance Armstrong Foundation)–had decided on the title “What Now?: A Challenge for the LIVESTRONG Foundation, on Behalf of Survivors, for the Cancer Community.”
The eyes of school reformers—and their opponents—are fixed on Chicago, where the teachers’ union has picked a fight with Mayor Rahm Emanuel. If nothing else, this shows that New York’s teachers’ union has no monopoly on foolishness. Some politicians pretend to be rough-and-tumble characters. Mr. Emanuel is the real deal, as the teachers in Chicago are discovering.
The teachers’ strike has moved into its second week, although there are signs that the dispute may end as early as late Tuesday afternoon, after press time. If it doesn’t, the mayor plans to go to court to force the teachers back into the classroom. As well he should, because the strike was an affront to the city and, of course, to Chicago’s 350,000 students. Before they walked out, the teachers managed to water down some needed reforms—the city agreed, for example, to hire back some laid-off teachers regardless of their past performance in the classroom—and extracted an additional $74 million per year in salary hikes. Mr. Emanuel, for his part, insists on including standardized tests scores as part of teacher performance evaluations. The union, of course, hates this. Like their counterparts in New York’s schools, union leaders in Chicago oppose anything that even hints at accountability.
New York most definitely has a dog in this fight—his name is Rahm.
Tweet the press
Update: After speaking to Ms. Penny, she told The New York Observer she was shoved by the police, but not a victim of police brutality. And although the retweets have disappeared from her timeline, Ms. Penny said they were not deleted by herself.
You guys remember Laurie Penny? She’s the world’s luckiest woman: not only did she miss getting ht by a car, but she missed getting hit by a car by Ryan Gosling! As a writer and a feminist and a gentlewomen, the British journo was a tad ungrateful to Mr. Gosling for being famous enough that the media picked up her story and cast her as “the ditzy damsel in distress.”
Well she might not be ditzy, but Ms. Penny is certainly in distress…She’s been writing from the Chicago NATO protests, where she claims to be the victim of police brutality.
An Anti-Racist Action group has taken credit for a bizarre attack on a suburban Chicagoland eatery Saturday afternoon. At least ten people meeting inside the Ashford House Restaurant on W. 159th St. in Tinley Park were injured when a group of up to 18 attackers wearing black hoodies and carrying hammers and bats entered and assaulted them.
On AntiRacistAction.org, the group stated the alleged motivation behind the incident:
Three men who allegedly planned attacks on President Obama’s Chicago headquarters and the mayor’s residence have been arrested by Chicago police. Reuters reports anti-N.A.T.O. and Occupy Chicago-associated protesters Brian Church, Jared Chase and Brent Betterly were charged Friday with “conspiracy to commit terrorism, providing material support for terrorism, and possession of an explosive incendiary device.” In a report published Saturday afternoon the Associated Press said prosecutors allege the men also planned attacks on police vehicles and substations.
Over the weekend, Charlie Sheen was booed in Detroit and had his career as a speaker revived in Chicago (such instantaneous pulse-taking on the actor’s quasi-career as a public speaker is enough to make one regret baser elements of the Internet, which kick-started the nonsense in the first place). Entertainment Weekly, perhaps uncouthly, said Read More
On Sunday, former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel released the first commercial for his campaign to become Chicago’s Mayor on Youtube.
Emanuel left his D.C. job in September. He officially announced his candidacy in the race for Chicago City Hall on Saturday.
The ad begins by emphasizing Emanuel’s roots Windy City Read More
A nearby journalist was the unintentional victim of an attack on Rahm Emanuel.
Someone threw an egg at Rahm Emanuel while he was out campaigning for Mayor in Chicago. Emanuel left his gig as White House Chief of Staff in September to make his mayoral bid.
The flying ovum missed Emanuel and struck Read More