Recent Comments

Re: “Are we learning to live with Trump?

We, as the left, have no one to blame but Obama who has turned out to be another mediocre neoliberal but, then again, it wasn't people from Chicago selling him as Progressive Jesus.

I am disabled now, on disability for the time being, (I have some computer programming language tests to take before going back to seek work), and working on a series about poverty. I traveled Latin America quite a bit in the 1990s and now, a lot of the United States looks like Latin America. I remember being down by Ciudad Juarez and I confused the American side for the Mexican side, because of the ramshackle housing.

People are really suffering out there so they are connecting with the 'fed up-ness'. What I fear most is what will happen if things don't change and we don't wake up to reigning in the big banks. For one, anti-semitism is through the roof right now, as it always is when the economy really isn't doing well. It's the #1 non-solution which gets presented when people are hopeless. Two, we really need to talk about Robert Rubin and Hillary Clinton. He's been behind every financial crisis in the world and the banks doing things to manipulate world events. I have not seen a single expose about him and there are many Democrats who do not know the distinct difference between Sanders and Clinton.

We live in dark times and the media is not documenting this, whatsoever. That's a recipe for disaster.

3 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Kristopher Irizarry-Hoeksema on 01/28/2016 at 7:40 PM

Re: “To Mordor and Back

Violation of comments policy? More like the Reader being afraid to report things. Game on.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Kristopher Irizarry-Hoeksema on 02/19/2015 at 9:53 PM

Re: “The Lucas museum brings a vanity project to the lakefront

Chicago people need to stop believing complaining about something makes you a genius.
People love Star Wars. It will bring more tourists and in the process, there will be one more place that ISN"T someplace else.

I HATE Star Wars and I hate how adults are into what is, basically, a children's film. Harry Potter is far more complex. But that's it, I hate it for my own reasons. I don't go around acting like everyone else should hate it.

I don't give a fuck if they build a giant plastic butt on the Lakefront if it brings people to the city and makes people jealous of Chicago.

Look, I moved to New York in the 1990s. Chicago has that same vibe now. I feel fortunate to move back here and get a chance to understand what that's about in terms of vibe. The only thing that is different is the city is not turning into a giant mall, it has homegrown things. People USED to be jelly of New York and now Chicago is that city. This sort of thing lends to that.

I think Star Wars is dumb but it has had a huge cultural impact. We're really lucky to have that tied to our city for generations to come.

I used to be an art critic who could actually get artists into a New York gallery. I'm into all sorts of esoteric things but that doesn't make me special or smart. What makes me smart is, um, having a job that uses math and science. I also like Katy Perry and other pop stuff. Culture is what you like, it is no real determinate of intelligence. Crap, the staff in the genetics labs I did work in during college, talk about bad music and awful TV. They were geneticists, who cares what they listened to or liked?

I am pretty sure George Lucas does not think his museum is of equal importance to the Adler Planetarium in terms of real scientific weight.

It's just plain cool that a Star Wars museum could be built here. It'll make a lot of people happy and bring a lot of money to the city.

Chicago used to be a shithole and besides some of the idiotic attitudes I encounter, I would be hard pressed to say there is a more interesting city anywhere right now. Can we just fucking be happy for shit that happens here for once? If New York got a Star Wars Museum, the Village Voice would be writing excitedly about it. Because the Chicago press is not respected ANYWHERE they just complain and pretend it makes them smart.

And believe it or not, most rich people do things out of vanity and sometimes they just turn out to actually be something of merit.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Kristopher Irizarry-Hoeksema on 08/11/2014 at 11:14 PM

Re: “Heroin, LLC

It's always good to see that almost any thread in Chicago will end up with a bunch of stupid racist shit. I expect this from Tribune readers, not Reader readers, who tend to represent those of higher intelligence in Chicago.
Heroin is going to destroy Chicago. Chicago was ill prepared for this epidemic and I learned working at BBH in Baltimore that the next city the trade was planning on moving to was Chicago. A large part of that is because the racism here positions the gangs as just a bunch of dumb black kids on the corner. Perfect. Go with that. See where Chicago is at in twenty years as they triangulate with the Mexican Cartels, (I worked on the team that did the big story in 2009 for Congressional Quarterly so this is something I know about. We left out the Chicago part because Dear Leader is from here and my fellow leftists believe Democrats should not get the same scrutiny as GOPers.)
Otherwise, this is an incredibly good story, the sort of story from the Reader I grew up reading. I bet it's going to be shopped as a Wire type series about Chicago.
Anyway, I'm moving because my tech company got first round funding and we have to up to DC and I don't want any of the tax dollars we generated this year to go to this shithole state.
I hope that Chicago people wise up and elect a Republican law and order mayor. Yeah, I fully realize that the heroin trade and other gang-related businesses are there because of marginalization from economic opportunity but in order for people to demand enfrachisement, the mechanisms that economically validate disenfranchisement have to be squashed.
Also, when violence disappears, so does racism and the victims are mostly black men. As a man of color, I would rather be stopped by police and know I'm safe then to be stopped, forever, by gangs. I lived in Gulliani era New York and when I did make a mistake jumping a turnstyle and was stopped, the police were great. I very much enjoyed being in a city where I didn't have to have some banger call me a 'faggot' or say 'what you be about?"
Also, the gangs actively suppress the opposite to make sure they have labor. I was an honors student at Thornwood who used an address that was not mine so that I didn't have to go to a gang ridden school. I know that the gangs intimidate honors students specifically but my fellow lefties in journalism who have never had a gun to their head glorify the problem. It's 'cool' because the drug trade is a fantasy.
If this shit was going down somewhere in another country, the left would be up in arms and have signs all over like Save Darfur. However, we never speak ill of something Dear Leader never addressed.
Anyway, I know I'm ranting. It's sad that in 2013, when every other big city has realized that the drug trade and the gangs around it affect blacks most, we use it -- or rather, Chicago uses it -- to prop up segregation.
Anyway, good riddance. I would recommend everyone take a clue from Safeway and move. The reason they are shutting down is because Chicago, between corruption, violence, Cook County taxes and elected officials badgering businesses for a piece of the action to thrive, it's a fucked up place. I think that it will finally affect Dear Leader this year. I generally vote Dem but I'm fine with that if it becomes a liability that eventually pushes change.
I had two separate people related to elected officials threaten me for equity in my business. FTS.
I just hope the racists in the suburbs realize that this will soon be at their door because White flight runs out of places to run and because suburbanites are the base consumer for smack, it will follow the customer base. You cannot commute from Iowa to DuPage County.
By the way, to those of you who are smart and raise kids in the city, good to you. Letting them see what heroin does will insure they won't be fascinated with it.
I think we should legalize the crap, hand it out for free and let the addicts be their own anti-drug advertisement.
In the meantime, wake up Chicago liberals and get off the 'root causes' BS and elect a Republican mayor who will crack down. To weed out the root, you cut the tree first. I advocate legalization but that's about as realistic as a Harold's Fried Chicken opening in Lake Forest.
I expect some nice stupid racist comments after this little rant.
Chicago makes me ashamed to have ever served in the US Army as a 74 Delta.
Ugh, I'm going to be so happy to leave this place and go to America, where racism has actually disappeared.

19 likes, 14 dislikes
Posted by Kristopher Irizarry-Hoeksema on 12/06/2013 at 8:21 PM

Re: “The migration of the hipster

Someone said:
"The migration of hipsters= GENTRIFICATION. (low-income residents forced to move out due to higher rents and property taxes, replaced by higher income tenants. good or bad it depends on whos observing"

So I guess low-income people are totally incapable of being opjective economic observers? Low income people don't have the capability of organizing to defend their interests? Middle class people cannot move in and create cultural bridges between previous populations and all white people want to do is push the browns out, right? No one ever moves because they want to live in a diverse place? Never. And there are no white people who need cheep rent, every single one has an invisible bank accout somewhere. That sounds like my ex-wife from Argentina.
Have you ever read Mark Granovetter's studies of gentrification and the difference between neighborhoods with strong or weak ties?

Holy Jesus Christ on a bike going down hill without any breaks, gentrification is not INVADING A COUNTRY. People act like it is going into a city built by a totally different culture 10,000 years ago and forcing people out with flaming wax or something.

I'm sure that many low income people have mixed feelings about the process. I'm sure -- no, I actually know because I'm not white -- many brown people like the improved infrastructure. Even if one moves to the western side of Humbolt Park, they are still able to take advantage of the new things on the other side of the park. Never mind that new businesses provide jobs. Granted, not all of the so called 'hipster businesses' provide jobs but I'm pretty sure that Starbucks or even locally owned restaurants provide a variety of jobs that were not there before. And let me tell you, immigrant business owners are not ideal to work for, they often don't obey labor laws and can be far more 'opressive' than those awful chains with health care and stock options like Starbucks.

Gentrification, like everything, is a mixed bag but it really bugs the ever living shit out of me when people glorify poverty stricken areas riddled with gang violence. I don't know if the first year UIC student who wrote that piece of parroting ever went to the South Suburbs which are now the new repository of poverty. Life is better there, despite poverty, than in areas on the South Side. It's not the North Shore but it is better. Why not focus on the poor who moved to the suburbs for a better life? I can tell you EXACTLY how to do that if you are really so concerned with the issue: get involved with the Building One America conferences on Suburban poverty, they are building a national network to keep the suburbs which have had the migration of poverty from the city from becomming similar to the slums in Europe, where poverty festers there is no real access to jobs at the center and there are riots as a result of it. You can do something real like that or you can sit around with your smelly anarchist friends and talk about revolution. Talking about revolution is about as constructive as talking about Jesus coming and shooting lasers out of his eyes at the evil bankers who work at Wells Fargo or whatever the evil corporation du jour is with psuedo-lefties.

Like I said before, gentrification is not like the British empire, despite the analysis that your professor in birkenstocks gives you.

Also, WHAT ABOUT THE MIDDLE CLASS brown poeple in these neighborhoods? There are actually lots of them and I think they deserve a shot at equity in their home versus bullet holes in their car.

Stop actiing like gentrification is Belgium in the Congo. I'm sure at some point, hipsters might carry around antique rifles but that doesn't mean they are forward observers for an army. The way gentrification is equated to colonialism is the idea of people who never had a real problem in their life.

And guess what: some white people prefer to live in brown neighborhoods because they like to learn about other cultures. Don't analyize it. It's cool. I like that. Don't read into it because theere is nothing in that action. We should all be reaching outside of our boundaries.

5 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Kristopher Irizarry-Hoeksema on 10/07/2013 at 6:03 PM

Re: “The migration of the hipster

I think the most important unanswered question in this is: will Old Style and PBR ever be drunk by poor people again and is making PBR a hip drink for upper class arts students sort of like colonialism, but against old men with three teeth instead of indigenous people.

4 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by Kristopher Irizarry-Hoeksema on 10/04/2013 at 3:56 PM

Re: “The migration of the hipster

"I'll probably just be another asshole gentrifier in Garfield Park or La Villita."

Why? You seem like a nice person trying to find a place to permanently call home.

White people need to stop beating themselves up over gentrification. Do people think brown people like living in poor areas? The richest members of my family benefited from gentrification. Yes, it does push some people out but many poor people are able to sell homes and better their lives. It's a mixed bag but, fuck, if someone wants to take advantage of cheap property in a big city and make some money for themselves, I am not going to hate on that.

Furthermore, lets stupid being fucktarded about this: Chicago has a massive gang problem and areas that gentrify tend to get rid of the gang problem. I'm pretty sure that if bohemian types decided Roseland was awesome, it would soon no longer be the Wild 100s.

Let me also say something as a man of color about punk rockers and other counter culture types being posers: there is a pretty good bet that a person who looks punk rock is not going to say something racially insulting to me. A lot of people in sports gear, eh, tend to say racist shit, homophobic shit, etc. That's my experience.

Gentrification is better than gangs, period. I have problems with it but I have more problems with people getting shot and more problems with people growing up in food desserts.

I would love it if we lived in a perfect world where policing had nothing to do with race and class but we don't. We've cultivated a negative attitude about police for too long in my community that is adverse to them doing their work. People with guns who sell drugs are not going to be stopped by a chorus of singing children.

White people who move into neighborhood with mostly brown people are helping desegregation. The people in Lincoln Park are not yelling, "Dude! Let's go to Kedzie and 26th and buy a house, dude, with an awesome porch, dude!"

Many people who were pioneers in these neighborhoods reached out to communities of color and it's what has driven all the positives in the city.

White guilt is the most useless feeling in the world. Some of the best things in the world have come from whites and browns getting together and making shit.

I know a lot of white people who give a lot more of a shit about black people and the violence in this city than other brown people. I think anyone from the punk rock communities that were left out knows that.

I'd like to open up an office where I just insult white people who put down other white people for trying to make relationships with people of color and who want to move to places like Little Village. Fucking move there. Buy a house. The only way we will get rid of the gangs is if white people can move into those neighborhoods.

I personally, having lived in NYC during the Gulliani era, would like to see a little of that happen here. Gangs attack brown men mostly. They know white victims will put them on the news. Every white person who buys places in troubled areas means more attention paid to the area by police.

That is why I dislike the current 'hipster' discourse vs. the punk rock discourse. It's so imbued with worthless analysis and it's there to keep people from taking action. They feel smug with their theory. I promise you, if you buy a house in Little Village, the fucking Mexican family you buy it next to will be flipping out with joy.

I understand the critique of gentrification but I don't completely agree with it. I'm black but a black Latino and I think that people of color need to get over the race thing as much as white people. I know that wealthier white people are moving into cities. Chicago is one of them. Yeah, it does create friction but from what I have seen on the East Coast, it ultimately creates opportunity. It's the only way we are going to end the sucky segregation in the city. And yes, it does suck, it's not cool and it makes this place look backwards. It's the only place where I still hear people drop the n bomb. But if people cannot connect, how can we forge change?

Move where you want.

21 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Kristopher Irizarry-Hoeksema on 10/03/2013 at 7:42 PM

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