The City File | City File | Chicago Reader

The City File 

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

"Soon after I started liking it here, ...I began adopting the habits of a native Chicagoan," writes native Philadelphian Dennis Rodkin in New City (August 1), "such as spitting in the empty el seat next to me so I could get some privacy.... Once I'd begun to feel that Chicago really was my home, I engaged in various local rituals, including the joyous Festival of New York/LA Horror Stories and the Daily Gathering to Ridicule Bob Greene. 'Thiiiis iiiiis my kind of town,' I sang lustily one February while having four frostbitten toes removed." Pretty close--but true Chicagoans don't waste their ridicule on Bob Greene. They remember that there once was a columnist named Royko who would take on an imperial mayor when no one else would.

Number of deer-auto collisions in Cook County in 1983: 170. In 1990: 730 (Forest Preserve conservation superintendent Chet Ryndak, quoted in the Prairie Boomer, July).

"It would be irresponsible to put so many eggs in such a volatile basket as the aviation industry," concludes University of Chicago public-policy student Jonathan Silverstein in his thorough study of the economics of a Lake Calumet airport (now being circulated by the Heartland Institute). Unlike other analysts, Silverstein takes into account that economic "multiplier effects" apply to airport costs as well as to airport benefits. (For instance, just as the purchases made by airport workers go on the plus side, so the loss of purchases by displaced factory workers goes on the minus side.) He concludes that only with the most optimistic estimates for enplanements, interest rates, and multipliers will the Lake Calumet airport be worth building. "This is not to suggest that the airport will not have positive economic value. It will. However, even if the project stays within budget, that value may well be less than the opportunity cost. That means there is a better than even chance that even more jobs would be created if the money were left to the private sector."

Press releases that we understood until..."Inland Residential Sales is committed to offering affordable housing, listing only condos under $100,000."

"Far more crimes have been committed in the name of God than Satan," writes Debbie Nathan in the Chicago-based weekly In These Times (July 24-August 6), reporting the views of FBI Behavioral Sciences Unit agent Kenneth Lanning. "Some Italian mafiosi wear crucifix jewelry, some priests molest children and the 'Jonestown' mass suicide was instigated by a Protestant preacher. 'But we don't call their crimes "Christian" crimes,' Lanning points out."

Where the pedestrians are. The Friends of Downtown 1990 Annual Report compares the Loop pedestrian counts for 1981 and 1989, and finds that while there are just as many walkers, they have migrated north: "The West Loop, North Michigan Avenue, and the North Loop all gained pedestrian activity, while the southeastern portion of the Loop, including State Street, lost walkers." The two busiest blocks: North Michigan Avenue, in front of Water Tower Place and just north of the bridge.

"If a thirty-five-year-old lawyer decides to have a baby without seal of approval from church or state or enduring male affiliation, we do not consider her to be acting pathologically," writes Northwestern University political scientist Adolph L. Reed Jr. in the Progressive (August). "We may even laud her independence and refusal to knuckle under to patriarchal conventions. Why does such a birth become pathological when it occurs in the maternity ward in Lincoln Hospital in the South Bronx, say, rather than within the pastel walls of an alternative birthing center?"

The dark continent. "Each of Britain's 'serious' dailies has a full-time Africa editor, backed up by correspondents or stringers in major capitals across the continent," write Jane Hunter and Steve Askin in Extra! (July/ August). "The New York Times, by comparison, has no Africa editor, and divides responsibility for covering the 50 black-led nations of Africa between just two foreign correspondents. British reporting on Africa is far from perfect, [but at least]....African peoples and nations are visible in the British press. For the average American newspaper reader and TV viewer, the continent's 500 million people and 50 nations--spread across an area more than three times the size of the U.S.--are almost invisible."

The last word on Robert Bly's "mythic masculinity," from poet Katha Pollitt (the Critic, Summer, quoting Entertainment Weekly): "Men run the world, they have all the money, and they're still not happy? Poor babies! Bly's trying to invent some male identity not involving dominance over women, which he accomplishes by leaving women out."

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Carl Kock.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Harold Henderson

  • The Recyclable House

    The Recyclable House

    If Ken Ortiz has his way, no one in Chicago will ever simply "demolish" a building again.
    • Jul 24, 2008
  • Sympathy for the Devil?

    Sympathy for the Devil?

    Progressive scribe Rick Perlstein made his reputation finding the good in conservatives. Then they really started screwing up the country.
    • Jan 24, 2008
  • Dynamic Flash for Democrats

    Dynamic Flash for Democrats

    Wanna raise funds to run for office? Nag Schwarzenegger about health care? Or just make fun of Bush? Call Articulated Man.
    • Jan 10, 2008
  • More »

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
August 26
Performing Arts
October 25

Tabbed Event Search

Popular Stories