Personal To The Winner Of The Indiana Primary
Bernie, baby, please, please, please: Start organizing a slate of allies running for US Congress, governorships, statehouses, city halls, county boards, and dogcatchers.
Who are your cohorts? Who will help you make this hugely popular so-called revolution happen? The real revolution only will come when your ideas, your aims, will be put into effect across the nation by legislators and political executives all the way down to the most local levels.
Who Are You With? Who’s With You?
I want to know who’s going to push through your revolution. I want to know who’s going to make the revolution an official part of the Democratic Party platform. Start acting like the effective leader of a movement. Make my vote for you count.
Congrats to Shelli Yoder who took the Dem nom for Bloomington et al’s 9th District US Congress seat. I like her. I also like the fact that Todd Young, who benefitted from the Tea Party mania that remade Congress in 2010, won’t be in the House come January. I worry, though, he may simply walk down the hall to get sworn in to the Senate.
I can only hope the apparent coronation of America’s Shart, Donald Trump, as the Republican standard bearer in November, will depress GOP turnout and sabotage the hopes and dreams of Young and the rest of his Me Party brethren and sisteren.
This day, 46 years ago, student protestors faced off against Ohio National Guardsmen on the campus of Kent State University. By the time the confrontation was over, four people were dead and nine wounded.
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young even got a hit song out of the affair:
The killing of students and other protestors appalled Americans, natch. That’s the myth we’ve come to believe. What we forget is the sheer numbers of citizens of this holy land who cheered the shootings and said the scruffy “unpatriotic” kids got just what they deserved. That swath of the Murrican electorate went on to help reelect unindicted co-conspirator and noted psychological piece of work Dick Nixon in one of the greatest landslides in the history of the United States.
Another thing we like to forget is the killing of two students on the campus of Jackson State University in Mississippi just eleven days later. Jackson State, like many campuses around the nation at the time, was beset by upheaval, including vandalism, arson, and attacks on uniformed law enforcement officers and firemen. The dramatic lawbreakers squeezed out the many more serious protestors, civil rights activists, and war resistors for news media attention. As at Kent State, authorities were itching to respond to the lot of them with overwhelming force and on the evening of May 11th, 1970, they did so. Some 40 Jackson city cops and Mississippi state patrolmen opened fire with shotguns and sidearms at a women’s dormitory building, killing two and injuring a dozen. Police claimed they’d been fired upon first by a sniper from a window in the high rise but a subsequent investigation found no evidence that any shots had come from the dormitory.
Mind you, this incident occurred long before the Black Lives Matter movement so the dead and injured were swiftly forgotten. They were black. The Kent State kids, OTOH, were white and so they live on in our collective memory. Such a shame, bleeding hearts may say, that youngsters had been cut down in their idealistic youth. Hardliners say, well…, you know what the hardliners have said for some five decades now.
No pop or rock stars, BTW, managed to get themselves a hit thanks to the Jackson State killings.
Winning For Losing
If Hillary is indeed the Dem frontrunner, as many wits and wags continue to insist on believing, she’s the most inept frontrunner I’ve ever seen.
I guess I grasp her supposed strategy: She and her strategists are certain they’ve got the Dem nom all wrapped up so they’re forgoing expending any time, energy, and — most important — dough on state primaries that’ll do little to pad her delegate numbers. Still, the seemingly constant onslaught of primary and caucus losses makes her look like nothing more than a loser. And believe me, her GOP opponent, Donald Trump (by god in heaven, I still can’t believe reality compels me to type those words) will hammer her with the L word every day and night from now through November.
No matter what makes strategic sense, anybody involved in a competition must maintain at least the appearance of, y’know, competing. How do Hillary’s various state volunteers and paid campaign workers continue to give their all when their candidate is shrugging her shoulders? Will Hill and her peeps be able to ramp up their ardor and work habits when crunch time comes versus America’s Shart?
Hillary’s likely to beat Trump in the general election. Or maybe that’s just me whistling past the graveyard. I dunno. What I do know is this 2016 presidential beauty contest is the most depressing, uninspiring national race I’ve ever seen. It certainly is no good advertisement for democracy.
My beloved hometown, Chicago, just may be losing its chance to be the site of a proposed George Lucas museum on the lakefront. Plans had called for the razing of the oldest of the McCormick Place exposition facilities, the Lakeside Center, and the construction in its stead of a modernistic-looking home for the paean to the man who imposed Star Wars upon the human culture.
I saw the original Star Wars at a movie theater in the summer of 1977 when it came out. I remember next to nothing about it other than understanding it was a cowboys and Indians picture set in the distant future. I’m not anti-Star Wars; I only suggest it was only a nice little light entertainment that helped me pass the time one night. Some people take a harsher view on what has became an American — and world — cultural touchpoint. Historian Rick Perlstein posits that Star Wars, along with the original Rocky, helped transform us into a nation of pollyannish eight-year-olds. Me? I figure we’d been eight-years-olds for decades before Han Solo and Princess Leia became known to every human being, dog, higher primate, and parrot in existence.
Not that I dismiss Lucas out of hand. His American Graffiti was a revolutionary film, its continuous oldies pop hits soundtrack changing the way directors have made movies to this day. Now, rather than depend on old school mechanisms like story, character development, editing, or visual makeup of the scene (mise en scène), a movie’s music consultant simply plugs in an appropriate chestnut from our hazy, dreamy past to convey mood and advance narrative. AG‘s slice-of-life, featuring and glorifying otherwise utterly unremarkable high school kids, set the stage for scads of knock offs — some even far superior to Lucas’s effort; Barry Levinson’s Diner, for instance. We now gladly accept spending a couple of hours and upward of $15 skins a ticket to see hundred-million-dollar productions about people normally no more interesting than your thirty-something niece, her boyfriend, and their circle of friends. Call it the triumph of the humdrum if you’re a cynic; a long-needed celebration of the common folk if you’re…, well, a pollyanna.
Lucas became this era’s Frank Capra, another director whom I’ll grant was proficient and worthy of attention, but — like Lucas — spoonfed us happy horseshit, blurring the line between what we wished we were and what we are.
Since Lucas has been elevated to the Capra pantheon level, he’s become a zillionaire. He and his wife decided they should fund the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art and staged a little competition between cities for the honor of hosting it. Chicago “won.” Mayor Rahm Emanuel took a break from fighting school teachers and enriching his Wall Street and LaSalle Street pals and granted the Lucases prime real estate on the city’s world-renowned lakefront for their ego monument.
When the original McCormick Place was built on the shores of Lake Michigan back in the late 1950s, public-spirited citizens kicked and hollered, citing architect and city planner Daniel Burnham’s 1909 Plan for Chicago. The Burnham plan, co-authored with Edward Bennett, called for Chi. to become a “Paris on the Prairie” with parks within walking distance of every citizen’s home and — the key here — a lakefront that would forever be free and clear of industry and development. Burnham and Bennett saw the lakefront as a lush green collar on the shimmering lake, open to all, its views unimpeded by smokestacks or ritzy apartment buildings.
But Chicago Tribune publisher Col. Robert McCormick and then-mayor Richard J. Daley wanted the huge exposition hall built on the lakefront at 22nd Street so Daniel Burnham, Edward Bennett, and public-spirited citizens be damned. Today, the Lakeside Center sits next to the water like a steel and glass aircraft carrier in drydock.
McCormick Place Lakeside Center
(The original McCormick Place exposition hall, BTW, was destroyed in a spectacular late night fire in January, 1967, the second greatest conflagration in the city’s history next to the Great Chicago Fire, and was replaced by a more modern structure in 1971.)
The almost-original McC. Place hall is woefully out of date, so say the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority bureaucrats who run the place. Tear it down they say, most likely cued from offstage by Rahm. The Lucases appeared out of nowhere and last year granted Chi. the privilege of being home to their homage to himself. We’ve got just the site for you, Rahm told them, grinning.
Now, the Friends of the Parks, another gang of public-spirited citizens, one that carries a bit of clout as well, has filed suit in federal court to prevent the construction of the museum. If the Lakeside Center is to be torn down, many suggest, why, there’s our opportunity to reopen that stretch of the lakefront per Burnham and Bennett’s vision.
Lucas’s wife, Mellody Hobson, is a big shot, high-rolling investment banker who serves on the boards of Starbucks, the Sundance Institute, Estee Lauder, and DreamWorks. And, man, is she ticked off. Hell, she complained yesterday, the poor little “black and brown children” of Chicago will suffer now because they won’t get to go downtown to see exhibits on great modern art. To which, obviously, she’s referring to movies like Antz, American Beauty, Shrek, and the forthcoming Ready Player One. All of which have been or are being produced by DreamWorks. Did I mention Hobson sits on the DreamWorks board?
Anyway, she says she and her hubby are taking their ball and going home. “We are now seriously pursuing locations outside Chicago,” she told the Tribune yesterday.
Good. Take your monument to your husband and your favorite movie production company’s movies and go somewhere else. This is the second bullet Chicago has dodged in the last few years. The first being the decision of the International Olympic Committee not to grant the 2016 Games to the city back in 2009.
There are world class cultural institutions and there are international quadrennial events. There are, too, monumental headaches and blights on the city’s front yard. Chicago can do quite well without the latter two.
May 4th Birthdays
Bartolomeo Cristofori — Invented the piano around the turn of the 18th Century. Acc’d’g to one history, Cristofori wanted to name his invention the arpicembalo. Lucky for us he didn’t get his way.
Audrey Hepburn — The only actress who could have played Holly Golightly.
Pia Zadora — Child star of Santa Claus Conquers the Martians and, later, a much-maligned grown-up actress and slightly-less-criticized singer.
Will Arnett — GOB
GOB, Left, With Buster
Erin Andrews — ESPN sportscasting figure who was surreptitiously videoed in the nude through a peephole in her Nashville, Tennessee, hotel room. The video went viral and Andrews suffered emotional trauma. This past March she won a $55 million judgement against the hotel chain (hotel employees had provided the videotaper the dates and times she’d be staying). The videotaper, a weasel named Michael Barrett, was sentenced to 30 months in prison.