Life in the Second City

“I don’t believe what I just saw.” — Jack Buck

If you woke up blindfolded in a hotel room with no memory, one of the easiest ways to figure out where you were would be to turn on the local news. The difference between local news in big cities and small ones is gargantuan. It’s terrible everywhere, don’t get me wrong, but in smaller cities local news is unbearable. It’s a poisonous mix of Mayberry, Garrison Keillor, awful production values, and small-minded provincialism.

Well, if there’s a gulf between Topeka and Baton Rouge compared to Los Angeles and Boston, I learned tonight there’s also a huge gap between Chicago and New York.

When I finished watching The Chicago Code on DVR tonight (oh cruel coincidence, why must you mock me?), the local Fox affiliate’s local news appeared, and before I could click away, something caught my eye.

The anchor — I don’t know his name, and I don’t want to — sat on a stool by himself, facing the camera, trying as hard as he could to appear earnest. A soliloquy! Was this a terrible parody of a Frank Capra or Aaron Sorkin movie? No, no, it wasn’t. He began to speak, and this is what he said:

One more thing about what I’d like to see from the mayor of Chicago. I’m not talking about the budget plans or education reform, or ideas on fighting crime. I have a few personal qualities I’m looking for. I want the mayor to be just as excited and happy mingling with kids at a dedication of a new park playground as he or she is when welcoming a visiting head of state. [ed. note: “or she” — hilarious!].

I want the mayor to always be on the lookout for great ideas they see in other cities and countries [ed. note — try New York] and adapt them for Chicago. I want the mayor to be a demanding tough boss behind closed doors and friendly, fun-loving and likable in public. I want the mayor to not be a fan of admitting they’re a fan of either the Cubs or Sox not both, as most politicians do [ed. note — are you fucking kidding me?].

I want the mayor to be so passionate about their family that they’re not embarassed about being moved to tears in public when discussing a loved one [ed. note — so…you want the mayor to be Oprah?]. I want the mayor to care so much about the city that on the way to and from City Hall, they’re looking out the car window jotting down notes of things to clean up up and fix on the streets [ed. note: shouldn’t this salt-of-the-earth mayor be driving him or herself to City Hall rather than being chauffered so they can take notes about litter on the corner or Wacker and Adams? Or better yet, taking the El?].

I want the mayor to be real at press conferences: get mad, be silly, laugh, get emotional, but never sound like a polished, smooth-talking, scripted politician [ed. note: so…you wants the mayor to be New York Governor David Paterson, as portrayed by Fred Armisen on Saturday Night Live?].

And I want the mayor  next mayor to be someone who truly believes it’s the greatest job and the greatest cit in the world [ed. note: so…you want the next mayor to be a liar or someone with Delusional Disorder?].

OK, I admit it, I’m thinking of writing in Richard M. Daley. [ed. note: HA HA HA HA HA! “I want the next mayor to bankrupt the city. I want the next mayor to oversee a massive exodus from the area. I want the next mayor to be as corrupt as villains in 1930s mob movies. I want the next mayor to enrage citizens by selling off city services to corporations for years to come. I want the next mayor to spend untold millions on a failed Olympics bid that would have been unlikely to benefit the city even had it succeeded. I want the next mayor to cancel and/or ruin beloved local events and traditions.]

Local news on Chicago, ladies and gentlemen! On a major network — Fox, but still.

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Filed under Politics Has AIDS, Television Has AIDS, The Dilemma

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