Nick Gillespie of Reason magazine has an article in the L.A. Times pointing out something that many of us here in Chicago have been trying not to notice:
At some point in the film, the narrator—possessed of a tooth-rattling basso profundo usually reserved for more elevated art forms, such as NFL highlight reels — proclaimed, apropos of nothing, that “Chicago ain’t no sissy town!” He was, if memory serves, quoting an alderman or some other species of criminal native to the Windy City.
But it turns out that Chicago is a sissy town because that “stormy, husky, brawling … City of the Big Shoulders,” in Carl Sandburg’s evocative 1916 poem, seems hellbent on putting a chokehold on just about everything that makes a city a city. Namely, fun. Local pols evidently are more dedicated to rooting out gluttony among residents than reining in a police department neck deep in an ugly torture scandal.
It pains me to say it, but Gillespie is right. This city is run by a bunch of pussies.
Not too long ago they wanted to put a casino downtown where people could gamble away their paychecks if they wanted to, now the city has taken, uh, a more risk-averse attitude:
Over the last year, the Associated Press recently reported, Chicago snuffed out smoking “in nearly all public places” and pulled the plug on using cellphones while driving. This April, the “Hog Butcher for the World” (Sandburg again) became the first city in the country to ban the sale of foie gras, on grounds that force-feeding geese to make the tasty treat is more cruelty than Al Capone’s adopted hometown can bear.
In July, the City Council held hearings on banishing trans fats from Chicago’s fast-food chains, as if such a move could do much to clear arteries in the birthplace of the deep-dish pizza (Men’s Fitness magazine has declared Chitown the fattest city in the U.S.). There was also talk of forcing dog owners to implant identifying microchips in pooches (though not pit bulls, because if the council got its way, the breed would be no more welcome in Chicago than Mrs. O’Leary’s cow). Council members, the Chicago Tribune has noted, “have threatened to use their legislative might to improve living standards for elephants … require taxi drivers to wear crisp white shirts and matching pants and socks … [and] require cigarette vendors to display photos of diseased lungs prominently.”