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NY-born theater professor creates uproar with NYT essay on Chicago

It was ostensibly a book review of a few Chicago-themed books.

But Rachel Shtier unleashed her inner cunt and goes into serious attack mode on the city itself.

(Residents, as you can imagine, are in an uproar.)

by Anonymousreply 12204/27/2013


by Anonymousreply 104/24/2013

another response

by Anonymousreply 204/24/2013

I think the original NYT article is fair. I love, love, love Chicago, and my friends in Los Angeles (where I've lived for 15 years now) are probably tired of hearing about it. I would go back there in a heartbeat if I could... but that's the thing-- it's not easy to back to.

Chicago has a largely local economy. Whereas it used to be a major global center for manufacturing, architecture, and finance, today it is none of those. Chicago serves primarily as a convenient midwestern hub for organizations located elsewhere.

I imagine it's a difficult problem, but it's one worth facing. Don't shoot the messenger.

by Anonymousreply 304/24/2013

I live in Chicago, and I agree her article has a lot of valid points.

But she was a complete cunt about it.

I alternate between wanting to slap her and wanting to give the essay a slow standing ovation for well-played cunting, but either way, she can't be surprised that it's getting such a response.

by Anonymousreply 404/24/2013

The author of the article is a professional cunt. Here is one of her articles saying Rahm Emmanuel would never become mayor because he is a Jew.

By her own logic, if she was better at her job, she would be teaching and writing in New York.

by Anonymousreply 504/24/2013

I grew up in the suburbs and lived in Chicago for a few years after college, so I consider it my true home even though I've lived in NYC for 13 years and have no plans to leave.

For me, the biggest thing was the small-mindedness. And I don't mean the annoying, I-have-mine-so-fuck-you entitlement of the suburbs where I grew up, I just mean the worldview and the ideas about what people can do and accomplish in a lifetime.

The Midwest is truly great when it comes to work ethic and stolidness and trustworthiness - the cliches are all true, and I wear them proudly. But those same things can lead to a very authoritarian, keep-your-head-down, soul-killing pragmatism that leads to the heavy drinking and suburban malaise I see so much of when I go home to visit.

For better or worse, I still feel like I want to do things in the world. In Chicago, that was unusual. Here in NYC, it's a dime-a-dozen mindset. I've traded being the odd man out for being just one of millions trying to stand out, barely able to be heard above the noise. Everywhere I walk in NYC, I can't help but stumble into people who are (successfully or foolhardily, doesn't really matter) DOING SOMETHING! I'm a music/theatre person, but I know just as many literary, entreprenurial, technical, what-have-you folks who all stupidly believe and are driven by the idea that we're going to DO something, goddammit, and it's going to MATTER, and even we don't and it doesn't, our lives won't feel complete unless we try.

There is something wonderful and also frustrating about the "Appreciate what you have, mind your own business, live in the now" mindset that I really feel dominates Chicago and the Midwest. I love that Chicago is an amalgamation of some of the best of the Midwest in a City environment, but it's also the reason I never seriously consider moving back there regardless of how frustrating annoying NYC gets. I think I'd go to Berlin, first, if I were really looking to move on.

But damn, I wish you get a decent Italian Beef sandwich on the East Coast. That's probably the single thing I miss most, after friends/family.

by Anonymousreply 704/24/2013

Anyone could take ANY city and start focusing on its problems, its shortcomings, it challenges and come up with such a slanted article. To blast Chicago's geography/weather is an old, TIRED cliche, anyway. What an eye roll. New York City could just as easily be deconstructed. Pointless and meaningless. One place is only better than another based upon the opinion of the author. And opinions are like assholes. Everybody's got one.

by Anonymousreply 904/24/2013


And yet Chicago sends this out into the world...

by Anonymousreply 1004/24/2013

...while this is the reality of New York theatre's highest ambitions.

by Anonymousreply 1104/24/2013

As a former resident, I don't know what she said, but she's correct, whatever it was she said.

by Anonymousreply 1204/24/2013

Everybody's fat there, too.

by Anonymousreply 1304/24/2013

[quote] There is something wonderful and also frustrating about the "Appreciate what you have, mind your own business, live in the now" mindset that I really feel dominates Chicago and the Midwest.

That's true of a lot of older cities and a lot of the northeast as well as the Midwest.

by Anonymousreply 1404/24/2013

Oh, R6/R8, I planted my bait.

I know you, Chicago Is A Shithole Troll, would show up.

That you managed to do so in less than an hour of the original post is just extra icing on the cake!

by Anonymousreply 1504/24/2013

R 7 -- you hit it dead on. I worked for Leo Burnett there for about 8 years after college. I LOVE the city -- it's affordable, easy to get around, the architecture is brilliant -- but there really is a small mindedness about too many of the people. They don't think globally. I always felt that they were farmers and this magnificent city just happened to grow up around them. They don't have the drive or ambition that NYers have. (I later moved to NYC, but now live in Nashville.) Of all the cities I've lived in, however, I still like Chicago the best. It's just a wonderfully livable city.

by Anonymousreply 1604/24/2013

"there really is a small mindedness about too many of the people. They don't think globally"

I think that's true, but it's really also true of pretty much every other place in the US save New York, LA and maybe Miami. DC is focused on its own navel. So Chicago's not all that different than 99% of the country in that matter.

by Anonymousreply 1704/24/2013

R7, here, and I concur that Chicago has always kicked ass when it comes to (non-musical) plays. Some amazing stuff has started in Chicago, and between that and the Improv scene, that really is something that Chicago can rightly and proudly claim as theirs. Steppenwolf, the Goodman, the Cort, Chicago Shakespeare - those are truly the cream of the crop.

But if you're doing musicals? I think you have to go back to "Grease" to find something significant that actually originated there (not counting tryouts of NY-assembled shows.)

by Anonymousreply 1804/24/2013

I spent 10 years there, and what always baffled me was the fact that 30 or 40 year old men would still be hanging out with the same dozen guys they went to high school with. In a pinch, maybe a frat brother or two, but the ties always went way back.

No one evolves there.

by Anonymousreply 1904/24/2013

R19, yes, that's true. Part of the problem is that the brightest minds are drawn to more exciting places where things happen and pay is better, like New York or London, or where simple pleasures are a fact of daily life, like the constant sunshine and warm temps of the West Coast.

by Anonymousreply 2004/24/2013

[all posts by ham-fisted troll a removed.]

by Anonymousreply 2104/24/2013

"brightest minds are drawn to .... where simple pleasures are a fact of daily life, like the constant sunshine and warm temps of the West Coast."

Oh yeah, because San Diego and Tampa are just FILLED with the brightest minds of our times.

by Anonymousreply 2204/24/2013

R22, West Coast of the US, not west coast of Florida.

by Anonymousreply 2304/24/2013

[quote]To blast Chicago's geography/weather is an old, TIRED cliche, anyway.

Of course it's old and tired. It's immutable.

by Anonymousreply 2404/24/2013

If she really knew what she were doing as a theater professor, she'd be teaching at Northwestern, not DePaul, for God's sake.

by Anonymousreply 2504/24/2013

I'm not sure I wouldn't prefer a city where people focus on enjoying what they have rather than constantly striving for more.

by Anonymousreply 2604/24/2013

Fine, R22. The brilliant minds of Long Beach and Newbury Park, then.

by Anonymousreply 2704/24/2013

R27, look, I don't care what you think, you can deny it, but the fact is, Chicago is a joke. Always has been.

That's not to say it doesn't have strengths, but what it doesn't have is glamour of any kind. Without that, it's just a big, dumb cow town.

And again, I say that as someone who grew up there and lived there until the age of 30.

by Anonymousreply 2804/24/2013

R28, you're a total dick, but I actually agree with you about Chicago's lack of glamour and many other faults. (I've lived here most of my life and know them all well.) I'm just saying that, for all those faults, it's not like the "brightest minds" have all gone somewhere else. We have UChicago, Northwestern, Argonne, Fermi, deriviatives quants, etc. The bright people haven't flown, they just become terribly...midwestern.

by Anonymousreply 2904/24/2013

Datalounge is like a bunch of rabid obnoxious baseball fans who are not actually into baseball.

"My city is better than yours!"

"No, [italic]my[/italic] city is better!"

Repeat ad infinitum.

by Anonymousreply 3004/24/2013

And the theater professor who lives there and says essentially the same thing is a 'cunt'. Got it. Whatever.

Continue living in your insulated bubble world with your parochial peers.

Moving on here.

by Anonymousreply 3104/24/2013

R17 is absolutely right. People on this website, amazingly, seem to forget that the extreme MINORITY of the USA has that mindset that R7 mentions of NYC.

You can drive 30 miles north of NYC and be in "flyover" territory (New York state is rural). Many Northern New Jerseyans don't even know what's going on--it depends on what their various backgrounds are. You can meet populations of globally unconcerned people just outside of LA and SF.

I wouldn't live in Chicago, but I have enjoyed spending a couple days there at a time. There are some pleasant (albeit small) places to take a stroll just for a change of scenery.

by Anonymousreply 3204/24/2013

r9 and r30 nail it.

These articles and threads are sooooo tiresome. But carry on, City Trolls.

by Anonymousreply 3304/24/2013

Critical writing is a skill, R31.

She isn't a cunt because she dared speak against the city. She's a cunt because she was excessively negative and nasty, when a good writer's persuasiveness and use of balance in an article like that would have gone much farther.

Chicago has some great things. It also has two key weaknesses - segregation and corruption - that keeps it from achieving greater success. It is hardly the only city in the US that has those issues, though.

by Anonymousreply 3404/24/2013

Debate aside, flying out of Chicago on an early flight allowed me an incredible view from the west of the sunrise-silhouetted skyline running like a gigantic picket fence for what seemed like 5 or 6 miles.

by Anonymousreply 3504/24/2013

[quote]No one evolves there.

That can be said of 99% of my high school graduating class, about 12 miles north of Manhattan.

by Anonymousreply 3604/24/2013

I wanted to defend Chicago BUT I'm distracted by her shitty nose job. She looks like the type of girl from New Jersey that had a big honker and then got it cut up! In essence, she is an uppity and clueless cunt.

by Anonymousreply 3704/24/2013

This bitter bitch is one of those insufferable bores who can't get over the fact she's not living the life she thinks she's entitled to in NYC. But she's tied to Chicago because of her job as a tenured professor at the unsung DePaul University, and is too second-rate to be hired anywhere else. Thus, she hates herself, her life, and everything about the city where she's lived for the past 13 years.

There are many things that are profoundly wrong with Chicago, as there are with every other major American city. Shteir sprays bullets randomly at every goddamn thing, so of course she does occasionally hit a deserving target. But overall, this piece is just so full of rage and hate you're kind of taken aback by it. Does this woman get any joy whatsoever out of life? Does she have even a smidgeon of fondness for the city where she has apparently spent the majority of her professional life?

Attacking the city's corruption is one thing, but this sour pill of a woman even snarks at Chicago architecture, which is one of its legitimate glories. She also sneers at Chicago theater, which she gives no indication of actually patronizing. Yet Chicago theater is honest to god the best, and most affordable, theater I've experienced anywhere in the U.S. (including NYC, where I lived for a dozen or so years). That a *theater professor* can take no pleasure from the city's vibrant theater scene speaks volumes about what his wrong with her.

There's also her bullshit neoliberal politics. She takes several swipes at unions and union pensions (which are not an actual problem here any more than, on the national level, Social Security is). But she doesn't utter a word about the out-of-control real estate developers and the financial sectors, which don't pay their fair share of corporate taxes and are at the heart of the culture of political corruption here which she so loudly decries.

It's very telling that one of the few things about the city that escapes her wrath is Wicker Park, which she implies sprung up out from "empty storefronts and vacant lots." Um, no dear. Wicker Park is a formerly working class Hispanic neighborhood that became gentrified. Clearly what she wants is a city more along the lines of what Manhattan has become -- an anodyne yuppie paradise scrubbed of inconvenient brown people, blue collar types, and starving artists. To its credit, Chicago hasn't become that -- yet. For that, she will never forgive us.

by Anonymousreply 3804/24/2013

Applause to R38. Yes, yes and yes.

by Anonymousreply 3904/24/2013

$6.50 an hour at the parking meters?

Holy fucking shit.

by Anonymousreply 4004/24/2013

Chicago is lovely, world class museums, restaurants, shopping, great blues and improv scenes; they'd have more good theatres if The Goodman and Steppenwolf weren't intent on getting every available bit of funding available. A lot of great talent has come out of Chicago.

But it's still provincial, full of people whose only ambition was to get out of Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan and Southern Illinois. That will always be their greatest achievement.

That said, NYC is probably worse. Nowadays it's mostly just full of wannabes who contribute nothing but think they've "made it." It's part of the human condition, I suppose.

by Anonymousreply 4104/24/2013

I love Chicago, for the most part. I don't know why some Chicagoans get so defensive about negative criticism. If you like a city you like it. Who cares what others think.

by Anonymousreply 4204/24/2013

I feel the same way you do, R7.

by Anonymousreply 4304/24/2013

The article wasn't as vicious as I thought upon reading the comments. The intro is a bit bitchy, but other than that, it's not THAT bad.

I went to Northwestern undergrad and lived in Chicago for 12 years total. I often visit and always enjoy it. Of course, part of that is because I know people and I have a long list places I like to go and things I like to do. I really enjoyed college and post-college life in Chicago (and Evanston).

I don't think I'd prioritize moving back, but if I had some incredible job offer, I would go back, and I know I could build a good life there. But, I just don't have a strong urge to live there again.

by Anonymousreply 4404/24/2013

I think this discussion has been fairly level-headed. Lots of posters laying out many positive attributes of Chicago, and then summarizing its faults.

by Anonymousreply 4504/24/2013

I live in Chicago, although I was away from it most of my adult life, and I've seen that it is not in fact more corrupt than elsewhere, so the tendency of Chicago-lauding authors to try to glamorize corruption is even more irritating to me than to this woman. She's right that Chicago is a lot like Detroit and the rest of the midwest - we saw it in the thinking of Romney - power comes from who you know, not what you know, and everyone has an angle. It's dimwitted and stupid, and it was never successful. It is interesting to me because the same culture is also prevalent in New Orleans, and it seems to me what is "special" about both Chicago and New Orleans, and which Detroit lacked, was the opposite of this kind of crony corruption: a willingness to suspend this sort of shit and all its ideological appertunances when it really counts. In New Orleans, that was the spirit of the Dock Board, the Levee Board, and the Vieux Carre Commission. In Chicago it was the Union Stockyards, the Central Manufacturing District, the Union Station, the Park Districts, the Forest Preserves, the Sanitary District, the Burnham Plan, and the Chicago Crime Commission.

On the one hand, her criticism sounds a little shrill, echoes of common suburban complaints - even though all these suburbs are filled with corruption of their own. On the other hand, there is a left progressive criticism poorly defined but struggling to emerge from her little commentary (criticism of Friedman? How dare she!).

She's right that Chicago's myth about corruption being beneficial, like that of Louisiana, has been a hindrance to the city. She's wrong that Chicago lacks ambition - it is full of it, often to a truly absurd and grandiose extreme. And she's right to poke at Daley and Emmanuel - they are both dumbasses in the corporate mediocrity mode.

by Anonymousreply 4604/24/2013

r38 is brilliant.

by Anonymousreply 4704/24/2013

Her riff on "intransigent unions" is just stupid though, in the tradition of New Yorkers who don't understand labor issues. I would have expected her to have a little more insight than that if she is reading Marxist female Chicago authors. Perhaps she should pick up a book by U of C trained Greg Palast for a change.

by Anonymousreply 4804/24/2013

She just sounds like a woman who hates where she's living. Here's an interview with Carol Felsenthal where she says exactly that.

"Felsenthal posted a Q&A with Shteir, who told her, "The reaction here proves my point. Can Chicago not take criticism? Is there only one conversation to be had in the city as in 'Go Chicago?' That was the point of my piece."

"Do you want to leave Chicago?" Felsenthal asked her.

Shteir said she hoped to, one day.

And go where?

"I fantasize about moving back to New York," said Shteir."

If you know you're bitter about the city you're living in maybe recuse yourself from reviewing books about it.

I live outside the city of Chicago but I always enjoy going there, even knowing it's seriously flawed. As I've also lived in the Detroit area, again not the city, I don't see the comparison. Detroit has an aggression and sometimes an anger and a lot of racial tensions that I just don't see as much of in Chicago. I"ve known white people who were regularly harassed on the street on a daily basis just going to work. And black people who dared to go in the all white suburbs of Michigan got the same treatment. Michigan has a history of very active segregation. I've never seen anything like that in Chicago. Chicago is more of a true midwestern city with a little bit of glamour because it attracts a wide variety of international people. I think the city is divided along poverty levels more than anything else.

It's an easy city to make a punching bag out of and to point out all its problems. But it seems she's not very good at reading it as when she got it wrong when she tried to portray Chicago as so anti semitic that they wouldn't elect Rahm Emanuel.

by Anonymousreply 4904/24/2013

It's a free country. If she doesn't like Chicago, she's welcome to say so; and no one can force her to leave.

by Anonymousreply 5004/25/2013

Brilliant observation, R50.

Wow!, a "free country" argument, that's fascinating. So, similarly, those who disagree with her are "welcome to say so." And, individuals who think that those opposing her are overly defensive or otherwise off-base are "welcome to say so." And, people who disagree with those people are "welcome to say so." Duh.

What is your point? Of course she has a right to say whatever the fuck she wants. Did anyone dispute this? Likewise, anyone has the right to object to her comments, and anyone has the right to object to the objections.

by Anonymousreply 5104/25/2013

That's some little tantrum, r51.

by Anonymousreply 5204/25/2013

That's some little passive statement, R52.

by Anonymousreply 5304/25/2013

Tonight we had a delightful and inexpensive roast chicken dinner at Cafe Selmarie in Lincoln Square and I said to my companion, "I can't believe we're enjoying ourselves, what with the cubs losing and the murder rate and the privatization of the parking meters"--all of which were cited in the Shteir article as proof of the city's malaise, which is supposed to invalidate Chicago's incessant boosterism. My point was that one can be aware of all these things and still enjoy the simple pleasures of living in an affordable city with many lovely neighborhoods. To say the city is ignoring its problems is quite unfair. Every university in town devotes itself to improving the city's economy, public health, transportation, justice system, policing and on and on. There is wonderful investigative reporting going on, and pols do get sent up the river and criminals get arrested. I'm not even going to mention New York because it's a different experience entirely and really has no relevance to Shteir's assessment. This woman is not happy here, by her own admission, and latched onto three books--two of which are hack jobs not deserving of review--for the opportunity they afforded to bash the city. And weaving them into her thesis was her only interest in them. And then when people cried foul, she called them ignorant hicks in not so many words who didn't understand the function of criticism. Well, smell you, Nancy Drew. She explained her comment that "Chicago is not Detroit--not yet" by saying she was not an economist and was just throwing out the suggestion to be provocative. That's not being provocative;that's talking through your ass. The NYT got the page clicks it wanted and Shteir got the attention she so desperately craved. I do think that the farther away you get from facts and the more generalizations you strew about a city's so-called personality or values, the less likely you are to serve up anything of value. At the same time, I've lived in places where I was an outsider politically and ethnically and that's no fun at all so I can understand Shteir's feelings of isolation and anger even though I don't think there's any rational basis for it.

by Anonymousreply 5404/25/2013

If I had to leave Boston, I would probably choose Chicago.

by Anonymousreply 5504/25/2013

R28 I live in Illinois, and I agree - Chicago is a fucking shithole. It's got a nice skyline, but once you actually get into the city, it's rundown and dirty. The people are also such assholes they make New Yorkers seem like Mary Poppins, and the summers are notorious for murders.

by Anonymousreply 5604/25/2013

[quote] That's not being provocative;that's talking through your ass. The NYT got the page clicks it wanted and Shteir got the attention she so desperately craved.


by Anonymousreply 5704/25/2013

She's a miserable human being with horrible hair, who hates her job and the city it forces her to live in.

by Anonymousreply 5804/25/2013

[quote] She's a miserable human being with horrible hair, who hates her job and the city it forces her to live in.

We need to make a movie or stage play of her life!

The role Linda Lavin was BORN to play....

by Anonymousreply 5904/25/2013

I eat shit.

by Anonymousreply 6004/25/2013

I also love R38.

Shteir is just one of those NPD academics who is just so frustrated that they don't get the RECOGNITION they DESERVE. If only everyone understood how BRILLIANT she was, she would be in New York at a tenured professorship at NYU or Columbia and spending Sunday evenings watching Woody Allen playing clarinet at the Carlyle!

"I fantasize about moving back to New York." WTF? Let's be honest, bitch couldn't make it there. She'd be one of those uptight bitches waiting for the uptown 9 train (to take her to her apartment north of - don't tell anyone! - 110th Street) with the remnants of her $25 Dean & Deluca lunch in a plastic bag, suspiciously eyeing all the brown people lest one of them try to spring on her and push her onto the tracks.

by Anonymousreply 6104/25/2013

r61 rules.

by Anonymousreply 6204/25/2013

These things are always to be taken with a big grain of salt, but here's her RateMyProfessors page

by Anonymousreply 6304/25/2013

I lived for Chicago for six years, and think that Rachel Shteir pulled her punches. Incidentally, her name provides some mildly entertaining anagrams.

by Anonymousreply 6404/25/2013

Avoid! Very knowledgable about theatre, but incredibly pretentious. Chooses favorites in the class, shuns others. Does not know how to differentiate "theatre" classes from "English" classes. Vindictive. (And I did WELL in her class!)

by Anonymousreply 6504/25/2013

"The reaction here proves my point. Can Chicago not take criticism? Is there only one conversation to be had in the city as in 'Go Chicago?' That was the point of my piece."

The reaction does say a lot. And it is insults and more boosterism, ignoring all of the valid criticism. She makes points specific to Chicago, but anyone reading it can see other cities in what she writes.

I have lived in a couple of places (not Chicago) that were in denial about their very visible problems. One city was boosterism on steroids, the other very small town in every way, despite its claims to be a "city" with "culture." And you can never, ever, ever say a word about the reality of it - or they get mad at you. I am keenly aware of this, and did not say anything that could be interpreted as a criticism for the 2 and a half years I lived here. Finally, I was talking to a guy that I was friendly with about the arts, and I thought, maybe it is ok to say something. I said there wasn't enough culture or arts stuff (this city has ONE bookstore that sells new books) and he said, "You think you're smarter than anyone else."

by Anonymousreply 6604/25/2013

R56, I think part of that fake abrasiveness is, ironically, a reflection of what an overgrown, poorly-run village which Chicago is - I can't think of the right metaphor, but it's like that story about Marlon Brando - he was originally from where, Kansas or something, and he came to New York to pursue a real life - anyway, the anecdote I recall is that one day, he got out of his apartment and wanted people to notice him, so he got this really snazzy hat - at that point in the interview, Brando started giggling - because in hindsight, he realized what an ignoramus he was, 'fresh off the boat', thinking a snazzy hat is all he needed to turn him from a nobody to some dashing young urban prince. LOL

So, that's a long-winded way of saying, Chicago is populated with lots of Brando imitations. It's popular mythology that bigger and better places are more rude; so people who live there think if they trump everyone else in rudeness, it makes their cow town more alluring. LOL :-D

Cheers. :-)

by Anonymousreply 6704/25/2013

She's an academic stuck in a place where she does not want to be, probably a former "wunderkind" who grew up to be not as "wunder" as she thought. She makes some valid points but her underlying bitterness destroys any sense of objectivity she might claim to have.

There's nothing like a failed academic when it comes to bitterness. It's a small world with not a lot of possibilities of making a good buck unless you really are brilliant, which she obviously is not.

But she hits the biggest fault: the crooks in charge of government and not just the convicted criminals, of which Illinois has way too many. At least in the days of King Daley I, no one tried to hide it. But Ritchie was the king of looking the other way when corruption came into view. (And his failed attempt to get the Olympics - and wasting a lot of money along the way - is his "crowning achievement" that shows how idiotic he was.) And Rahm, admittedly inheriting a broke city, has more arrogance than answers. (His response to complaints about public transportation was along the lines of "let them eat cake.")

by Anonymousreply 6804/25/2013

Now that I've read it, I actually like her review. If she didn't care about the city she wouldn't have turned her critical eye toward it. You can't knock her for being observant.

by Anonymousreply 6904/25/2013

Saying "Chicago isn't Detroit, at least not yet," isn't criticism; it's bomb throwing. It doesn't invite reasoned discussion. I feel sorry for her students.

by Anonymousreply 7004/25/2013

How old do you think is too old to move to NY?

by Anonymousreply 7104/25/2013

R71: 78.

by Anonymousreply 7204/25/2013

I'd like to try living there, but I doubt I'd be able to find a job.

by Anonymousreply 7304/25/2013

At 78, you wouldn't need to.

by Anonymousreply 7404/25/2013

Who gives a fat rat's ass what outsiders think of their city? They act as if NYC and L.A. are without their own huge number of problems. There are lots of people who are clearly very happy living in Chicago. Those who aren't should get the fuck out, and stay out. They won't be missed.

by Anonymousreply 7504/25/2013

For an academic, Chicago is a great place to be working. One of the worst things about being am academic is you might end up in a horrible job: even prestigious jobs like Cornell and University of Iowa are in the middle of nowhere. I would say 95% of academics would give their right arm to be in a city as big and with as much culture as Chicago has--especially a theatre professor, who gets to see lots of shows there (by companies as good as Steppenwolf).

The trouble with this woman is that she's a native New Yorker, and many native New Yorkers can only be happy in New York. That's fine, and I understand how she might be unhappy. But it's a jerky thing for her to say: "I hate this shithole, and I'm allowed to say so because I have tenure and you can't fire me for saying it's a shithole." but most of her students at dePaul are from the Chicago area, and most of her colleagues are likely quite happy to be in Chicago (rather than in some godforsaken place like Boise). For her to write this so publicly is pretty much a slap in the face to all of them.

by Anonymousreply 7604/25/2013

[quote]For an academic, Chicago is a great place to be working. One of the worst things about being am academic is you might end up in a horrible job: even prestigious jobs like Cornell and University of Iowa are in the middle of nowhere. I would say 95% of academics would give their right arm to be in a city as big and with as much culture as Chicago has--especially a theatre professor, who gets to see lots of shows there (by companies as good as Steppenwolf).

Preach! And a ton of regarded BFA theatre programs, in particular, are in remote areas or places with far, far less "stuff" available and accessible than in Chicago.

And, uh, she might want to take into account that a lot of passionate theatre people are willing to temporarily live in and travel to crappy locales if they book a tour.

Maybe she just didn't have anything else to write about but thinks she's too good to just post it on the CityData forums, or she's just PISSED about the price range of cigarettes in Chicago proper.

by Anonymousreply 7704/25/2013

R71 - if you are just some kid who wants to give it a go, be under 40. If you are over 40, be someone who actually IS someone already or be someone who has outstanding skills and is gorgeous. If you are over 50, you'll probably realize, New York is really mostly for young people, and other places offer so much more when you have the luxury of living wherever you want. Obviously, if you are from here or have family, that's another dimension. But if you are an outsider, it's probably not worth moving here at some point.

by Anonymousreply 7804/25/2013

If she wrote an article about NY and pointed out the same things about NY as she pointed out about Chicago, we wouldn't even blink. We'd laugh and agree.

by Anonymousreply 7904/25/2013

Not true R79. You obviously don't know many New Yorkers.

by Anonymousreply 8004/25/2013

Something tells me that this woman would go full Amy Bishop if the her El train got delayed because of a Cubs game.

"This is Fullerton. Doors open on the left at Fullerton." BOOM BOOM BOOM!

by Anonymousreply 8104/25/2013

LOL @ R82!

Three words: Ground Zero Mosque.

Remember, Fox News broadcasts from Sixth Avenue and your leading citizens include Donald Trump and the Koch Brothers.

by Anonymousreply 8304/25/2013

Chicago, you in danger gurl!

by Anonymousreply 8404/25/2013

R83 - oh, please, get over your superstitious incantations. You don't just throw out some scary words like Trump or Koch and prove, thusly, that a metropolitan area of 20+ million people is fairly represented by their 2 or 3 most extreme residents.

New York is deeply Democratic and liberal. No two ways around that. None.

But never mind what I think, you Republicans just keep pushing that prejudice and bigotry card - worked well for you with regard to Romney, and every single candidate Rove had a hand in, lol. :-D

by Anonymousreply 8504/25/2013

The person @ R85 is the biggest fucking tool. Seriously. LOL. Trolldar them.

by Anonymousreply 8604/25/2013

Seriously, Wall Street capital bankrolls the American right in order to protect its economic interests and idiots like R85 pretend that all those mighty skyscrapers they are so proud of are filled with UC Berkley students. Fuck you, you racist parochial tool.

by Anonymousreply 8704/25/2013

'Seriously. LOL'

Oh, dear.

by Anonymousreply 8804/25/2013

I'd like to take this broad over by the pier for a little smelt fishing this weekend. If she has a couple too many beers and maybe falls in, well, my eyes ain't what they used to be.

by Anonymousreply 8904/25/2013

Speaking of provincialism, "Boston Strong" bugs me. "Boston United," "Boston Forever," "Boston Lives," "Stay Strong, Boston." These I could accept. But "Boston Strong" is just so aggressive and possessive.

by Anonymousreply 9004/25/2013

[quote] Not true [R79]. You obviously don't know many New Yorkers

I live in NY, know hundreds of NYers personally and travel with thousands of NYers every day.

Pretty much every issue of the New Yorker or NY Mag has an article pointing out various flaws about NY. We have newspapers almost devoted to writing bad things about NYC. Try reading The Observer some time.

We're cool with it.

Just because you take the Datalounge anti-NYC/pro-NYC Troll (yes, it's the same person) seriously doesn't mean anyone outside of the dozen or so Datalounge posters does.

by Anonymousreply 9104/25/2013

What is up with these "my city is better" types? Get a life people. All cities has its good and bad.

by Anonymousreply 9204/25/2013

Blah blah blah R91. Stuff and nonsense. Most New Yorker, including you, don't even know how their city government works much less what its virtues and faults are. Mayor Bloomberg could have stolen every last dime and you'd never know.

by Anonymousreply 9304/25/2013

The plain fact is that Chicago's politics are covered in the news. New York's politics are not. They are hidden behind layers of secrecy. The Chicago Tribune will run a hundred articles on local politics in a week. How many articles on local politics do see in the LA Times or the New York Times? I'll wager neither paper runs as many as 100 articles in a year on local government. Your "virtuous indifference" is just ignorance.

by Anonymousreply 9404/25/2013

Thanks for the depressing news, r78.

by Anonymousreply 9504/25/2013

The flip side of that of course is that Chicagoans know next to nothing about what America is doing overseas. Voila provincialism.

by Anonymousreply 9604/25/2013

yes r34 but take a city like Cleveland where some of my family members live. It has the same segregation and corruption but has never been able to become close to the city Chicago is. I don't know enough about it to know why it is that way but I know I've read about some fucked up stuff when I visit my brother and it just seems to happen over and over again there. At least Chicago is a city many can say is a good city. Not so with Cleveland.

by Anonymousreply 9704/25/2013

R85 You do realize don't you that Chicago is also a very democratic and liberal city. And as the Ground Zero Mosque was such a huge controversy in New York plus you had a woman push someone in front of a train because she thought they were Muslim, you do seem to have an anti Muslim problem of some kind. Chicago has its problems but a strong anti muslim sentiment isn't one of them.

And there's no shortage of coverage about Chicago and its problems so the suggestion that people are thin skinned is nuts. It's not like New York doesn't have its absurdity like the once proposed ban on large soda drinks, the above mentioned pushing people onto train tracks, your politicians like Spitzer and his prostitutes.

I have nothing against New York but your 'look how superior we are' attitude is what makes people from there insufferable. Every major city in America, especially ones with a diverse population has its problem. Stop acting like in New York your shit doesn't stink. It does.

by Anonymousreply 9804/25/2013

FWIW, I always enjoy my visits to Chicago. I appreciate the architecture, food and arts scene that they have going on there, precisely because it is so different from my city (L.A). I do, however, think there is at least the tiniest bit of an inferiority complex that Chicago seems to have vs. New York and that is where I appreciate L.A. We don't emulate or compare ourselves to NYC, and that is where Chicago falls short. Be different. Don't be a second-rate other city.

by Anonymousreply 9904/25/2013

There are an awful lot of major corporate headquarters in Chicago for anyone to claim its people don't think internationally.

(and physically Detroit and Chicago are closer to a foreign country than NYC is)

by Anonymousreply 10004/25/2013

Yes, while Rate My Professor profiles must be taken with a grain of salt, hers are some of the worst I've ever read.

Obviously she's as much of a cunt to her students as she is as a writer.

by Anonymousreply 10104/25/2013

Who were the leads when she saw it?

The quality varies a lot I'm afraid.

by Anonymousreply 10204/25/2013

oops I meant Barry and Fran^^^^

oh darn

by Anonymousreply 10304/25/2013

I think that whoever it was that said she just sounds like a born-and-raised New Yorker who isn't really happy living anywhere else is right on. I find that totally understandable and am always a little surprised when I see NYC native college friends waxing rhapsodic over the smaller cities, towns, etc. where they ended up after graduation.

Having said that, the fact that she thought Rahm wouldn't be elected in late 2010 shows that even from the perspective of someone with total contempt for the city, she doesn't understand Chicago at all. I love Chicago, but people here will vote for who they're told to. The picture accompanying that article was taken at a train station near my office and I remember that the day he showed up to gladhand during the morning commute it was already an obvious done deal that he'd win.

by Anonymousreply 10404/25/2013

Also, of course Chicago has (more than) a touch of an inferiority complex and a goofy world's-biggest-small-town mentality. I was born and raised here and it used to drive me crazy seeing the local news treat any tangential connection to a national story the way you would expect the Quad Cities NBC affiliate to behave if a girl from Rock Island was nominated for an Oscar - as an adult I find it kind of endearing, but it's silly to pretend it's not real.

by Anonymousreply 10504/26/2013

Dislocated NYers are some of the most annoying people around. They don't adapt well at all and often feel the need to talk up to those NYers they left behind by talking down about their new town.

by Anonymousreply 10604/26/2013

Chicago is in the Midwest.



by Anonymousreply 10704/26/2013

The Midwest - 4th largest economy in the world!

by Anonymousreply 10804/26/2013

r98, the "Ground Zero Mosque" controversy was almost entirely made up of non-New Yorkers. People who actually live here didn't generally have a problem with it.

Sort of like how non-Californians made Prop 8 their issue.

by Anonymousreply 10904/26/2013

Rachel Shteir Got It Right, Says a Veteran Chicago Journalist

Following the Shteir flareup, Weber wrote that while “Chicago is a delightful and vibrant city,” it has “serious” problems.

“Its biggest shortcomings include its thin skin and a deep-set inferiority complex that can blind it to its problems. The vitriol Shteir has experienced is …. a replay of the stunning furor we ran into—a tempest that just confirmed our reporting.”

by Anonymousreply 11004/26/2013

She's marvelous!

by Anonymousreply 11104/26/2013

It's all relative, isn't it? I mean, no one can gripe about the architecture, culture or food in Chicago. The politics and the attitudes have always pretty much been the way she describes. A provinciality and myopic sense of "place." An inferiority complex. Corrupt politics to the core. The city was FOUNDED on them. (Hell, it was the Chicago mob that elected JFK! Those last few over the top votes called in by Joseph P. Kennedy, the elder, as a favor.) But it IS the greatest city IN the midwest, by far. I mean, compared to a shithole like Cincinnati or Cleveland or Indianapolis, all cities filled with "second tier" people, it is a shining example of what a big city can be. But it ain't New York City and it never will be. And it SO wants to be, although it would never really admit that.

by Anonymousreply 11204/26/2013

Hog butcher to the world, and all that...

by Anonymousreply 11304/26/2013

The chicago mob did not elect JFK. There were not the votes in Chicago to change the election and if even if they flipped Illinois, it wouldn't have changed the election results. Republicunts keep saying this to excuse their own very well documented frauds in 2000 and 2004.

And the point is pretty much all American cities are founded on corruption, including New York (Peter Stuyvesant, the Tweed Ring, LaGuardia, Bernie Kerik, etc.). Corruption is an American problem, not a Chicago problem.

by Anonymousreply 11404/26/2013

Just imagine this lady reviewing the scene in Dallas or Atlanta. She'd be in Dr. Amy Bishop territory.

by Anonymousreply 11504/26/2013

r114, I think the point is that your post did nothing to disprove the inferiority complex that has been mentioned in many posts. DEFENSIVE much? Chicago is not being singled out as the ONLY city with a history of corruption but it is certainly more well known for it.

by Anonymousreply 11604/26/2013

No you're missing the point R116. She hates Chicago's puffery because of its corruption but pretty much every city puffs itself and yet they are all corrupt.

by Anonymousreply 11704/26/2013

HOG Butcher for the World,Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler; Stormy, husky, brawling, City of the Big Shoulders:

They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I have seen your painted women under the gas lamps luring the farm boys.

And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes, it is true I have seen the gunman kill and go free to kill again.

And they tell me you are brutal and my reply is: On the faces of women and children I have seen the marks of wanton hunger.

And having answered so I turn once more to those who sneer at this my city, and I give them back the sneer and say to them:

Come and show me another city with lifted head singing so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.

Flinging magnetic curses amid the toil of piling job on job, here is a tall bold slugger set vivid against the little soft cities;

Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning as a savage pitted against the wilderness, Bareheaded, Shoveling, Wrecking, Planning, Building, breaking, rebuilding.

Under the smoke, dust all over his mouth, laughing with white teeth,

Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young man laughs,

Laughing even as an ignorant fighter laughs who has never lost a battle,

Bragging and laughing that under his wrist is the pulse, and under his ribs the heart of the people, Laughing!

Laughing the stormy, husky, brawling laughter of Youth, half-naked, sweating, proud to be Hog Butcher, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with Railroads and Freight Handler to the Nation.

by Anonymousreply 11804/27/2013

[quote] The politics and the attitudes have always pretty much been the way she describes. A provinciality and myopic sense of "place." An inferiority complex. Corrupt politics to the core.

True, and the "go Chicago!" chorus gets tiresome.

But honestly, this is many, many, MANY cities in this country. We root for our cities like we root for our sports teams.

I think that's what her essay missed - that a lot of what she complained about isn't exclusive to Chicago.

Hell, NYC was launching the I LOVE NY campaign when the city had no money, crime was everywhere and Times Square was filled with dealers and whores. Boosterism didn't seem to do too bad for them then!

by Anonymousreply 11904/27/2013

1) Took several required classes with her- Extremely flawed, pretentious, makes innapropraite comments about students to other professors and student in public&private. Inconsiderate and thoughtless, unprepared. Will disregard a student's comment if she is ignorant on the topic. Chooses favorites. Downright rude and hurtful.

2)Two words: withered ambition. I rarely got the idea this professor wanted to teach. She's barely tolerable in the classroom (unprepared, "discussion" based lectures) but an all out disaster as an adviser. Do NOT get stuck dramaturging a show under her. It'll be a tedious waste of your time.

3)Useless and self righteous. She has forgotten the overall meaning of TEACHING. That is unless your willing to kiss her ass and tell her how amazing she is... which she isn't. She's not even helpful as a person.

by Anonymousreply 12004/27/2013

[quote] I love Chicago, but people here will vote for who they're told to. The picture accompanying that article was taken at a train station near my office and I remember that the day he showed up to gladhand during the morning commute it was already an obvious done deal that he'd win.


This has been the case since the first Mayor Daley and even before that.

by Anonymousreply 12104/27/2013

I've lived in NYC for almost 20 years, and I got to visit a friend in Chicago for the first time last year.

I loved the city.

It's not NYC, but it shouldn't be, nor should it want to be.

Amazing architecture; fantastic, affordable theater; great food; affordable housing; gorgeous Lake Michigan; unpretentious people.

No city is without its problems, but Chicago definitely has more good going for it than bad. Compare it to Cincinnati, or Cleveland. For a major city in the part of our very large nation, it's pretty damn fantastic. And now when I visit Chicago (and I've been back once already, and plan to go again in August), I don't want L.A., or another NYC; rather, I want Chicago to be the oasis in the desert that it already is.

by Anonymousreply 12204/27/2013
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