A Private Letter from London to Chicago

August 11, 2011

 

Dear Chicago,

Sorry I haven't written to you for a while. I've  been prepping for the big Olympics next year. Incidentally, I still think it was bloody awful you lost out on 2016. Just between us, Rio de Janeiro is a bit of a scrubber.

Anyways, I felt it was important to write since you've probably heard on the news I'm being burned and looted at the moment. Young people are rioting. Mobs are taking flat screens and grabbing sneakers that don't fit them. Everything is being stolen, except for Justin Bieber posters. Lads here don't seem to like his stuff. You want any?

It has gotten really bad. My entire body is aching, especially in my poorer neighborhoods. The rioters have even trashed some of my more affluent areas, like Notting Hill.  I remember seeing in The Guardian newspaper a picture of someone's purple Lamborghini smashed. Too bad, but anybody who owns a purple Lamborghini is probably a wanker anyway.

Let me get to the point of my letter, since I don't have much time. I'll try to be a little more serious for a moment. Listen old friend, you and I have a lot in common and I wanted to give you a head's up so you can hopefully avoid what's happening to me right now, because quite frankly, I can see this bloody mess happening to you. Do me a favor and write these things down on a post-it note and stick it on your fridge or somewhere you can see everyday:

-   Make yourself less segregated. I think this was a big problem I had that contributed to the mess I'm in now. Look, I know we've been really lousy at building low income housing and clustering them in small plots of land. But this racket just leads to feelings of distrust and alienation from a large segment of the population. I mean, we're London and Chicago, two of the best-looking cities in the world. We have billionaires and millionaires on our streets. However, at the same time, our poor are being left behind at an alarming rate. This has to change, you still have time.

-   Help your teenagers get motivated in their communities. This is hard, but I think we have a new Lost Generation on our hands. My teen unemployment rate is over 20%. It sounds high until I compare it with your numbers. Do you even know the teen unemployment numbers for your State? The answer is 24.7% for white teens and 47.7% for black teens. You need to get these numbers under control because it's not healthy for you.

-   Discipline your politicians. Your political corruption and cronyism, like your deep dish pizza, is stuff of legend. My politicians have also behaved badly. There was the expense scandal in 2009 and then the whole Rupert Murdoch fiasco this year. The public takes note of all this corruption and cronyism. It destroys all the confidence they may have had in the political system. If the public, especially those that feel most powerless, have no confidence in the system, they will resort to actions outside the system. Don't keep going down the road you're on.

Ok, I've got to run. The Prime Minister said today that the police will be using water cannons on the rioters. I always like how water cannons feel on me. I hope they hit that one spot that makes my toes tingle.

Talk to you soon. Be well and stay safe.

 

Cheers,

-London

 

 

 

 

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  • As usual, refreshingly creative, uniquely clever-and most importantly-(and sadly) the truth.

  • I wanted to reply to my own comment so as to throw an alleyoop for a Saved By The Bell Clip-but for some reason my cpu keeps freezing when I hit reply..fuck. Also, I feel like I'm already running low on "pre-Columbian Mayan" comment time...ugh.

  • Great post. I have been enamored with the news regarding London since it first happen. The Prime Minister waited 3 days to even respond ( I believe he was out of town at the time). Maybe he was hoping that the rioting would end over the weekend- how inconvenient for him that it did not.

    I'm used to seeing other foreign countries in ruins do to rioters. It is a bit shocking to see you, London, like this considering I'm visiting next year and I definitely agree, Chicago (G*8 summit not included), will have the same ills if a few of our problems are not reined in immediately.

    However, I don't see it happening. I hate to sound like a Debbie Downer, but I think it is already too late and the social ills are no longer happening in "bad" segregated neighborhoods, but the crimes have now spilled into more affluent ones. The acts are as brazen as they are consistent.

    Great Post

  • Great post. I have been enamored with the news regarding London since it first happen. The Prime Minister waited 3 days to even respond ( I believe he was out of town at the time). Maybe he was hoping that the rioting would end over the weekend- how inconvenient for him that it did not.

    I'm used to seeing other foreign countries in ruins do to rioters. It is a bit shocking to see you like this, considering I'm visiting next year and I definitely agree, Chicago (G*8 summit not included), will have the same ills if a few of our problems are not reined in immediately.

    However, I don't see it happening. I hate to sound like a Debbie Downer, but I think it is already too late and the social ills are no longer spilling in "bad" segregated neighborhoods, but the crimes have now moved to more affluent ones and they are as brazen as they are consistent.

    Great Post

  • In reply to J. Kay:

    Thanks J. Kay.
    I don't think it's too late, it can't be. This city is a living breathing thing, it's constantly changing. Even if something like this were to happen here, we will adapt, for better or worse, we will change. It's never too late, even after the fact in that sense...thanks again.

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