I love Jon Stewart, I do, I do, I do. But making headlines today is the seven minute smack down he gave to Chicago last night on The Daily Show. You can watch it here in its entirety.
The back story is simple. Chicago’s beloved SEARS Tower (and yes, some may call it the Willis Tower, but they are not from Chicago and are wrong) was technically dethroned as tallest building in the good old U S of A yesterday by the shiny One World Trade Center in New York City. Not because the building is taller, mind you, but because of the spire that sits up top.
Say it ain’t so, Joe.
Well, dear Mr. Stewart, all in good fun, raised a glass to the loser Chicago in the tallest building in America contest, magnanimously offering a toast of champagne. Never mind that in Chicago we toast to Old Style or Schlitz, or more commonly, au jus in a shot glass.
But then our illustrious Mayor Rahm Emanuel opened his skinny trap and the gloves came off. In true ‘chip on the old shoulder’ Chicago style, Rahm complained at a press conference that if a spire looks and acts like an antenna, its a GD antenna. You see, to qualify as tallest building, you need a structural element to elevate you, not an antenna. An international board of objective architects deemed the metal thingey on top of One World Trade Center a spire, not an antenna, even though its function is antenna-ish.
Chicago is famous for its chip, or what I like to think of as its “middle child syndrome.” Sandwiched between the warmer and more vapid LA, and the cooler (not referring to climate here, folks) and more cosmopolitan New York City, Chicago is that stocky cousin from the midwest. Nice enough, sure, great to visit, but, yeah, never gonna make it at the cool kids table other than as a plus one.
Now, mind you, that doesn’t reflect my personal feelings about Chicago. I love this place. It is the only home I have ever known. Every day I am lucky enough to roll down Lake Shore Drive, in rain or sun or snow, I can’t help but marvel that I get to live here. Like live here in Chicago, not freaking Schaumburg, but Chicago. (No offense, Schaumburg, but you know what I mean, and if you don’t, well then, by all means, take offense.)
Lots of folks who call New York home think Chicago provincial. That’s cool. We don’t mind that. In a lot of ways, we are. We’re thicker, too. It could be all that deep dish pizza Jon Stewart was so hopped up about last night. HA! The funniest thing is that after a long week with a fever and infection, I ordered in some deep dish for my family last night. Had it for lunch today, too! Woo whee, deep dish pizza is the shizz. True story.
So have your fun, Jon Stewart. Make light of Chicago being the “murder capital” of the world. Yessiree, gang violence is hilarious, right?! Kids being shot on their front porches is totally game for late night yuks. Have at it, Sir. Truth is, I’m good with all of it, cause when I go to sleep at night, it’s in Chicago, greatest damn city in America.
See, I TOLD YOU we Chicago folks have a chip on our shoulders. Shudder, I actually have something in common with Rahm Emanuel. Imma go pour some celery salt in my wounds . . .