Friday, December 12, 2008
The Chicago Way
Studs Terkel summed it up perfectly when he said that Chicago isn't the most corrupt city in the country, only the most theatrically corrupt.
This makes perfect sense when you consider that Rod Blagojevich isn't just some nondescript small-timer who nabbed an under-the-table kickback or two from a local construction company but instead is the governor of Illinois, a foul-mouthed, laugh-out-loud caricature who looks like a villain from an old Dick Tracy cartoon and a guy who had the balls to try to sell Barack Obama's vacant senate seat.
I've received more than a few e-mails, and at least one comment, wondering why I haven't even bothered to mention the Blago scandal on this site.
The reason isn't so much because it's not important; it is, although I don't think the actions of Blago and his Studio 54 haircut can be legitimately attached in any way to Barack Obama, despite what the conflict-addicted media are willing to trumpet.
No, I haven't gotten into the Blago scandal for three reasons. One is that before this site went exclusively political, I used to write about whatever moved me on a given day and I'd like to get back to that (which means that politics will be woven into all the other nonsense that I churn out). The other is that, I'm sorry, but it's Chicago. Corruption -- even bald-faced, you've-gotta-be-fucking-kidding-me corruption -- is all in a day's work in Chicago. This is not to say that every Windy City political figure is tainted; once again, I believe in Barack Obama and think it's absurd to immediately try to hang a scandal around his neck. That's the nature of the American media -- build 'em up to knock 'em right back down -- and it's by and large wrong. The third reason is that I have nothing staggeringly insightful to add to the public discourse on this. Cesca, Arianna Huffington, even Jason Linkins (who I'm pretty sure dislikes me intensely) over at HuffPost have all taken up the torch of putting this "scandal" in its proper perspective -- and they've done a fantastic job. There's simply nothing I could say that would influence anyone one way or the other. Factor in the aforementioned reason number one -- my desire to only write about what moves me and not be the "paper of record" for anyone trying to keep up with politics -- and you'll get why I've left Blago-the-walking-78-page-indictment alone.
At some point, something may come up in the case that I think lends itself to my commentary.
You'll be the first to know if it and when it does.