Quick Hits – April 15, 2019

Doomed to repeat it!

Oh lord! You’d a thunk the City of Elgin would’ve learned something from that whole ‘American Nocturne’ public art debacle, but no! Not only is the Elgin Cultural Arts Commission ill-advisedly commissioning art on utility boxes, but the City Council just gave the green light to businesses that want to place murals on their exterior walls.

And in their infinite wisdom, the Council put absolutely no restrictions on the mural content in that amended zoning ordinance, which, of course, begs the question, “What could possibly go wrong with that?”

Elgin Public Art

Given my eminently magnanimous nature and my keen perception of the obvious, it’s time to offer yet more suggestions as to exactly what kind of art these downtown Elgin businesses might put on display:

1. A gaggle of irate Elgin parents storming the U-46 main office with torches and pitchforks as they demand a snow day whenever it’s under 32 degrees with an inch of snow.

2. A depiction of an empty polling place with sleeping judges of election as an homage to the vast number of Elginians who didn’t vote on April 2nd.

3. A grand mural in the style of the Dutch Masters providing a stylized representation of State Senator Cristina Castro being crowned the Queen of all Elgin Hispanics because that’s clearly who she thinks she is.

4. A similar painting of City Councilwoman Tish Powell ordering all the white people out of Elgin because former U-46 School Board member Traci Ellis told her to.

5. A biblical fresco of new City Councilman Baldemar Lopez parting the Fox River because that makes about as much sense as his campaign mailers did.

6. A mural of Elgin Judges John Dalton and Mike Noland campaigning for Baldemar Lopez despite the Canon of Judicial Ethics clearly forbidding that kind of thing.

7. A Picasso-esque depiction of City Councilman Corey Dixon talking out of both sides of his three mouths.

8. A tastefully done nude portrait of the Assistant… on second thought, I should probably keep that one to myself.

9. A dire scene of the new downtown parking sensors going rogue and holding cars hostage for thousands of dollars in bogus parking tickets.

But what really makes this endeavor so patently absurd is the City Council thinks their decision not to regulate content absolves them of any of the potential consequences. But when they voted to require budding business art aficionados to obtain a permit before that first brush stroke, they put themselves right back on the hook.

And when something goes wrong – as it inevitably will – the plurality of Elginians who live to take offense will descend upon City Hall like a horde of locusts demanding immediate redress. They’ll be absolutely correct, too, because once the City turned this into a money-making proposition, they can and should be held accountable.

I’ll say it again! Real art ain’t for sissies. Either the City of Elgin should ban public art and be done with it, or they should get out of the art game completely and let the chips fall where they may.

The good news is, I’ve already gotten one downtown entrepreneur to sign on to one of my artistic interpretations and I’m sure the others will soon follow. All I can say is, the end result is gonna be glorious!

 

Four bucks for a Sunday paper?

First, I have to apologize for yesterday’s unseasonably inclement weather now. You see, I got our taxes to the accountant in time for the first time in the better part of a decade and clearly, hell is freezing over.

In the process of compiling that paperwork, I had to review our expenses at which point I realized we were paying $26.99 a month simply for the Sunday Tribune delivery. Do a little bit of math and it quickly adds up to $323.00 a year!

So, for the first time since I fled the nest at 20, I will not be receiving some sort of printed newspaper. And if my regular readers recall, there was a time I had five newspapers waiting for me on the driveway every morning:

  • The Chicago Tribune
  • The Chicago Sun-Times
  • The Daily Herald
  • The Beacon-News
  • The Kane County Chronicle

If it wasn’t for this specific gig, with all of the online options available, I wouldn’t bother with the Tribune e-papers anymore, either!

Why? You ask?

Sunday’s paper was lighter than their Wednesday edition used to be such that I made it through the whole thing in a scant ten minutes. Steve Chapman was the only thing really worth reading.

There’s very little interesting or in-depth analysis, there’s virtually no investigative reporting, and if they run one more piece on that insipid ‘Game of Thrones’ crap you’re going to hear the ensuing shriek throughout the greater part of Northern Illinois.

And when you combine this reporting-lite trend with a massive decline in advertising revenue it’s a business model that cannot be sustained. To wit, the Trib’s major Sunday ads consisted of just:

  • Target
  • Kohls – which runs about every other week
  • Walgreens
  • CVS
  • Meijer
  • Menards

There used to be three times as many inserts.

Meanwhile, it would be more than a stretch to call the Courier- and Beacon-News newspapers, because there’s absolutely nothing to them with the exception of columnists who rarely tackle local issues.

I’ll say it again! What we’re witnessing is the slow death of local journalism, and if Jeff Ward has finally given up on print editions, then the end is certainly near. But much like the politicians they love to cover, the Trib will continue to engage in the Einsteinian definition of insanity by cutting back on anything and everything in the bizarre belief that somehow people will suddenly start subscribing again.

2 thoughts on “Quick Hits – April 15, 2019

  1. I just want the comics… It’s the only thing really worth anything in those papers.

  2. But, Jeff, your hero Kaptain wants to make Elgin the arts capital of Illinois! Wait…he changed that when he woke up…the arts capital of the suburbs! Funny, how none of the displayed art that was commissioned is not by Elgin artists. There’s no money in art for thriving downtown. It’s the same people attending the same openings with the same glass of wine who later walk out with nothing purchased.

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