Tuesday, April 05, 2005

A walk in the park

Strange shit happens in Chicago. In Chicago’s neighborhoods, even. Birthday revelers fall into rivers and vanish forever. Bathrobe-clad women try to bum cigs on the Red Line. That sort of thing.

But the Reader doesn’t seem much interested in the, well, interesting tales. Ben Joravsky’s "The Works" column – formerly known as Neighborhood News – focuses relentlessly not on actual neighborhood news per se but on earnest activist types and their many complaints. No complaint, it seems, is too trivial to merit the full-on Joravsky treatment.

Take his column this week, a 1300-or-so word epic telling the fascinating story of some NICE YOUNG PEACE ACTIVISTS who were told to leave Millennium Park when cops spotted them walking through it with anti-war signs. Yet police DIDN’T pester them when they set up their own-mini-protest in front of the Art Institute. Lulled into a false sense of security, they were accosted again by the men in blue as they walked back through the park to their car – and one of their friends got himself arrested after arguing with the cops.

I’m getting bored even writing out this short summary. Joravsky goes on and on and on, making as much hay as he can over the SHOCKING POLICE NON-BRUTALITY in front of the Art Institute. And the fact that the protestors didn’t actually look like wild-eyes anarchists. "The funny thing is, we didn’t even look like radicals," one of the protestors told Joravsky’s hard-working tape recorder. "We looked like Yuppies." (A photo of the protestors appears to confirm that they do in fact look like a nice, clean, slightly earnest, middle-class couple.) Also, they apparently had LOVELY SIGNS. No photographic proof is provided on this front, but one of the sort-of-free-speech-martyrs assured Joravsky "we worked hard on them, and they were good signs."


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