Friday, July 22, 2005

   The Chicago Trib magazine, several weeks ago, had a mini-editorial critical of what they considered to be Chicago's longstanding "war" on drugs, in contrast with the more bleeding-heart, urban renewal-ish measures of NYC, first instituted under John Lindsay, and with which the CT credited the Europeans, and their vaunted and putatively gang-free urban metropolises. It is misleading to present European cities as avatars of urban contentment-just look at the late '70s era, pre-Thatcher "winter of our discontent." (Whoever coined it that liked to borrow from Steinbeck, I guess. NYC is infamously rat-infested, so I think one could work that into "Of Mice and Men." ) To continue the analogy, it was no "Pearl." (Thanks, Kino>) Of what was that a result? Unemployment and overdependence on public assistance, as the result of social and economic policies that were less than pro free market. British author Geoff Dyer offers an interest recount of that period, remarking on his and his friends' being "on the dole" and the roommate for whom he felt sympathy "because she actually had to go to work." How did he remember all these details? Becuase of the date of a certain UK vs Argentina soccer game. I know.

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