Easy Chair — From the December 2013 issue

Chicago Is the Future

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It was in 1988 that I moved to the bedraggled neighborhood of Hyde Park in order to study American history at the University of Chicago. I left the city ten years ago. And though I was raised in the suburbs of Kansas City and live today in the suburbs of Washington, it is Chicago that made me who I am.

During my time as a graduate student, a mildly famous memorandum, written by a classics professor in the 1960s, was passed from hand to hand. It bemoaned the sheer awfulness of life at the university, “located in an unpleasant city, in a nasty climate, a thousand miles from anywhere.” I remember being surprised to read this, and being similarly surprised every time somebody referred to Chicago’s brute ugliness. Looking back all these years later, however, I see that it was true.

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  • Pukis

    Just read this today and can’t stop talking about it-Frank really gets at the heart of everything that is wrong with american consumer culture and chicago’s zeitgeist in particular. We eat ever more extravagant comfort food while 20 minutes away children are killing each other.

  • Guest

    Always fun to see another privileged Gen-X blowhard dismissing that darn youth culture while glorifying the authenticity of the indie-tastic 80s. I’m sure Mr. Frank’s zine totally liberated the proletariat, unlike those darned hipsters and their fancy food. Gosh! I miss the 80s!

    • Sean Anderson

      Apparently you glossed over this part:

      “But it would be more accurate to say that it has inherited everything that was irritating about indie rock — the preciousness, the hero worship, the fruitless pursuit of the authentic. Worse: what were subdued notes of privilege and snobbery in the music are these days out in the open, the power chords that carry the whole thing along.”

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