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  • A Photo As A Symbol of Illinois

    Posted by Dan from Madison on September 16th, 2013 (All posts by )

    Last Sunday I was fortunate to attend the Bears Vikings game at Soldier Field with Carl from Chicago and Lexington Green. A great time was had by all.

    As I was walking to my seats in the nose bleeds, I said to Lex “this picture represents pretty much everything about Illinois”. He said I should blog it. So I am.

    What you see is the top of the old Soldier Field on the left, with its beautiful granite pillars that used to be atop the stadium. On the right is the new Soldier Field, what we all call the UFO, that was basically dropped in on top of the columns. It is pretty much universally derided as one of the worst plans of all time, at least from an aesthetic point of view.

    Of course, the Bears should have put this stadium in Hoffman Estates or somewhere like that, where there is plenty of parking and easy access. But no. The Soldier Field renovations, as with all things Chicago, turned into a giant scam, and now people that choose to see the Bears have to endure insane traffic snarls along LSD, have nowhere to park, and then have to deal with the crazy Chicago traffic to boot.

    This represents a lot of what Illinois has to offer, or, maybe I should say, had. The “combine” in Springfield is legendary for hosing down the taxpayers for any of a million different things. But I have anecdotal evidence that maybe – just maybe – things are ripe for some sort of change.

    A woman visited me on a business call at work last week and she just voluntarily started spouting about how pissed she was about all things Illinois. She didn’t give a political point of view, but more to the point just said that everyone and everything there “sucked” and that she was going to, for the first time in her life, start to get involved. Lex noted that he has heard many of these same things in his dealings in Chicago.

    I hope that this is true. I hope that things that are represented in the photo above come to be a thing of the past, not of the future.

    Cross posted at LITGM.


    17 Responses to “A Photo As A Symbol of Illinois”

    1. Grurray Says:

      The mistake by the lake.

      How much better Chicago’s 2016 Olympic proposal would have been had they had built a multi-purpose stadium with a retractable dome we shall never know.

      Whenever I look it now, I always think of The Fountainhead and the young Roark’s rant in the Dean’s office

      “Look,” said Roark. “The famous flutings on the famous columns–what are they
      there for? To hide the joints in wood–when columns were made of wood, only
      these aren’t, they’re marble. The triglyphs, what are they? Wood. Wooden beams,
      the way they had to be laid when people began to build wooden shacks. Your
      Greeks took marble and they made copies of their wooden structures out of it,
      because others had done it that way. Then your masters of the Renaissance came
      along and made copies in plaster of copies in marble of copies in wood. Now here
      we are, making copies in steel and concrete of copies in plaster of copies in
      marble of copies in wood. Why?”

      The Dean sat watching him curiously. Something puzzled him, not in the words,
      but in Roark’s manner of saying them.

      “Rules?” said Roark. “Here are my rules: what can be done with one substance
      must never be done with another. No two materials are alike. No two sites on
      earth are alike. No two buildings have the same purpose. The purpose, the site,
      the material determine the shape. Nothing can be reasonable or beautiful unless
      it’s made by one central idea, and the idea sets every detail. A building is
      alive, like a man. Its integrity is to follow its own truth, its one single
      theme, and to serve its own single purpose. A man doesn’t borrow pieces of his
      body. A building doesn’t borrow hunks of its soul. Its maker gives it the soul
      and every wall, window and stairway to express it.”

      “But all the proper forms of expression have been discovered long ago.”
      “Expression–of what? The Parthenon did not serve the same purpose as its wooden
      ancestor. An airline terminal does not serve the same purpose as the Parthenon.
      Every form has its own meaning. Every man creates his meaning and form and goal.
      Why is it so important–what others have done? Why does it become sacred by the
      mere fact of not being your own? Why is anyone and everyone right–so long as
      it’s not yourself? Why does the number of those others take the place of truth?
      Why is truth made a mere matter of arithmetic–and only of addition at that? Why
      is everything twisted out of all sense to fit everything else? There must be
      some reason. I don’t know. I’ve never known it. I’d like to understand.”

    2. MikeK Says:

      I can remember, back when Chicago still worked, when 110,000 people filled Soldier Field for the Prep Bowl Game. The city was just as corrupt but it wasn’t as hypocritical or as self deluded. One thing Chicago had was self awareness. It, along with the country, has lost it. It moved to Texas.

    3. Grurray Says:

      I remember before the renovation you could peak through the north end zone grandstand and see all those extra seats. Now any evidence of that has been paved and landscaped over.

      The new configuration had the fewest seats in the NFL (before the Raiders edged them out this year – another tale of woe and dysfunction). The Bears make their profits from the abundance of luxury sky boxes, which is the classic Chicago way to do it.
      Hike up taxes and fees around the downtown area, so the few regular ticket holders left pay the bulk of the expense.
      Then for the rest, sell corporate sky boxes, which are then written them as entertainment expense, so tax payers foot the bill.

      I’m not sure if there are figures to prove it, but the ratio of sky boxes to general seating at Soldier Field must be the most favorable in the league.

    4. Jason in LA Says:

      The juxtaposition between the Soldier field pillars, character filled with 80 years of history that they represent, and that modern, whatever it is next to it, reminds me somewhat of the Louvre in Paris.

      A gorgeous medieval palace dripping with class, history and detail, rudely being interrupted with some soulless glass pyramid, which frankly looks like a $60 a night hotel in Vegas featuring all you can eat shrimp buffet and Carrot Top as the headline entertainment.

      You can thank the socialist Francois Mitterrand for soiling the Louvre. I’ll leave it up to my Illinois brethren on whom, or what thought process, to blame on the new Soldier Field.

      Just for laughs…..

    5. Dan from Madison Says:

      Lots of similarity there Jason.

    6. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      Back when Chicago didn’t suck:

      The Maryland Historical Society has photos of Baltimore taken around the turn of the century, 1890-1910 or so. They’re some old and some obviously poor areas, but what strikes me is how beautiful it was. Wide avenues with wide medians inset with curving walkways, bronze fountains, trees, tiny wrought iron fences and landscaped with flowers. The streets were brick or cobblestone. There were horse drawn carriages and people walking or just sitting on benches. Men in suits and women in Victorian dresses holding parasols. The streets were clean, many of the buildings were clean and beautiful. Stunning images. Those photos could have been taken in Paris.

      Some of those areas look nearly the same, if a bit more run down. The worst are now dangerous, filthy slums. Most areas lie somewhere between, but are not places you’d want to live or even spend much time.

      What I can’t imagine are middle or upper class people having a relatively carefree walk through Baltimore on a sunny summer day, or taking a boat out on the small lake at Druid Hill Park. It’s a world that’s gone.

      Why are these places gone? It’s complicated, I agree. But if I had to pin a specific, overriding cause, I’d say it was crime and violence. And most of that is black crime and violence. It has destroyed our cities and made them unliveable. Most middle class people don’t even want to visit a city anymore, much less live in one, and when they do it’s to go to a museum or a sporting event, then leave.

      We are not going to reclaim our cities as monuments to our civilization until we deal with black crime and the black and leftist culture that enables it and encourages it.

    7. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      By the way, one thing Baltimore did right in the last few decades was build a beautiful baseball stadium, Oriole Parks at Camden Yards.

      Here’re some Flickr photos someone took:

      The architects, Populous, are part of HOK, who’ve done beautiful design work all over the world. They won an AIA award for the Camden Yards design. Here’s the Lincoln Library HOK designed in Springfield, Illinois:

    8. MikeK Says:

      No one can talk about black crime, least of all peaceful blacks. I feel so sorry for the folks I have met who are trying to lead middle class lives in chaotic cities, like Chicago.

    9. Dan from Madison Says:

      @Michael Hiteshew – Carl and I took a trip to Baltimore some years back, with our mission to visit the tank museum at the Aberdeen proving grounds and take in an Oriole game. We were absolutely dumbstruck at how shabby that city was, with all of the obvious potential it had, with the beautiful waterfront, and other resources. Camden Yards was fantastic.

      I also agree with you and MikeK – black on black crime, and black crime in general is the enormous elephant in the room of Baltimore, Chicago, and so many other cities that nobody will even begin to talk about, much less do anything about. The strategy of containment seems to be working for the most part in Chicago.

    10. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      “We were absolutely dumbstruck at how shabby that city was, with all of the obvious potential it had, with the beautiful waterfront, and other resources.”

      The Space Telescope Science Institute, attached to Johns Hopkins University, is in North Baltimore and is the mission headquarters for Hubble. They get visiting scientists from all over the country and the world. One of the visiting scientists was stunned by the wreck that is Baltimore and in a newspaper interview compared it to a third world country.

      That got tongues wagging. Didn’t change anything though. Leftisits are immune to the catastrophic results of their policies. For Leftists, it’s all about symbols and being able to feel virtuous about themselves. And they will commit any crime, allow any crime to be committed, and condemn whole generations of people to violence and poverty and misery in order to feel those virtuous emotions.

    11. Dan from Madison Says:

      Philly is worse, believe it or not.

    12. MikeK Says:

      In 1966, I wanted to go to Johns Hopkins for my post MD training and was accepted. My wife absolutely refused to go. The resident housing units all had bars on the windows and we were warned about the rampant crime. That was over 50 years ago. Tom Clancy set his novel “No Remorse” in Baltimore.

    13. Joe Wooten Says:

      Dan, my nickname for Philly is Philthy. Dirtiest airport and big city I have been in.

    14. Dan from Madison Says:

      My company had a convention in Philthadelphia, and it was resolved that we would never be back. I took a bus from my hotel to a manufacturer for a tour and was simply dumbstruck at the place. It looked like a dmz.

    15. MikeK Says:

      The last time I was in London, Heathrow would probably trump most airports for the “filthiest” place. I think there was a scandal after that and it may have been cleaned up since.

    16. Dan from Madison Says:

      The new Terminal 5 at Heathrow for British Airways is insanely nice, MikeK. Not sure about the rest of the airport.

    17. MikeK Says:

      If I remember correctly, there was a big flap soon after my visit about the contractor who was supposed to do the cleaning. I haven’t been there now in about 5 years. I used to go every year. Back when I was young.