Monday, May 16, 2011

Meet the New Boss

Checked out Rahm Emanuel's inauguration ceremony this morning in Millenium Park, pictured above (hang me, I'm a sucker for pageantry--children's choirs, security details, JROTC rifle-spinning). Considering that the sceptre was being passed for the first time in twenty-two f-ing years though, the event was surprisingly low-key, and the crowd remarkably small--the seats were filled, but the lawn looked like this:
A Monday morning, granted, and lots of people were at work, but I've seen bigger Millenium Park crowds for screenings of Battleship Potemkin, a Soviet propaganda film from 1925. I don't mean to slam the guy on his big day, but Chicagoans just seem kind of... ambivalent about the former ballet dancer from Wilmette. I heard one spectator observe that he was "a little bit taller" than outgoing mayor Richard M. Daley, and an older woman commenting that he had "a nice smile," but this was a far cry from the mass jubilation in Grant Park that followed Obama's 2008 election. As for Rahm's inauguration speech, it covered the basics (jobs, schools), and trotted out the requisite children-are-the-future applause lines, but the crowd, again, just didn't seem very enthused--the only people I saw clapping were guys like this--
--who'd wandered over on their lunch break to catch some rays and affirm their support of the status quo. Honestly, I don't have any special bone to pick with the incoming mayor (yet), and am even a little tickled that the new boss is a Jewish fruitcake from the 'burbs who once lost half a finger working at Arby's--there's at least a new narrative at play in Chicago politics, and I'm trying to keep an open mind about the city's future. But this morning's anticlimactic inauguration ceremony felt as much like a retirement party for Daley as a swearing-in for Emanuel, and as new beginnings go I can't say it felt all that auspicious...

No comments :

Post a Comment