Thursday, November 12, 2009

Chicago Sensibility

So I think Lee is really awesome. I find him very captivating and interesting, and I value a lot of what he has to say. I wish he could just come hang out with us on a regular basis, cause he always has such interesting asides to contribute to our discussions, and with all of his Chicago connections I think he would absolutely love some of the stuff we get into in our class. But, I guess he has an actual job besides hanging with college kids all day, so I guess I can forgive him for that. (Luis, thanks so much for bringing him to class! He's super cool) I was particularly interested in how he articulated the Chicago sensibility he was talking about. I have always had a difficult time pin pointing what it is about Chicago that sets us apart from other cities. In my eyes, we are like a cross breed between London and Detroit, and I feel like the way he described Chicagoans was very accurate. I like his discussion of a quintessential Chicago person--someone who is a closet intellectual and knows the streets. I think it is in every Chicagoan's blood to be a little bit hustler, a little bit hood, and a little bit blue collar, even those of us that adore our braininess and education. I take pride in the humbleness of our city; I feel like it is something that isn't very common anymore. I liked how he talked about how around here, if you're pretentious and put on airs, no one will hesitate to bring you down a notch. No one appreciates a hoity-toity tight ass, and I feel like that was his point. I really liked everything about his discussion of "Chicago men" and "Chicago people." I also thought it was interesting how he mentioned that we are a bunch of closet intellectuals, and that if you see someone on public transit reading an actual book, you take notice. I never thought about that, but after he said that I got on the train and I noticed that there were not really people reading books, and the two people who were were reading James Patterson and some random romance writer. I never noticed it before, but he's right: people around here don't carry around deep literature as a sign of their intellect. I think, however, that's part of the sensibility of one likes a braggart. If you're smart, then be smart, but don't go around with a copy of Dickens to prove that you're some sort of Europeanized intellectual. I used to know a kid like that in high school...he carried around a beat up copy of Catcher in the Rye and used to keep it out just to look like he was reading it so people would know he was an intellectual. I loathed his existence. Get over yourself! I never realized before, but that is really a Chicago thing. In other cities, people do walk around with books to help signify their the Chi it's more about showing that you are smart enough to survive the city, not smart enough to analyze literature. And I don't think we take for granted the intellectual scene; we just don't appreciate people shoving it down our throats all the time. Anyways...I thought that was all very interesting, so I thought I'd blog about it....

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