Sunday, February 05, 2006

JACKASSERY AND THE CHI

Today's New York Times ran a piece written by one Luis Alberto Urrea, who teaches at the University of Illinois at Chicago ("UIC"). He is a quite renowned poet and author. That being said, he stepped out of his zone of expertise in the New York Times and created jackassery.

As any regular reader of this blog will know, we do not tolerate jackassery lightly. Mr. Urrea is discussing the "sly social engineering" of the South Loop and UIC area. He then says that "farther south, stalwart symbols of urban decay like the Cabrini Green housing project are giving way to brighter, shinier developments." First of all, Cabrini is firmly on the North Side of the city. It is along Chicago Avenue. It is not "farther south" of the South Loop.

Second, Mr. Urrea talks about the police he knows who work three jobs to "make ends meet." It took me less than five minutes to find this, which shows that the starting salary for cops in the city is $42,258, which increases to $54,636 after a year, and $57,744 after 18 months. Hardly the sorts of salaries that mandate second and third jobs for most people.

The point here is that I get the sense that Mr. Urrea knows just enough about Chicago to write jackassery, but not enough to give any insight. Too bad he got the forum.

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