July 21, 2004

The pride of Chicago  

The FT raves about Millenium Park, which just opened here in Chicago:

[J]udging by the initial public response, the park has achieved its ambitions of uniting an elitist ethic with Chicago's democratic ethos. About 10,000 listened to Shostakovich's free of charge, while hundreds more splashed about in the Plensa fountain.
I haven't yet been to see the bean, but it's on my list. I'm so glad to hear there's an attraction to trump the Frank Gehry monstrosity, which has always struck me as a bit metooish. (It's too bad, by the way, that the FT's copy editors didn't catch the omission of poor Shostakovich's symphony number. The local reporters have it as "Shostakovich's somber Symphony No 5".)

Another Chicago tidbit: Chicago radio personality Gretchen Helfrich will be making what I assume will be her blogopsheric debut over at Preposterous Universe (she'll be a guest blogger) next week. Sean Carroll (the proprietor of this Preposterous Universe) describes her show, Odyssey:

Odyssey represents exactly what you would like to hear on public radio: a spirited and in-depth examination of ideas, ranging from politics to science to the arts. Sort of like this blog, without as much whimsical self-indulgence and pictures of Godzilla. The best feature of the show is how they make every effort to generate light rather than heat, remaining interesting and entertaining while digging carefully into the issues lurking behind the topics being discussed. The opposite of the O'Reilly Factor in every way.
I actually used to be a regular listener -- like most everyone else in Chicago I went through that miserable Gretchen crush stage -- but my enthusiasm for her show has really waned in the past year or two. Odyssey's fatal flaw is that the overwhelming majority of its guests are academics, which makes for pedantry and lifeless conversation, the FT's elitist ethic. Tell me, why is it only tenured professors can talk about ideas?


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