Dec 12, 2008

Yes it is… Chicago

Posted by: Marian Salzman In: "The Obama Effect"| American life| sightings from the zeitgeist| thought leadership| trendspotting

A few reasons we’re monitoring Chicago that have nothing to do with it being the hometown of the future President, or the future First Lady or the future Secretary of State:

  • According to the Porter Novelli ConsumerStyles study of 10,000 American adults in the summer of 2008, compared with the rest of the U.S. population, Chicagoans are more likely to define themselves as creative, stylish, competitive and family oriented. 48% of Chicagoans say they are creative vs. 40% of the overall U.S. population surveyed; 30% of Chicago respondents consider themselves stylish vs. 19% of U.S. respondents overall; 38% say they are competitive vs. 32% overall; 80% say they are family oriented vs. 71% overall.
  • Despite creative, stylish, competitive, and family-oriented residents, corrupt politicians and businessmen have been attempting to tarnish the city’s rep for decades. Governor Rod Blagojevich is facing federal charges for conspiring to sell the U.S. Senate seat recently vacated by President-elect Barack Obama. Perhaps the scandal signifies a whistle-blowing trend, furthering the “Yes We Can” sentiment demanding ethical, transparent behavior from leaders.
  • Straight from the State of Illinois Web site comes the following report of workers taking back their power: “Showing solidarity and stressing the importance of protecting workers’ rights, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich met with laid-off employees at the shuttered Republic Windows & Doors in Chicago. Governor Blagojevich told workers, who have been peacefully protesting at the plant since it closed on Friday, that the State would suspend business with Republic Windows & Doors and Bank of America, its lender, and the Illinois Department of Labor would file a complaint if negotiations are not quickly concluded.” The near future will see everyday people demanding their fair share-and insisting that when companies reboot, people are valued.
  • Oprah Winfrey continues to launch many of the fads and fashions that catch on in this country. The next one to look for is based on her own intention to get in better physical shape for the Inauguration-and her effort to inspire another Yes We Can moment. January 1 and January 20 will both be opportunities for people to jump-start the revamp of their life/work balance, their lifestyle, and their outlook for a year of less consumerism and more community.
  • The current state of the Tribune Company, headquartered in Chicago and parent of the city’s largest newspaper, the Chicago Tribune, among others, echoes the state of the publishing industry nationwide, as plunging advertising dollars and decreased print readership are major factors in widespread publication shutdowns and severe cutbacks in those that survive.

  • Cynthia
    I certainly understand why so many outside of Illinois wonder what is going on in Chicago, and whether Obama really is part of the Chicago machine. The truth is that Illinois Democrats have been distancing themselves from Blagojevich for the past couple of years (that's why there has been a deadlock in Springfield) and we have all been waiting for the other shoe to drop, although I don't think that most people expected the "sale" of Obama's Senate seat. Blagojevich and Obama have never been allies and the unfortunate timing of this arrest, coming so soon after the election is just that -- unfortunate -- but not in any way connected.
  • Wendi Taylor Nations
    CNN just did a story titled "Is Chicago ready for reform?" It's annoying because it implies that we're all a bunch of lemmings sitting around waiting for someone to tell us what to do. And if you've seen the Consumer Styles data, you know that's not true!

    Here's what I posted to the CNN blog, with obvious "borrowing" from Marian:

    It is true that corrupt politicians and businessmen have been attempting to feather their own selfish nests for decades and have tarnished the city’s rep in the process. But I truly believe that Obama's election and the subsequent OUTRAGE over Blagojevich's awful behavior signifies a whistle-blowing trend, furthering the “Yes We Can” sentiment demanding ethical, transparent behavior from leaders.

    After all, check out the social media. Chicagoans are extremely angry and voicing opinions that can't be repeated here.

    Also, consider the actions of employees at the shuttered Republic Windows & Doors in Chicago and the response (after pressure) from Bank of America. I believe the near future will see everyday Chicagoans demanding their fair share—and insisting that when companies reboot, people are valued.

    Are we ready for reform? In the (unfortunate) words of Sarah Palin, "You betcha!" We're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore!
  • Wendi Taylor Nations
    There is another very funny trend coming out of Chicago. Since Tuesday, the vast legions of city bar tenders are vying to mix the best concoction of a drink called "Dirty Governor." The latest mix I saw was an extremely dirty martini with the number of olives included up for negotiation. The vodka? Effen, of course!
  • Bill Box
    Notice that nearly every major financial institution in NY is in trouble or has accepted bailout money from the government. They're part of the problem.

    On the other hand, the Chicago exchanges including the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board Options Exchange have handled the increased trading volume and have done so without a hitch. They're also working on a solution to the credit default swap problem. Simply put, they're part of the solution.

    Just proves that Chicago is the risk-transfer capital of the world.
  • Samantha_Blau
    While I was initially surprised to see some of the data on Chicago, it is easy to see the importance of widespread adoption Midwestern values - and value - in our current economy. Focus on family, environment, health and community is what is needed to pull ourselves out of the melancholy of this economic depression and turn our attention to how we can help those in our communities through these tough times. I expect to see this turn around start from the Midwest and spread outwards to the coasts.
  • Cindee C
    Let’s not forget Daley’s commitment to the environment, with efforts that range from appointing a chief environmental officer to providing grants for green and cool roofs. With initiatives ranging from a green office challenge to the roll out of blue carts to all Chicago wards by 2011 and the unveiling of a comprehensive climate action plan, every one can join in to make a difference.
  • Charlie S.
    History makes it easy to look at Chicago and Illinois through the lens of political corruption. But the fact is the city has never been stronger or more appealing thanks to its hard working citizens and their desire to make the best life possible for themselves and their families. By any measure -- business, academics, health care, sports, art, religion or philantropy -- it's hard to argue that Chicago is a world class city. Imagine the possiblities if we could just end corrupt machine politics once and for all!
  • Swerdy
    I was in Grant Park when Obama gave his victory speech. I have never been more proud of Chicago, a massive group of diverse people celebrating peacefully and joyfully, this could only happen in the heartland. Chicago's people have always set the standard for hard work, truth and and fairness. As for our obnoxious, narcissistic Governor...the timing couldn't be better...we are leading the way in getting the corruption out just as Obama and his administration, with the promise of CHANGE, steps in. Chicago Rocks!
  • Mb
    I'm incredibly proud to be a Midwesterner from Chicago...the tenacious work ethic of Chicagoans, their commitment to the environment and social causes - those are the values I deem important and that our President-elect and his advisors will bring to Washington. The misdeeds of some corrupt political leaders are not our legacy.
  • MS
    Chicago has always been a great city despite the political corruption. I think what makes Chicagoans rise above the corruption are the ethics which have always been strong. The focus on family, health, commitment to the environment and social causes are values that will continue to make Chicago shine and set an example on how CHANGE can happen.
  • Kristin
    Being a born-and-raised New Yorker I never thought I would consider another American city to be as interesting, exciting or fun as here in the Big Apple. However i had a stint of about a year working regularly from Chicago and my views changed. It was really great, I came to love the city and the people, there's a really exciting energy there and lots of interesting things going on, Many important financial market engines originate in Chicago and I don't think many people outside Chicago realize that. But it's a very crucial thing for the functioning of the American financial system.
  • JJohnson
    I believe the development with the Governor couldn't have happened at a better time. Chicago is definitely in period of political transition and I guess this is a way of purging the old regime. Underneath the corruption, Chicago is the home to think tanks, booming companies, and the arts. All eyes will continue to be on us.
  • RBM
    There is one, often-overlooked attribute Chicago has more than any other American city: resilience. Whether it is rebuilding itself out of the ashes of the Great Fire, watching the Cubs come in last place yet again, or surviving and even overcoming political corruption, Chicago and its people have always had the will and tenacity to move beyond adversity. In fact, we thrive on it.

    Yes, the governor’s recent behavior is infuriating, but in the long run Chicago, and Illinois, will be so much better off for his having gotten caught. And now, with President Obama’s upcoming inauguration – and without the “leadership” of a corrupt governor – for Chicago the sky is truly the limit.
  • Tracy Campbell
    The Windy City is a rare gem where, despite the fact that politics and corruption have unfortuntately again been fused, is a sophisticated urban city like no other. It's unfortunate that the most recent disgraces of the Governor are overshadowing Chicago's moment in the sun. Chicago is home to die-hard Cubs and White Sox fans, the new national hope for America via President-elect Barrack Obama, the "live your best life" philosophy of Oprah (and her devoted fans), the Sears Tower, numerous, fabulous restaurants and bars; and a stylish yet down-home people that make you feel right at home when you're there. Chicago's grace will not fall under the failings of its current governor.
  • Louis Reeves
    I think this makes a good point regarding the future of Chicagoland politics. Hopefully, the current scandal will allow us to move forward and continue to be trendsetters in the national and global arena.
  • kkn
    From music to television to movies, the world is realizing that Chicago is a great base for creating, making and hosting. Musicians come here to release their music because of our corner in the midwest market. Television shows come here because of our big town yet down home appeal and the movies get made here because it's easy, cheap and comfortable for the stars.
  • RPH
    As the world has seen, Chicago is so much more than its latest political scandal (don't throw stones, Newark). From being home to the next President to the upcoming Olympics, Chicagoans have a uniquely Midwestern attitude of moving forward using hard work and determination. If we can survive a Chicago winter, we can survive anything.
  • Shannon C.
    I'm not originally from Chicago but lived there for a few years a few years ago and still work for a company based there. I echo Mb's sentiments though, in that I'm proud to be a Midwesterner. The Midwest values that paved the way to the Obama White House--family, community, action, etc.--are just what we need in these treacherous economic and political times. Chicago is not the poster child for corrupt political leaders, but will be for how to survive and thrive. The actions of many will outweigh the actions of few.
  • rad
    working with the chicago office is always an amazing experience and the work that they do is always top notch and superbly executed. getting to work with offices worldwide it's rare to see such awesome camaraderie and (if possible) unabashed enthusiasm!!
  • Krjennison
    Being in the publishing industry, I am especially interested in what ends up happening to the Tribune Company. With an industry-wide shift to Web-first and print later (or never), the final fate of the Tribune will undoubtedly reflect that of many other media companies around the country. It's a change-or-die world. Was the Tribune just too big to respond to market changes?
  • Gina Castronovo
    Chicago has a lot of nicknames: The Windy City, The City of Broad Shoulders, The City By the Lake, and, of course, The Second City. Mayor Daley has dubbed it "The City That Works" and the first inhabitants of the land surrounding the Chicago River chose the name because, loosely translated, "Chicago" means "stinky onion." Fortunately, we've cleaned up our act, and, more specifically, our river, since then.

    Still, to its 2.8 million residents, Chicago is simply called "home," and the thought of any other city claiming that name is hard to imagine. It's not that other cities aren't worthy, nor is it that Chicagoans are content to never explore the rest of our great country. It's that when you are raised in Chicago, it forever holds a place in your heart, the same way a lawn chair will forever hold the parking space in front of your house after you've spent two hours shoveling out the spot. City ordainances be damned!

    What makes Chicago unique is that it has all the amenities of a metropolis but also holds true to Midwest hospitality and traditions at the same time. In other words, you can catch a cab at any hour you need one, but it's a rare occasion to hear someone cussing out the driver. Chicago has world-class restaurants but you can still get an Italian Beef sandwich at any one of the hundreds of stands throughout the city. And Chicago's Theatre District has put on some of the same shows that New York's Broadway exhibits, but you'd be hard pressed to find another city that boasts a comparable Improv Comedy scene.

    And when we run out of other cities against which we stack our Toddelin' Town, there's always competition among ourselves. South Siders will declare the White Sox are the best team in baseball and cite their 2005 World Series win as proof. North Siders will claim that true fans are those that stick by a team through thick and 100-years of thin. (Besides, everyone knows that next year is the Cubs' year.) But at least we can all agree that a Chicago-style hot dog, whichever ballpark you enjoy it, does not have ketchup on it.

    We can also all agree that Chicago is the best damn city there is, no matter the color of the "L" line you take home at night. Because whatever name you use when speaking about this great city, Chicago is the pride you beam when answering the question, "Where are you from?" It's the way the skyskrapers look at night when driving along Lake Shore Drive. It's the first semi-warm day when everyone breaks out shorts and washes their car for no other reason than to savor the weather in this two-season town. And when you travel, it's the feeling you get when the wheels touch down at O'Hare or Midway.

    As Frank Sinatra crooned it best, "each time I leave, Chicago is tugging my sleeve." Now that's my kind of town.
  • Gina Castronovo
    Chicago has a lot of nicknames: The Windy City, The City of Broad Shoulders, The City By the Lake, and, of course, The Second City. Mayor Daley has dubbed it "The City That Works" and the first inhabitants of the land surrounding the Chicago River chose the name because, loosely translated, "Chicago" means "stinky onion." Fortunately, we've cleaned up our act, and, more specifically, our river, since then.

    Still, to its 2.8 million residents, Chicago is simply called "home," and the thought of any other city claiming that name is hard to imagine. It's not that other cities aren't worthy, nor is it that Chicagoans are content to never explore the rest of our great country. It's that when you are raised in Chicago, it forever holds a place in your heart, the same way a lawn chair will forever hold the parking space in front of your house after you've spent two hours shoveling out the spot. City ordainances be damned!

    What makes Chicago unique is that it has all the amenities of a metropolis but also holds true to Midwest hospitality and traditions at the same time. In other words, you can catch a cab at any hour you need one, but it's a rare occasion to hear someone cussing out the driver. Chicago has world-class restaurants but you can still get an Italian Beef sandwich at any one of the hundreds of stands throughout the city. And Chicago's Theatre District has put on some of the same shows that New York's Broadway exhibits, but you'd be hard pressed to find another city that boasts a comparable Improv Comedy scene.

    And when we run out of other cities against which we stack our Toddelin' Town, there's always competition among ourselves. South Siders will declare the White Sox are the best team in baseball and cite their 2005 World Series win as proof. North Siders will claim that true fans are those that stick by a team through thick and 100-years of thin. (Besides, everyone knows that next year is the Cubs' year.) But at least we can all agree that a Chicago-style hot dog, whichever ballpark you enjoy it, does not have ketchup on it.

    We can also all agree that Chicago is the best damn city there is, no matter the color of the "L" line you take home at night. Because whatever name you use when speaking about this great city, Chicago is the pride you beam when answering the question, "Where are you from?" It's the way the skyskrapers look at night when driving along Lake Shore Drive. It's the first semi-warm day when everyone breaks out shorts and washes their car for no other reason than to savor the weather in this two-season town. And when you travel, it's the feeling you get when the wheels touch down at O'Hare or Midway.

    As Frank Sinatra crooned it best, "each time I leave, Chicago is tugging my sleeve." Now that's my kind of town.
  • gmcastronovo
    Chicago has a lot of nicknames: The Windy City, The City of Broad Shoulders, The City By the Lake, and, of course, The Second City. Mayor Daley has dubbed it "The City That Works" and the first inhabitants of the land surrounding the Chicago River chose the name because, loosely translated, "Chicago" means "stinky onion." Fortunately, we've cleaned up our act, and, more specifically, our river, since then.

    Still, to its 2.8 million residents, Chicago is simply called "home," and the thought of any other city claiming that name is hard to imagine. It's not that other cities aren't worthy, nor is it that Chicagoans are content to never explore the rest of our great country. It's that when you are raised in Chicago, it forever holds a place in your heart, the same way a lawn chair will forever hold the parking space in front of your house after you've spent two hours shoveling out the spot. City ordainances be damned!

    What makes Chicago unique is that it has all the amenities of a metropolis but also holds true to Midwest hospitality and traditions at the same time. In other words, you can catch a cab at any hour you need one, but it's a rare occasion to hear someone cussing out the driver. Chicago has world-class restaurants but you can still get an Italian Beef sandwich at any one of the hundreds of stands throughout the city. And Chicago's Theatre District has put on some of the same shows that New York's Broadway exhibits, but you'd be hard pressed to find another city that boasts a comparable Improv Comedy scene.

    And when we run out of other cities against which we stack our Toddelin' Town, there's always competition among ourselves. South Siders will declare the White Sox are the best team in baseball and cite their 2005 World Series win as proof. North Siders will claim that true fans are those that stick by a team through thick and 100-years of thin. (Besides, everyone knows that next year is the Cubs' year.) But at least we can all agree that a Chicago-style hot dog, whichever ballpark you enjoy it, does not have ketchup on it.

    We can also all agree that Chicago is the best damn city there is, no matter the color of the "L" line you take home at night. Because whatever name you use when speaking about this great city, Chicago is the pride you beam when answering the question, "Where are you from?" It's the way the skyskrapers look at night when driving along Lake Shore Drive. It's the first semi-warm day when everyone breaks out shorts and washes their car for no other reason than to savor the weather in this two-season town. And when you travel, it's the feeling you get when the wheels touch down at O'Hare or Midway.

    As Frank Sinatra crooned it best, "each time I leave, Chicago is tugging my sleeve." Now that's my kind of town.
  • No matter which side of the pond you sit on, Americans and Brits seem to be drawn to the tawdry. There’s something delicious about a good scandal, and no place is as tasty right now as Chicago. Sure, it’s got great restaurants (Charlie Trotter’s among them), some of the country’s best museums, a shopping district so great that its nickname begins with “miracle”, and a precocious sense of humor (Second City)… But better yet it’s the political home of Barack and current base of a political corruption mess so bad you can smell it from sea to shining sea. You gotta love Chicago. We’ll have to let the PN experts weigh in as to whether any PR, bad or not, is good for building positive interest...
  • raymondo
    Enough of this second city nonsense, chicago rules.
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