Ideas that may take some getting used to, from the Animals’ Agenda (June 1989): “If we could set aside species stereotypes and see chickens as they really are, we’d discover a sensitive and courageous bird.”

Helping mummy unwind. The Oriental Institute Museum on East 58th Street reports that it has removed three mummies from display for the summer and stored them in a “climate controlled” area. “A fourth mummy, the most structurally stable of the group, will remain on display…. After prolonged exposure to Chicago’s climate–high levels of humidity and large fluctuations in temperature–the mummies are showing signs of stress…”

Rrrm! Rrrrrmm! Appendectomies, anyone? “Providing all your electricity with only nuclear power and coal is like doing all surgeries with only chain saws,” writes Dave Kraft of the Evanston-based Nuclear Energy Information Service. “The real future of energy lies in appropriate applications of diverse sources of energy to meet the specific end-use needs.” The city, he says, might do well in its franchise negotiations with Com Ed if it emphasized the neglected alternative-energy and conservation approaches.

Ninety-two percent of Chicago’s overcrowded schools are located in Hispanic communities, according to the United Neighborhood Organization’s “Hispanic Education Agenda.” Among the worst cases are Hammond School (934 students in a school with a capacity for 600) and Pickard School (878 students in space for 570), both of which are in the Pilsen-Little Village area.

Why is traditional TV so threatened by trash TV? Because “these shows, through their spectacles and sensationalism, expose their own artificiality and theatricalism, which in turn exposes these same qualities in so called respectable news shows,” writes David Crane in Milwaukee’s Shepherd Express (December 8-15, 1988). “Legit TV tries to mask its constriction in the myth of objectivity. It wants us to believe that it simply reports the news rather than manufactures it. If there’s any media manipulation going on (according to legit logic), it’s blamed on the evil spin doctors or publicists or some other outside agitators. But tabloid shows call into question the whole process of news production and consumption.”

Yes, World War II was a great tune, but they played it too often. “At the same time that the past is preserved with an unprecedented immediacy and vividness, it is also being dispersed and diffused by photography.” So says Colin Westerbeck in a brochure on the “Decisive Monuments” exhibit at Ehlers Caudill Gallery, 750 N. Orleans. “As a result, historical experience has been cheapened in a sense. Its effects have been spread over so vast an area of modern consciousness that no one can really feel them anymore. The past becomes like a hit song that, having been whistled and hummed by too many people, turns into a cliche whose copyright is no longer worth renewing.”

“Rich Daley campaigned in every part of the city promising fairness,” writes Jon-Henri Damski in Windy City Times (May 4), “saying race would not make a difference to him. But there’s the problem! Race is, clear as your face, an obvious problem and makes an obvious difference. ‘Colorblind-ness’ is hard to take…. African Americans probably feel just as insulted when well-intentioned people say ‘race makes no difference’ as I do when someone tells me: ‘Your being gay makes no difference to me.’ Well, being gay makes a total difference to me. I strongly object when others try to blandly wipe away my difference, because they also erase my feelings, desires, motivations, loves and affections; the reason and way I do things. Being gay makes a difference to me in everything I do.”

“If it was up to the Left to make a revolution in America, we’d still be trying to figure out how three people can get out of a phone booth–two trying to figure out how they can leave the third one in the phone booth because that person is really a revisionist. In the ’60s we went beyond the Left in our style, in our language. We were American in every sense of the word, especially in our excesses…. Sure we were young. We were arrogant. We were ridiculous. There were excesses. We were brash. We were foolish. We had factional fights. But we were right.” Abbie Hoffman, as quoted in the Progressive, June 1989.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Carl Kock.