Before CHICAGO, City of on the Make, there was
William Stead's If Christ Came to Chicago.
Published in 1894 it remains an incredibly good
read. It holds one fascinated at how violent and
shameless American culture once was.
Around that time, 2 people a day were killed on
average in Chicago in cable car accidents.
Newspaper boys in the first decade of the
Twentieth Century were routinely beat up for
delivering the wrong paper. 27 News Stand
Operators were killed for selling the wrong
paper by 1913.
People lived with a degree of risk we
would never accept today. I wonder if
anything has limited America's potential
as much as our aversion to risk.
Fear keeps us from imagining a form of
success really worth achieving. Sharing
drinks with one of Chicago's best writers,
Tom Geoghegan at the Twin Anchors last
Thursday as an early Fourth of
July Celebration, he traced our woes as a
nation to one simple cause:
Chicago, the Midwest, has let America down,
producing nothing the rest of the world wanted
anymore, surviving on corn syrup sold to