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Capone? Never Heard of Him

By Justin Sondak in News on Sep 28, 2006 7:43PM

Chicagoist can’t decide whether hosting the 2016 Olympics would be a boon or boondoggle. But this morning’s Trib article about the latest obstacle to Chicago’s bid nearly had us choking on our Lucky Charms. Apparently, our image is still stuck in the past:

And, while informal polling by the U.S. Olympic Committee showed strong international interest in Chicago earlier this year, some observers believe Chicago's image overseas is dated, linked more to stockyards, steel and Al Capone than to its stunning skyline, blossoming Millennium Park and first-rate cultural and culinary offerings.

caponeframepub.jpgNow anyone who knows the slightest bit of Chicago history or spends a few hours watching The History Channel knows Capone has been dead almost 50 years and the stockyards aren't much livelier. True, history is not everyone’s best subject and some Americans still think President Roosevelt signed the Declaration of Independence. But Chicagoist simply can’t believe, when much of the world enjoys easy access to news and information via TV, internet, and cool mobile gadgets, that so many people still cling to an image of Chicago as it existed eight decades ago!!

Our civic leaders have tirelessly tried to correct these misconceptions, even commissioning a song and dance to bring global perceptions into the 21st Century. Apparently that didn’t work too well, and our fair city is still regarded by some as a gang-ridden, Michael Jordan dunking, foul-smelling metropolis by the lake.

They leave us no choice. Chicago, it’s time to fight ignorance with ignorance! Let’s see how the rest of the world likes being misperceived:

  • Next time you’re in Berlin, ask the locals what happened to that giant wall and those occupying soldiers.
  • Traveling to Johannesburg? Demand Mandela’s release! Then feign shock when you see black folks and white folks actually getting along.
  • Tell your Brazilian friends you have a good feeling about that Pelé kid.
  • If you find yourself in Tel Aviv, ask the locals when this Israel country was founded and why no one told you about it before.
  • Walk around Saigon wearing a gas mask, take cover whenever a plane flies overhead.
  • Backpacking in Eastern Europe? Let everyone know you can’t wait to see Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union, and Prussia.