The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

The Week That Was: Three-Alarm Irony

By Staff in News on Dec 14, 2014 9:45PM

A three-alarm irony capped a stretch of nearly unparalleled irony in Chicago as the Firehouse Restaurant—a former firehouse featured in the movie Backdraft—caught fire and was severely damaged. I only wish Alanis Morissette had been on hand so she could have learned a thing or two.

Only a week after his official campaign kickoff, Mayor Rahm Emanuel seems to be collecting Latino endorsements. This week he re-introduced the public to Gery Chico, the guy who worked in many high-profile roles for Mayor Daley, the person whom everyone— even Rahm—blames for our current mess.

Just to recap: Chico lost to Rahm in a race in which he raised doubts about Emanuel meeting the resident qualification and cried foul over robocalls by Emanuel that claimed Chico was backed by the Tea Party, but now that his law firm makes millions of dollars lobbying the city, Rahm’s an okay guy.

This should come as no surprise as the mayor has wrangled every person of color possible in the staging of his campaign, a feat that would make Cecil. B. Demille proud. Given his approval rating in Chicago’s black community, I assume many of these painstakingly orchestrated people were actors, or bussed in from out of town. And where did Emanuel’s exercise in political theater take place? On a soundstage, the very same one where Chicago Fire is filmed. He’s not even trying to hide the irony anymore.

If only his administration were just a tedious Dick Wolfe television show. We could script a crossover episode where Hizzoner visits the Law & Order gang and gets incarcerated for impersonating a Democrat.

Speaking of impersonations, the Berghoff ownership was among the Chicken Littles claiming the sky would fall if our pretend Democrat Mayor got his pretend minimum wage increase -- the one that assures employees still will be on the poverty line come 2019.

But we’ve heard this song and dance before from this historic establishment known for Chicago’s first post-Prohibition liquor license and cuisine that makes EPCOT Center seem authentic by comparison. Back in 2005, Berghoff owners claimed to be going out of business, generated a huge rush of customers and then closed just long enough to clean house of all the long-time staff making good wages.

(Another over-the-top irony: The owner of a place called the Bourgeois Pig also whined about the minimum wage increase.)

Keep in mind, businesses that employ tipped workers are required to increase the hourly wage by only 50 cents next year. Half a buck, or $4 for an eight-hour shift. To people who have not had a wage increase since 2009. If that’s what counts as a hardship for the small business owner, they ain’t the dedicated salt of the earth they claim to be.

Our city leaders also pretended to care about cabbies this week in passing the taxi fairness ordinance, which rolls back some of the costs and penalties taxi drivers face. But can Rahm REALLY discuss this issue and not be wondering how much money brother Ari is losing for himself and good buddy Ashton Kutcher when some of the disadvantages cabbies face at the hands of Uber are reduced?

Speaking of competitive disadvantages, the Chicago Bears are contractually required to play out the rest of the schedule, but you are not required to watch. If you have a very small child who has been bugging you to take him to a Bear game, however, tickets are priced to move. This after two unlucky fans had to endure the Monsters of the Midway AND a shanking, all in one visit to Soldier Field.

That’s what happens when Bears tickets are going for $1.99 on Craigslist.

And the Chicago Tribune further demonstrated the decline in journalism by burying the lead on the furry convention story. Reports are the crowd was overcome by a noxious odor later determined to be chlorine. Insiders report the real cause was that an attendee took off the costume they'd worn every day since Bonnaroo and had not washed.

And that was the week that was.

—Tony Boylan

'The Week That Was'' is a satirical, yet informative, look back at recent news. We consider it to be mostly accurate