Full Details of the BIBJ Millennial Playlist Hullabaloo are available here. Today's entry is #83: Fight Test by The Flaming Lips (2002)
Flaming Lips - Fight Test
Yesterday Chicago lost the 2016 Olympics. While watching the live coverage, I observed the sheer bafflement on the faces of anchors, reporters, and people on the street in what apparently was an upset in the eyes of many. People seemed most stunned by the fact that Chicago placed dead last of the four candidate cities, and you would never know by the coverage that half of Chicagoans never wanted the games in the first place. Irregardless, after the first few minutes of newscasters and volunteers coming to grips with the shock, I started hearing a familiar refrain. It's the same motto I've been hearing people spout out leading up to yesterday's decision, and one I've heard ad infinitum since before Olympic talk even began:
"We're going to show people that Chicago is a world class city."
A google search of Olympics Chicago "world class city" reveals 7,060,000 results. But what is the phrase "world class city" supposed to even mean? Chicago is the 3rd biggest city in America. People around the world know about Chicago. Yet this city has some deeply embedded inferiority complex that manifests itself in this ridiculous quest to prove its collective worth to the rest of the world, who frankly couldn't give a shit one way or the other.
I'm not sure where this inherited paranoia comes from, but I see it time and time again in people who can't wait to tell you that they've lived in Chicago their whole life. (The majority of these people consider growing up in Schaumburg or Wilmette the same as "Chicago," mailing address be damned. By this rationale, those who live in Greenwich, Connecticut will be pleased to know they can claim to be from New York City.)
Along with this pride of being real Chicagoans, there is a bizarre judgment of any other city within the Midwest. Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, St. Louis - you are second class cities, all secretly conspiring as you dream of reaching the stature the Windy City claims. A former Sun Time columnist, who now can tell you all you need to know about womens Korea Open tennis, once wrote an infamous column before Super Bowl XLI about the intense jealousy Indianapolis must have of Chicago. If only he knew that people in Indianapolis have pretty much no opinion whatsoever of Chicago, aside from the fact that they probably silently wonder what kind of city would keep re-electing a mayor who has proven to be such a complete fuck up.
Here's what I've realized. People of Chicago want these other Midwestern cities to be jealous of Chicago, because the truth is that Chicago is jealous of LA and New York, for reasons I'll likely never understand. They want the eyes of the world on Chicago as much as possible (unless the reason involves Blago.) Any arbitrary list that any publication invents, Chicago wants to be #1. Men's Health's most stressed city? Car & Driver's worst highway traffic? An airline magazine's top farmer's markets? They want it all, and when they feel put down, they lash out like Third Eye Blind backers, indignant at those who don't show proper respect, while simultaneously begging for approval of their worth from the masses.
Needless to say, I can't wait to see the reaction in four years when Minneapolis inevitably gets the 2020 Olympic Games.