Brian Hieggelke

One Year into History

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Is it just me, or does anyone else feel like the fine people of Massachusetts have, perhaps unwittingly, dishonored the legacy of their late long-serving Senator Ted Kennedy in a manner worse than if they’d dug up his grave and paraded his skull around Faneuil Hall on a pole? If there was one cause his entire career stood for, it was health-care reform, and if there was one way to honor him, it was to enact this first bit of progressive legislation in a generation. Instead, he had the audacity to die in office, and to punish him, his voters turned against him and made his death, in irony most cruel, the thing that might just prevent the enactment of that which he valued most of all.

Is it just me, or is it specious reasoning to infer that the Massachusetts voters who, in effect, voted against health-care reform in this election are thus against the principle of universal health care? Is it at all possible that, since they already have universal health care and are paying for it with their state tax dollars, that they just did not want to incur the cost of getting a redundant program?

Is it just me, or should Boston take back its Tea Party soon? Can someone to the left of center please spend a minute or two studying the semantics of shameless propaganda, American Revolution chapter? Read the rest of this entry »

Bush Admin to Bicyclists: You're a Waste

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It’s hard sometimes to remain skeptical about the “conspiracy theorists” who connect all of the Bush Administrations actions in the Middle East to oil, when the president’s cabinet members go on record saying things so incomprehensibly uninformed as Transportation Secretary Mary Peters’ recent comments that bicycle paths were an example of Congressional waste, because bicycles are not a transportation use of the gas tax money.

Time to Give the Lady What She Wants?

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I take little consolation in the seeming vindication of my position on the re-branding of Marshall Fields’s as Macy’s represented in the ongoing performance challenges of “Macy’s North. ” Nor am I surprised: shopping is both functional and emotional, and Chicagoans have a huge emotional connection to the Field’s brand, and very little to Macy’s. If Macy’s had entered the market in another manner, say by rebranding Lord & Taylor or as a standalone, I have little doubt that they would have been greeted by anything other than open arms. But in taking away something intrinsically Chicago from Chicago, they created powerful negative emotional responses, and I expect those wounds might heal more slowly than Wall Street’s unforgiving nature will allow.

John's Gone Back to Cincinnati

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I just watched the season and, it turns out, series finale of HBO’s latest Milchsterpiece, “John From Cincinnati.” I was baffled by the show, yet drawn to it, for its cast of cosmic cornballs, for its intricate language, with a mix of Mamet-like rhythm and Shakespearean constructions. And it teased like no other series, setting out its enigmatic premise early, just accessible enough to bring you back to learn more, only to find yourself increasingly baffled with each episode. Exposition obscured, not clarified. But as I watched the last episode, I found myself in search of “the explanation,” the layers of meaning, references and other devices surely present for those who studied it, who conversed about it, more diligently than I had. Memories of my once-obsessive fascination with “Twin Peaks” floated by, but I hate to say that I found that David’s work (at least season one) far more accessible than this David’s work. I still seek that understanding. My brief search found this rather heated discussion.

Clearly the show was polarizing. Unfortunately, the staunchest defenders did not decode, but simply seemed drunk on the Kool-Aid, accusing the detractors of “not getting it,” without explaining what they did not get. You don’t see the emperor’s new clothes? In the end, I was a frustrated fan, one who could not resist the characters, the language and the weekly trainwreck. And I’m still looking for answers.