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The Week in WTF

1. Roger Ebert, WTF?

First things first. I love Roger Ebert. Always have; always will. Almost anything he says about a movie is more likely to be true than otherwise. And we are a more emaciated culture in his absence. Plus, I just like him.

But . . .

While I hope his reborn Ebert Presents at the Movies becomes a colossal TV hit and crowns his career triumphantly, the debut was a hard load to digest. It wasn't hideous; just ungainly.

It was exactly the sort of leaden, odd, mismatched, dissonant production that Ebert once would have called out gleefully for its artistic ineptness.

As the designated critique couple, Christy Lemire and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky seemed to be duct-taped together on an eHarmony-first-date-from-movie-hell. In real life (where nobody is being paid), the dating disaster ends with neither party ever calling the other again. They were two people trapped in monologues dressed as a dialogue.

The circumlocution of Ebert on screen but his "voice" coming from someone else reading his words is, well, just creepy. Sorry. Want to be sensitive. But it's unnerving.

There is unlikely to be any overt criticism of the show from local screening room denizens, most of whom, like Dann Gire seem to have been co-opted into being contributors.

Cultural icons don't need fawning idolatry to validate their place in the world. But it's a tough call. How do you dislike the just-birthed show without seeming to diss Ebert's immense contribution to art? Maybe it will get better. But if it doesn't, not even Ebert's name will save it.

2. Jody Weis, WTF?

Probably no way to save his job because the political tides seem to be crashing against him. One candidate for mayor even tacitly traded his promise for Weis's dismissal and replacing him with a local guy for the police department's endorsement. In the real world, we call that bribery. Emanuel barely missed the happy handshake because the cops say he's more likely to be tough on pension negotiations (Like that's a negative for the general voting public?)

Based only on the motley bunch of namby-pambies who want his scalp delivered on a platter, I have decided - with no particular canine in the hunt - to be on his side.

If it's him or them, I'll take him.

3. The Chicago Police Department, WTF?

The critics and victims derided the four-and-a-half year prison sentence placed upon police torturer Jon Burge for obvious reasons, though they missed the point. He wasn't charged with torture. Too bad. He was charged with lying about it, and, all things considered, four-and-a-half years for perjury is a respectable penalty and considerably more than the minimum. It's the Al Capone Proxy.

But if Burge was rebuked from U.S. District Court Judge Joan Lefkow's bar of justice, she reserved even more stinging scorn for Chicago's police department.

"Seldom have I heard a judge call out a entire police institution for its dishonesty. She was part angry and nearly as much sad about the state of justice the case revealed. No sign of any departmental self-reflection.

4. The Chicago Police Pension Board, WTF?

The Chicago Police Pension Board decision Thursday to let Burge keep his pension was, well, beyond comprehension both from a WTF common sense standard and a legal one.

The four board members who voted to let him keep his $3,039.03 a month stipend because his perjury did not occur when he was a cop. The four board members who voted for Burge to keep his pension are current or former officers elected by Chicago police: Kenneth Hauser, Michael Lazzaro, James Maloney, and Michael Shields. The four who voted against Burge were appointed by Mayor Richard Daley.

According to the Trib, Kenneth Hauser, president of the pension board, said Burge's federal conviction "had nothing to do with things he did when he was on the job. He was retired 10 years when they convicted him . . . It wasn't on charges of what he did when he was a police officer. It was on a lie that he made in front of a civil jury."

Yes, but he lied about torture. The perjury jury ruled in an unambiguous if de facto verdict that Burge could not have been guilty of perjury had he not been a torturer. That's what he lied about.

WTF did not realize that former cops could parse legal distinction as if they were Jesuit lawyers.

Thus, Burge's torture of justice, not to mention the people of Chicago, will continue until he dies. Sometimes yelling WTF! into the night air seems so inadequate.


Comments welcome.


Posted on January 28, 2011

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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