Friday, March 13, 2009

"Up, Up and Away"

I'll admit it. I'm one of those Chicagoans who still has not forgiven Macy's for taking over and re-naming our beloved Marshall Fields stores.

Since the Macy's rebranding, I have yet to buy one single thing from Macy's. Not even a Frango.

And the "No Frangos" thing is killing my mother. For years, I would go home for Christmas with a big box of Frangos for her. Or as she pronounces them, "Fuh-RAIN-goes."

And now, another Chicago icon is changing as the Sears Tower is being renamed Willis Tower.

The Willis Group, a London-based insurance brokerage has been given naming rights to the tower as a part of its deal to relocate area offices to three floors in the building.

Three floors? Just three? Hell, when I first moved to Chicago, I worked for a venture capital firm that took up all of the 95th floor and part of the 96th. And all they got to name was their office, not the whole friggin' building.

Chicagoans don't take this kind of thing lightly. But really, I doubt anyone anywhere would if someone from another city renamed a building closely associated with that community.

Willis Group's chairman and CEO Joseph Plumeri doesn't understand why the name change is so upsetting to people in the Windy City. His response in the Chicago Tribune...

"Would you rather have an iconic building with nobody in it, which doesn't say a lot about Chicago, or someone with enough faith to take the space?

"The headline should be: A company has decided to invest money in Chicago, and if you miss that headline, you've missed the side of the building by a mile and a half."

So, in the spirit of The Daily Show's Jon Stewart, I humbly reply to Mr. Plumeri...

"Fuck you."

I want Mr. Plumeri, his pale, tea-drinking, scone-eating limey ass, his 500 employees and his "I've got a small dick, so I need to rent 3 floors of the tallest building in the western hemisphere to feel good about my wood" money out of my city. For his own good.

Because soon it will be summer and summer will bring "Bat Night" at Wrigley Field. And if Mr. Plumeri keeps up the snotty, arrogant attitude, me and a few hundred drunken Cubs fan will find that cockney motherfucker, here or in London, and teach him some manners with our Louisville Sluggers.

And for the record, I won't be striking Mr. Plumeri with my baseball bat. But trust me when I say that he will feel it. He will definitely feel it.


Anonymous said...

Typical idiot response on your part. How intelligent of an answer "Fuck You".

And of course, another EMPTY threat of violence.

And over what, that the name of a building is changing. Sure, it's taking a part of Chicago History and renaming it. But it's that exact kind of, We shouldn't change anything, that screws up society.

Nope, bringing 500 jobs to Chicago doesn't matter, the name of a building matters.

You loser.

Stephen Rader said...

anonymous - Wow. Bitter much? Or do you just not have a fucking funny bone in your body?

And you know what I love? Having people like you, who can't sign their name or stand behind their words, call me a loser. THAT'S hysterical.

Stephen Rader said...

anonymous - Oh, and if you had paid attention, you would know that this company is NOT bringing 500 jobs into Chicago. Those jobs are already IN Chicago and the company is simply consolidating its offices onto 3 floors of the tower.

Which means Chicago loses another piece of what makes us Chicago and receives no economic bump from it whatsoever.

Put that in your bitter pill and suck on it.

Anonymous said...

Or what? Are you going to get drunk and take a bat to me too?

LOL. As for being anonymous, I could just as easy make up a fake identity, and you would never know.

If anyone is bitter...I mean look at your response. Thanks for the laugh.

Anonymous said...

As a one time Chicagoan I too will never step foot into that Macys. And it wasn't my Mother but I who is lost with Frango Mints, Thank you for you on target blog

Stephen Rader said...

anonymous - So, the options that immediately come to your mind are A) be an anonymous coward or B) create a fake name and lie about who you are - - is that right? That says so much.

Just Aaron - Oh trust me, I lost out on those Frango Mints, too!!! That has been the hardest thing not to buy! Thanks for the comment and your compliment. And nice blog!

Aaron said...

I realized, when I went home for Christmas a few months ago, that we now have a Macy's too. A Macy's that used to be a Famous Barr, which in turn used to be Carson Pirie Scott.

And, with all due respect to Anonymous (though I'm not sure he deserves it), it IS pretty upsetting when something that you identify yourself by is suddenly stripped and renamed. Judging from the insides of these places, nothing has changed--the inside of Field's still looks exactly the same, and I'm sure the Willis' 3 floors of offices will have the same carpeting and glass.

But a name is an identity, all the same. And when Willis pulls out eventually (and the carpetbaggers always do), the naming rights will default. Again.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you can think of it as The Sears Tower Rebooted -- you know, like when Marvel did Heroes Reborn.

Oh wait.

We all know how hard that sucked...

james said...

it's never pleasant when the carpetbaggers pull out.

(what are we talking about here???)

btw, i won't so much mind the change in the name if it is accompanied with the ST being re-painted silver, as it has been proposed recently. that way, the iconic, very miesian sears tower will always be the sears tower and this new thing can be the What 'chou Talkin' About? Tower.

Polt said...

I was gonna say something smartassed about you being a bit sensitive, but with Anonymous's comments, well, it just doesn't seem all that funny now.

So I'll just ask: It is difficult being a Cubs fan? :)


Stephen Rader said...

anonymous - You can insult me on my blog all you like, but what you can't do is insult my friends. And for that reason, I won't be publishing your last comment.

And I was being funny. If you can't understand my humor, then just don't read my blog. It's really that simple.

And by the way, when you wrote "your a violent person," I believe you meant "you're a violent person." As in "you are."

Spelling counts.

Prospero said...

As an East Coaster, I grew up with Macy's, so I hold no bitterness toward them. As someone who set foot in Chicago for the first time ever last October, I can't begin to tell you how my first sighting of the Sears Tower awed me. I understand, completely. Just imagine how berserk New Yorkers would go if the Empire State Building were to be re-named. It's about civic pride. It's about home. It's about tradition. I was saddened to read that the Bean had been vandalized a few weeks ago. I'm just as saddened by this.

Palm Springs Savant said...

I miss MFs they were an icon. Now run down to Fannie May and get your momma some mint meltaways instead Stephen!

cb said...

Don't worry. Ain't NOBODY gonna call it anything but the Sears tower for quite awhile. it's a landmark.

And yeah, I haven't forgiven Macy's for the outrage of "rebranding" Marshal Fields either!

Anonymous said...

Well, I still call Comiskey Park "Comiskey Park" and I'm not particularly invested in EITHER Of the teams and all. People will probably call it what they want and not care too much about what's "official."

Peter said...

That tower will always be called Sears Tower, just as the Hancock will keep that name even if some dumb fuck would give it another name. They are part of Chicago's history, same goes for Marshall Fields or Carson Pirie Scott.

BTW, I'm not a Chicagoan but enjoyed your city and it's places.

philip said...

Dear Anonymous:
Names are important.
You'd do well to learn it.
Philip Edward Dawkins.

Anonymous said...

Ok, fine, Stephen.

Either your post shows you are in fact a violent person, or basically, a bullshitter, because you don't really belive what you post.

So if you are in fact a violent person, why would I post anything that would allow you to find me and come after me with a bat? So if I belive you are an honest person, then I have a right to be afraid, and I'm being smart going anonymous.

Or, you're just full of bullshit, and a liar. Yes, I know what funny is. I also know when someone claims something is funny to try and cover what they said. This wasn't any attempt at being funny.

So I'm going to guess, you're just a liar and a bullshitter.

Stephen Rader said...

philip - Thank you, sweetie.

anonymous - I was being funny. You'll notice that there aren't a lot of "calls to arms" on this blog. I'm not asking for Chicagoans to come together and hurt this guy. I just found his response to our sadness at losing yet another piece of Chicago history bitchy and offensive. Many people did.

I've lived most of my life avoiding conflict, allowing bitchy, hurtful people to do or say whatever they want to me, my friends or the public without confronting them or addressing them. As an adult, I've tried to stand up for myself more and more. I've tried to find my voice, understand my opinions and not be afraid to share them with the world. I would hope that, if I ever met the CEO of Willis, I would be able to tell him how offensive his words were to me. If I met you, I would hope that we would be able to talk to each other and disagree, instead of me just listening to you and never disagreeing or standing up for myself.

So, for a man who was shy and afraid to the point of rarely speaking and allowing the gay bashing bullies to be verbally and physically abusive without once standing up for myself, I consider my open and honest sharing of my opinions as an adult to be a major accomplishment.

My opinions are my own. You don't have to agree with them, but disagreeing with them anonymously feels like some blog version of a drive by shooting.

And again, if you don't understand my humor or don't like my opinions, then just read my blog. And if you want to disagree with me, sign your name. Then, maybe I won't feel so much like Lauren Bacall in THE FAN.

Project Christopher said...

My word! What a long discussion! When I saw that there were 19 responses I wasn't surprised because this is a big deal to Chicagoans. I posted this same story on my blog. Yes, it's only a name, but it's OUR name.
I was surprised that most of the comments in this blog were dealing with a catty attack of character. Yes, Stephen's blog is often bitchy and sharp tongued. I doubt very seriously that you, Anonymous, know Stephen in person. He's still bitchy with a sharp tongue, but if you knew him you'd know that in addition to being an actor and cabaret artist that he is also a very funny stand up comic and, like me, his comedy comes in this form like many famous comics. If you had spilled your spiteful diatribe on Lisa Lampanelli for saying the same thing you'd find your penis cut off tomorrow if you have one (I mean, I don't know if you're a man or woman)
There are people who comment on blog posts (mine included) that just seem to hate bloggers who are brave enough to share their opinions and stories with the world but the commenter is so sheltered and chicken, they don't have the spirit to do the same. But when you come out and attack
Stephen's friends... now you're just trying to find new things to complain about, again behind the safety of anonymity.
So let me stand with my friends Philip and Stephen as proud Chicagoans and say I'm in the town with Comiskey Park, Marshall Fields and the Sears Tower while also echoing the spot on statement of Philip Dawkins and say names are important. A name offers respect. I'm Christopher Grace, I am Project Christopher and I am a Stephen Rader fan!