Friday, April 18, 2014

What do Obama/Yoda have in common

I realize life in government isn’t all serious. But seeing our elected officials on Thursday focusing their attention on museums?

I suppose they justify it by saying they’re trying to create tourist attractions of the future – even more reasons why people might want to visit Chicago and bolster our local economy by spending their money here.

BUT THAT’S WHAT we literally got on this day – state government officials spent time talking about the possibility of the future presidential museum and library that will pay tribute to Barack Obama.

While Mayor Rahm Emanuel created a new task force that will study the possibility of moviemaker George Lucas developing a museum in Chicago to pay tribute to his work – primarily “Star Wars” and all its declining-in-quality sequels.

Could we literally get the day someday when tourists make stops at museums paying tribute to the first non-white U.S. president AND the Jedi Master whose command of “the Force” doesn’t overcome the fact that he sounds just like Grover from Sesame Street?

Quite a difference from the days of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Field Museum being the places people felt compelled to visit (along with the Museum of Science and Industry, if they had kids in tow) when they stopped off in Chicago for any length of time.

NOT THAT WE’RE anywhere near getting either museum. This is literally the first stage in the process, and it is still very possible that both museums could wind up elsewhere – particularly in the case of Lucas, although I’m not underestimating the concept of Obama wanting to retire to Honolulu and have his museum nearby.

To that museum’s end, an Illinois House committee meeting in Chicago gave its recommendation to the idea of spending $100 million someday on an Obama museum – with Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, saying that’s comparable to the amount of state funds that went toward developing an Abraham Lincoln library and museum in downtown Springfield some nine years ago.

Not that this latest action, which still needs approval by the full Illinois House, the state Senate and Gov. Pat Quinn before it becomes official, tells us where such a museum would be located.

Since we’re still nowhere near deciding where, in Chicago, would be the best site to remember the eight-year period in which a one-time community organizer from down around the Altgeld Gardens public housing complex became the most feared (by the conservative ideologues amongst us) element of our society.

FOR HIS PART, Emanuel said he does not think the fact that Obama still owns a home in Chicago and may come back at some point to live part of the rest of his life here does not ensure Chicago would get the museum.

He wants to see serious politicking on the issue. Similar to what we’re likely to see to get the Lucas museum.

Similar to the task force that he created to try to bring a Lucas museum to Chicago. Long live the imagery of “Star Wars,” although I’d be more interested in seeing relics of “American Graffiti” – which gave us “Happy Days” before “Happy Days” existed on television.

How about that souped-up yellow car that actor Paul LeMat’s “John Milner” character drove about all throughout the film, before beating Harrison Ford’s character in the film-ending drag race?

Check out the car!
THEN AGAIN, FORD went on to become “Han Solo,” and ride around the galaxy in the Millennium Falcon with a walking carpet named “Chewbacca.”

It seems Chicago is amongst the cities being considered because Lucas’ wife is a Chicago native, and he actually has a home here, along with in San Francisco.

And if we get it, we run the risk of having people suddenly think that a museum makes the “Star Wars” saga real-life history – just the opposite of those people who think “Titanic” was a story about Leonardo DiCaprio and some rich chick!


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