Saturday, May 19, 2018

Do we give a fig about royal wedding?

If George comes to Chicago, I’ll crack him in the snoot” – William H. Thompson, former Mayor of Chicago


I’m sure by now, many of you are sick and tired of hearing this line, spouted in the heat of the 1927 election cycle as Thompson ran an anti-British theme throughout his campaign for re-election that year.

Do 'we' really wanna 'read all about it?'
Because the “George” he refers to was then-King George V – as in the grandfather of current Queen Elizabeth II (who having been Queen since 1952 has the kind of lengthy term that American politicos can only fantasize about) and great-great-grandfather to Prince Henry (more commonly called Harry), who on Saturday will have the world’s eyes on him as he marries one-time Northwestern University student Meghan Markle.

THAT LINE FROM Thompson is being used by many people who try to come up with some sort of connection between the English royals and those of us native to the “Second City.”

It also gets used by those of us intending to show our disdain for anything happening in London on Saturday. Some of us feel the need to spew trash talk about how we fought a war against those people to break our ties to the English king.

George III, to be exact.
George V, with his 'snoot' intact

While others will want to get caught up in the pageantry of the spectacle and will think it sad that some people will be “haters” – although whenever I hear the word used like that, I’m reminded of the various delusional, and youthful, women who dated Hugh Hefner during his final years of life.

PERSONALLY, I CAN’T say I feel either way.

“Hate” would definitely be the wrong sentiment, because in order to hate something, you have to care about it. You have to have a legitimate sense of feeling that, in some ways, could border on “love.”

Yet I also have the same feelings of apathy whenever anything involving the English royal family comes up. It just all seems so trivial.
All bluster from 'Big Bill'

At least if we were talking about an American power-play wedding, such as a White House-staged event involving President Donald J. Trump’s younger daughter, Tiffany – we could complain about the gross misuse of tax dollars during the Trump years in D.C.

IF ANYTHING, IT bothers me to bring this up because we then have to recall the 1915-23 and again from 1927-31 mayoral reign of Thompson – the man whose tolerance of Al Capone is the reason why a hood was able to achieve such prominence in Chicago.

Remember that scene from Kevin Costner’s 1987 take on “The Untouchables” when Costner’s Eliot Ness is stopped from arresting Frank Nitti for bringing a pistol into a courthouse – because Nitti produced a note granting him permission to legally have the weapon?

A note signed by none other than “William Hale Thompson” himself. That scene wasn’t exactly fictional – although the follow-up scene where Ness throws Nitti off the roof of City Hall to his death inside an automobile (“He’s in the car” was Ness’ response when asked about Nitti’s whereabouts) was pure fantasy.

Do we really want to be recalling the sentiments of a man who makes the political people of our era seem so meek and mild? One who would make Rod Blagojevich seem like a choirboy by comparison and would probably upset the conservative ideologues because Thompson was a Republican – the last GOPer to date to hold the Chicago mayoral post.

NO WONDER WHY our local voters don’t think much of the one-time Party of Lincoln.
The queen w/ Chicago 'royalty'

But the other “local moments” in our history include the July 6, 1959 visit of Elizabeth, herself, to Chicago – spending 14 hours in our city and even having a meeting with Richard J. Daley himself.

Or that three-day visit Princess Diana made to Chicago in the summer of 1996 – with its profound moment being the formal ball at the Field Museum where some local “gent” managed to cut in and got himself a dance with Diana herself.

Although that, at least, left a memento, as the Drake Hotel suite where she stood is now known as the “Princess Diana Suite” (which puts at $187 per night – if available).


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