no thank u, next
The Politics of the Possible
Dirty Water Politics
Last month, Chicago magazine published its annual Best of Chicago issue, purporting to list the city’s top destinations in categories ranging from “culture and fun” to “shopping and style.” Of the fifty-seven places chosen, only four—and none of the restaurants—were located on the South Side. Of course, this is not unusual: we’re used to seeing the South Side left out of the “best” lists produced by mainstream publications, from the infamous 2015 Chicagoist list of the city’s best tacos with no restaurants in Pilsen or Little Village, to an Eater list of the twenty best seafood restaurants, published just last week, highlighting establishments mostly clustered on the North Side. Even if we’re jaded, it’s still infuriating to continually see an entire swath of the city so completely dismissed. And this isn’t just about petty crosstown rivalries. Underlying the assumption there’s nowhere worth hanging out on the South Side is a decades-old journalistic approach that sees most of Chicago as nothing more than a poverty mill or battleground, a place ripe for sentimentalism and scolding but never appreciation.
We’ve come to see the Interview Issue as a place for a different kind of story. The necessities of the newscycle whittle down most interviews to their most barebones and essential parts, leaving out hours of storytelling, shared expertise, and personal histories.
Start here, with Tarnynon Onumonu’s ode to Chicago’s Free Range youth, the ones who might not be welcome in the Loop.