Sucking up to ‘Chicago’s music-loving Mayor’

DNAinfo tosses musical soft balls to Rahm Emanuel

July 10, 2013

Setting aside the questionable journalistic judgment of agreeing to an interview with Mayor Rahm Emanuel that excludes rampant gang violence, school closings, union busting, the budget crisis, and two dozen other urgent issues—“It was a conversation the mayor agreed to have as long as music was all we talked about, which was fine by me,” author Mark Konkol writes—DNAinfo’s musical mayoral chat on Tuesday is a pathetic epic of puffery and missed opportunities.

The closest Konkol gets to any musical information Chicagoans might actually care about is noting that “earlier Monday [Emanuel] had just had a discussion about his master plan to turn Uptown into a music venue mecca.” But that’s all we learn. What exactly are those plans? When will they be put into action? And who the heck will pay for them?

Those are questions Emanuel doesn’t answer, as I have noted before. But this time, he wasn’t even asked.

We are, however, told that “Chicago’s music-loving mayor” cites Gold as his favorite Ryan Adams album; that he has never moshed; that he skipped seeing the Rolling Stones at Soldier Field because they could never top their 2002 show at the Aragon (with that I agree); that My Morning Jacket is his “new discovery”; that he plans to see fun. at Taste of Chicago, and that his roster of other recent live shows includes Mumford and Sons, David Gray, Ray LaMontagne, and Buddy Guy.

Konkol, whose “My Chicago” blog is devoted to tales “about real Chicago… beyond Second City clichés,” also gives us a lot of palaver about how much he loves the thoroughly mediocre, California-to-Brooklyn transplants in Delta Spirit. He advocates that the mayor absolutely not miss the group opening for fun., and actually believes Emanuel when the mayor says that he’ll take that advice.

Again, the “real Chicago” has a lot of pressing concerns, and even Konkol grants that the mayor addresses them only in empty sound bites: “Ask Rahm about violence or school closings, the guy’s a broken record, anyway.” But beyond that, it’s not as if there aren’t very real issues about music that any journalist granted time with the mayor on that subject is remiss in not probing.

For the edification of my former Sun-Times colleague and Twitter-sparring frenemy, here are some of the queries he should have posed:

Those questions would have been a good start to really examining the mayor’s relationship with music and the community here devoted to it.

Sadly, Konkol thought it was more important to talk about Ryan Adams.