Mayor Rahm Emanuel's plan to plop a "Star Wars" museum on the lakefront whether Chicago likes it or not is a dumb idea.
But judging by the breathless media coverage, you'd think this is some great mayoral triumph. It isn't.
Mayor Rahmfather has been dealing with bad news for so long, from homicides to tax increases to the pension mess to rotten schools, that he's desperate.
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1400 Museum Campus Drive, Chicago, IL 60605
And now Emanuel, the former presidential chief of staff, is forced to cling to a collection of fictional space creatures for his happy news.
"It would be unparalleled in the country, educationally, and culturally, and then, laterally, economically," Emanuel said of the museum being founded by "Star Wars" creator George Lucas. "And it would be a vibrant green museum campus unseen except for the Smithsonian in D.C."
It's officially being called the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, but to me it remains the Star Wars Museum. And now a terrifying image has invaded my mind:
Rahm in a furry Ewok costume, waving a wooden spear, leading other Ewoks in a desperate battle for survival.
Rahm, King of the Ewoks.
No one should have a problem with Lucas or his wife, Mellody Hobson, wanting a museum. They can spend their money as they see fit. And I have no problem with Rahm bending over backward to make them happy.
But not on the lakefront, which is supposed to be "forever open, clear and free."
Yes, there are other museums on the lakefront, but those museums are about real things.
But the Lucas museum is about popular fiction. It will include Darth Vader and Jabba the Hutt, and probably should have a clay mask of Harrison Ford's once-boyish smirk. What's odd is that the Lucas collection also includes paintings by Norman Rockwell.
Jabba the Hutt and Norman Rockwell?
Is this a serious museum, or a museum-of-what-one-guy-thinks-is-cool?
The combinations are jarring. Jar Jar Binks and the Sith Lords don't seem to go with Rockwell's sentimental Americana.
Think of Hieronymus Bosch meeting M.C. Escher on the walls of a smoky dorm room belonging to a stoned college student many decades ago. Bosch and his visions of hell, with his tiny little people falling out of eggs, their feet devoured by demons, and Escher's drawings of staircases that never end.
If the city insists on jamming such disparate stuff together, Rahm and Lucas might as well give us all tickets to that Wisconsin tourist trap, The House on the Rock.
I'm told that the look of relief on human faces when they finally run out of that place is quite blissful.
I haven't seen the list of the Rockwells, but I hope Lucas has one of my favorites: It's the Rockwell of the sad jester shaking a little wooden rattle on a stick. That rattle is the spitting image of the sad jester's own head.