Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Getting (Recht) Schaffted

posted by chicago pop

Dr. Rechtschaffen Conjures NIMBY Armies From His Tower

Rechtschafften; early 21st century American English (a) v. to destroy in disproportionate retaliation. (b) To conjure an army to serve the dark NIMBY Lord

To Rechtschafft something means to prevent it from happening using all sorts of arguments that don't necessarily have anything to do with one another, that sometimes contradict each other, and sometimes just get crazy, like when Hans Morsbach opposes a hotel in one neighborhood but makes money off a restaurant near a Marriott in another.

Or, you may oppose a hotel at Doctors Hospital for global ideological reasons that are not clearly related to the present issue: "[A]sset securitization resutl[ed] in the Doctors Hospital bankruptcy in August 2000." (Alma and Ray Kuby, Herald, October 22, 20o8).

a person is akin to whipping out a handgun in order to settle an argument on the basketball court. "Dude, don't Rechtschafft; we can work this out." To Rechtschafft is to consider employing tactical nuclear weapons on the battlefield, in full confidence that both the atmospheric and political fallout can be contained to a single precinct.

You may Rechschafft an object by bringing it to a standstill, by reveling in its inertia, and by feeling the surge of triumph when you preside over the ruination of adjacent structures that can no longer feasibly be developed.

Dr. Rechtscaffen Working Late on Neighborhood Project

As an adjective, Rechtschafftlich refers to a deliberately sought-out resemblance to post-Soviet chic, of the sort that for a few brief years in the 90s lent a sooty charm to Prague and Budapest, and -- at the extreme, East Berlin -- when cityscapes full of old stuff that doesn't work were a tonic for those disenchanted with the chrome-and-glass spectacle of Northside affluence and Wrigleyville. "My, Stony Island is so very Rechtschafftlich these days."

The substantive Rechtschafftlichkeit is the state of all-knowing obstructionism attained by those who frequently read and meditate upon Hans Morsbach's collected letters to the Herald. It is also the name of a microbrew lager beer that we intend to make lots of money selling everywhere EXCEPT the 39th Precinct of Chicago's 5th Ward, and Hans Morebucks' downstate beer hall across from a Marriott Convention Center.

Lastly, to Rechtschafft is to attempt to pull the wool over someone's eyes by appealing to their amour propre, self-interest, or simple nativist desire to Screw the Man. If someone tries to tell you that they are open to persuasion though various proposals and studies, but already has their mind made up, it is common to reply, "Man, you tried to Rechtschafft me!"

Look Into My Eyes, and Vote Dry!

Example: You already know that there's no possible market for a hotel at Doctors Hospital. "Many have questioned why we need a 380 room hotel. Surely it is more than we need for university and community purposes. The answer again was that this size favored profitability." (Allan Rechtschaffen, Herald, August 2007).

Or: You request parking studies, but claim to already know how a hotel will affect neighborhood parking: ""Parking will be a disaster"; "All available street parking will be taken before drivers pay for hotel parking or use distal sites." (Allan Rechtschaffen, Herald, September 10, 2008)

Hyde Parkers, don't get Rechtschaffted!


Peter Rossi said...

great post.

Elizabeth Fama said...

This post reminds me of this, except less global and more local.

Anonymous said...

In other news, the Letters to the Editor in the Herald this week (as well as the article about the petition challenge) are high-larious. Voter Intimidation, MAC Properties attempting to create an ultra-elitist neighborhood for the wealthy by rezoning their building for liquor sales, etc. etc. Lots of fodder for HPP! :-)

Richard Gill said...

Recht sounds like Wrecked.

Tom said...

Great post. Although I think it would go over the head of most of the fun people who wrote into the Herald this week.

Of course all of the LOTR pictures got me thinking about Halloween. Now the question is will anyone dress up as hotel developers, union organizers, or "rowdy" conference goers and go trick or treating on Harper Ave next week. Maybe make a stop at Vista Homes and say hello to Dr. Rechtschaffen. I am (mostly) kidding. :)

chicago pop said...

Tom: Those are some great Halloween costume ideas! I'm putting my son's Dracula costume away and replacing it with a Rowdy Bar Mitzvah Guest outfit.

Yes, posts like this are totally inside jokes -- sometimes I'm too lazy to take the time to actually analyze the letters, though I'm thinking I need to take a stab at it, just for the record.

Elizabeth Fama said...

Today I dutifully wrote to Leslie Hairston to encourage her to take a public stand against the "dry" referendum, as Peter Rossi suggested in his previous post, and I got an "out of office" reply. It says she's gone from October 21 to...November 7!

edj said...

Here's my analysis of the Letters to the Editor:

Richard Gill's and the people who oppose the refeendum: Not nuts

Everyone else's: Nuts

Trying to deal with the anti-development forces in Hyde Park is like dealing with a two year old. They want constant attention, have want everything their way, and think that others do not matter.

I've potty trained two kids already. I don't want to have to deal with the entire 39th precinct.

chicago pop said...

But edj, don't you see, according to Alma and Ray Kuby, we need to shaft the U of C because they failed to prevent the previous owners of Doctors Hospital from going bankrupt? ("Drs Hospital Stain of Corruption Ignored" 10/22/08)

That's right: we need to oppose a hotel at Doctors Hospital because the U of C wants it, and we don't like the U of C because someone else's business went belly up after a court ordered transaction awarded it to them -- and not to the University for a psych ward in 1992.

Make sense to you?

chicago pop said...

Proposition: (courtesy of Sharon Carney, "MAC Shows Arrogance with Zoning Proposal, 10/22/08)

"they [MAC] want to bring back liquor sales to the neighborhood east of Lake Park.


"What is this but an attempt to develop an elitist neighborhood for the wealthy?"



Elizabeth Fama said...

I actually appreciate that elucidation of the Kubys' letter, C-Pop. I couldn't understand what they were saying.

Anonymous said...

Pop, Sharon Carney's letter had me scratching my head too.

It's like listening to Terry Jones' character in Monty Python and the Holy Grail explain how you determine if someone is a witch.

Richard Gill said...

Regarding C-Pop's request for commentary:

C-Pop, what's to explain? Some people say the liquor licenses are an attempt to create an elitist neighborhood for the wealthy. Others say liquor will attract lowlifes. If you look at the possible combinations, the neighborhood will be full of either lowlifes, wealthy elitists, wealthy elitist lowlifes, or lowlife wealthy elitists, or some combination of the above. It's simply a matter of each person deciding which kind they want to be. Who says everything in Hyde Park has to be complicated?

David Farley said...

I'm not a fan. Every time I read one of these ad hominem attacks, the credibility of this blog gets reset to zero. You lose more people who might actually be in agreement with you, or would at least consider your ideas, with this kind of stuff. More than once I've mentioned this blog to Hyde Park people (who are not "NIMBYs") and been brushed off with "those nasty creeps?" or worse. It would be no surprise if the waverers in the 39th Precinct ended up voting for dry more as a retort to the name-calling here than anything else.

C. Pop, are you hoping Allan Rechtschaffen will read your essay? He's in the phone book. Why don't you just call him up and call him names? Greg, perhaps Dr. Rechtschaffen would appreciate your thoughts if you took the time to call him a rectum personally. No?

I don't know Dr. Rechtschaffen, but one thing I've noticed about some of the other people constantly slagged off on this blog: even if I don't agree with them, they have good manners, and that may be all they need to keep winning the arguments.

edj said...

This blog used name calling during the Co-op vote and the Co-op was voted out of existence anyway. If people are going to vote in favor of the referendum just to spite this blog, I would say that they are missing the point and would not vote against the referendum anyway.

Personally, I think that what occurs on this blog often would be characterized as satire.

The approach taken by the people who started the referendum offends me. They are silly, silly people and deserved to be mocked, and mocked mercilessly.

edj said...

One more thing about those who support the referendum. They do NOT have good manners. They will do anything to stop development regardless of the impact on the entire neighborhood. They do not engage in dialogue. They make demands and work to push a viewpoint not supported by a majority of the neighborhood.

Smiling while you undermine development and job creation is not what I call good manners.

chicago pop said...

Mr. Farley:

I removed the first comment to this post, which was indeed over the line and shouldn't have gone up. Thanks for the nudge.

Zap! Gone.

As for the rest, I'll cc it to Tina Fey the next time I complain to her about her spoof of Sarah Palin.

We know the University is where fun comes to die; certain precincts seem to be vying to serve as auxiliary graveyards. An alcohol ban in Hyde Park might actually suit this odd strand of Puritanism.

There's a lot of hogwash out there about how Hyde Park is a "small town" and all that, and part of it is this illusory sense that what makes it that way is all the alleged manner-liness that Mr. Farley refers to, a sort of pre-YouTube utopia of bourgeois smallholders somewhere in the wheat fields of the 19th century Midwest where everybody tips their hat to each other on Main Street.

Of course that's nonsense in a neighborhood of between 40,000-60,000 people in a major metropolitan area, but I also dispute the notion that this satire on Dr. Rechtschaffen is in any way a personal attack. Playing on his name the way a political cartoonist might play with the ears of Barack Obama or the eye-rolls of John McCain, its material is entirely based on public positions taken by a very vocal and conspicuous person in a local controversy. That's the stuff of political discourse in an open society and always has been, except in certain more puritanical communities.

I think it is much worse manners, in reality, to block any commercial development by voting a precinct dry, damaging the interests of two wards to satisfy the intangible and often absurd plaints of a few; or by sabotaging any reasonable compromise renovation of the Point for a decade or more, while claiming that this is a victory for the community; to propagate endless conspiracy theories involving the University's nefarious doings; and generally to retard the evolution of Hyde Park into something other than what it was 50 years ago.

So while some of the people "slagged off" on this blog like to hold hands, they've also had a hand in slagging the neighborhood. It's a contradiction worth pondering.

In the meantime, we'll do what blogs do, and within quite reasonable and rigorous bounds: make fun where egos get too big and assertions go unfounded.

To me that's a lot less creepy than a few more decades of stagnation.

chicago pop said...

Speaking of manners, I forgot to mention that it was very well-mannered of Hans Morsbach, who is also slagged off in this post, to make money off a Marriott in someone else's backyard but oppose a Marriott in his own.

Very polite.

edj said...

Is that Marriott in Bloomington a union shop?

David Farley said...

C. Pop - thanks for your thoughtful response. I would not suggest that you stop writing what you feel you ought to, only that there is a disconnect between what you want to achieve here, and how that message is received by many of the people you want to reach. Those would be all the wrong-thinkers who continue to believe the "hogwash."

Elizabeth Fama said...

I want to weigh in on the politeness issue, too. The most impolite display I ever saw in Hyde Park was at the community meeting in which the City and Park District officials were supposed to make a presentation of the Compromise Plan for the Point. The SAVE THE POINT crowd shouted down the presentation, and insulted the City's representatives at the open mic. My mother-in-law (the most polite person I know) was sitting next to me, and she said it was the last community meeting she would attend, because it was so embarrassing to be a Hyde Parker in that room.

For years these activists have hijacked our public discussions, and groomed the Herald to spout a party line. This blog has helped to reveal the diversity of opinions out there, and it has done it with a modern medium -- a medium that by its nature won't reach many of the "wrong-thinkers" you mention, simply because they don't read blogs.

People who do read blogs mostly understand that they are by nature edgy, and, honestly, this blog would be a dreadful bore if it wasn't satirical. You say we've lost customers because of it, but I'd argue HPP has the readership it has (decent numbers) because of the bite. Sometimes it goes over the top, but the car wrecks are part of what people tune in to see.

So when your acquaintances call us nasty creeps, tell them the polite term is "political provocateurs."

chicago pop said...

Greg writes:

I didn't intend to call Dr. Rechstaffen a rectum. It was a comment on the result of a dry referendum in the 39th precinct, along the lines of "we'll all get the shaft". I apologize for the misunderstanding and miscommunication.

edj said...

I have been thinking about the comments that this blog is potentially turning people away from voting for against the dry referendum.

I have never lived in a neighborhood where a small group of people try to hijack the entire neighborhood so that it reflects their own narrow ideology about what the neighborhood should be like. They use stalling and obstructionist tactics to prevent those of us who have moved in more recently from being a part of the neighborhood growth. They try to deny others what they themselves had when they were

They speak of compromise, but want compromise only from people who are pro development. They speak of openness, but secretly use tactics that attempts to silence those who take an opposing position. They speak of respect and trust, but work diligently to undermine that respect and trust. They speak of community spirit, but do all they can to extinguish that spirit.

And HPP is the one viewed as rude and negative?

chicago pop said...

Edj: it's nice of you to take this indignation seriously. But if you're like me, after a few rounds you'll realize it's pretty routine. You don't have to like everything you read here. And I don't want you to.

I do, however, want to remind folks of a few basic things: of the two categories of passionate response this blog generates:

#1 "Church Lady Response": You are so mean!


#2) "New Model Demographic Response": Oh Yes! I am not alone!

#2 is by far more commonly expressed -- on the blog, in emails, and off-line to all the bloggers.

The other thing to keep in mind is that, even this weren't the case, it wouldn't matter, because one of the defining features of self-righteousness is a lack of humor, and an incomprehension of satire. Both qualities flourish in a monastic community such as Hyde Park. Our neighborhood Church Ladies want to bury fun in an unmarked grave.

We want to resurrect the dead.

David Farley said...

C. Pop - it just might be possible for fun to exist in Hyde Park without holding some final confrontation on the Midway between The Church Ladies and your New Model Demographic Army.

I see you couldn't let the matter rest without labeling a new class of imaginary enemies and launching another goober of invective. You represent, of course, an oppressed majority, enslaved on the South Side by Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy, I mean, the dreaded NIMBY-Church Lady-Establishment Axis.

chicago pop said...

You represent, of course, an oppressed majority, enslaved on the South Side by Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy

Yes, I know. Who else would have come up with a dry vote referendum?

laurac said...

In reading the other comments to this post, I see that they are primarily from the same three people. I am not a blogger and a I am also Hyde Park outsider. I was born and raised there but have not lived in HP for 20 years. I know in my own community in Seattle, one where I am very involved, I would be shocked to see such immature nastiness in a community blog. What is Hyde Park if not community of intellectuals who have DIFFERENT opinions?

I have no words for the post. How sixth grade can one be? Aside the fact that "the Recht" is my step-father, I find the sarcasm annoying and stupid.

edj said...

I stand behind my loogie.

David Farley said...

chicago pop said...
Yes, I know. Who else would have come up with a dry vote referendum?

You've been cleverly outmaneuvered by people who actually did something. What an outrage. It's like they hold all the cards if they do stuff. And if it's entirely for selfish reasons - hooray. I don't see any great ideological battle going on here.

Anonymous said...

You've been cleverly outmaneuvered by people who actually did something.

Cleverly outmaneuvered? I guess if we were playing Risk that would be true. Instead what they're doing is blocking commercial development because they're not being allowed to dictate every step of the process. It's the adult equivalent of a temper tantrum aka "I'm taking my ball and going home, oh and by the way, I licked all the cookies too."

And I was at the Point Compromise Plan meeting at South Shore Cultural Center a few years ago, too. It was the most rude, childish, ridiculous display I've ever encountered in a community meeting. Greg Lane basically tried to control the meeting by leading crowds of sheep in shouting and chanting every time someone from the Park District tried to present information. Lane tried to hijack the meeting and force his way up to the podium to push the Spicer/Lane agenda. They had CHILDREN there holding signs to promote this agenda. Who does that??

So really, if y'all want to complain about "being nice", maybe you should first try to recognize that this blog is very much a reaction to the behaviors most of us have been witnessing for many years now.

chicago pop said...

You've been cleverly outmaneuvered by people who actually did something.

The funny part here is that the maneuvering to do something will result -- in this instance, as in so many other cases -- in nothing being done. Once again.

That's the clever part.

edj said...

They took this manuever because they saw that the rest of the community was coming around to the hotel concept, saw White Lodging was taking steps to work with the community, and decided they had to take steps that would blow up the process. When you get down to discussing the proposal on merits, they were losing. So they take this approach and get the rest of the neighborhood mad.

I've lived in Hyde Park for eight years and never knew anyone that wanted the Co-op to stay open and who is really against the hotel. All of my neighbors and friends are very angry about this referendum. If these guys want to get support on issues in the future, they've lost support from the larger community. They may win the battle on the referendum, but they have lost all credibility because everyone knows the referendum is a real sign of their weakness.

David Farley said...

Greg - why didn't you guys show up at the next community meeting with your own crowd of kids waving "fix the point" signs, led marching in by C. Pop in his Darth Vader helmet? It would have been great theater, and sometimes local politics is theater. Plus, it would have been fun.

LPB said...

I love reading this blog, which offers a fresh view of the moribund elements of Hyde Park that I too find so infuriating.

I think laurac has COMPLETELY missed the point of this blog -- it *is* an outlet for those in the HP community to voice different opinions. We already hear various opinions at meetings as well as through the HP Herald. Why not on this blog too?

There is a huge difference between the satirical approach of this blog to highlight actions or opinions expressed in the public domain by certain individuals, and personal attacks. First, I personally find the satire entertaining, in much the same way I find Jon Stewart very entertaining. Second, the satire itself is aimed at PUBLIC actions or opinions by individuals. This post pokes fun at what Rechtschaffen has gone on record with in the HP Herald, and his actions regarding the dry petition.

Finally, there is clearly much craziness and absurdity in the neighborhood that is ripe for satirical commentary. Thank goodness HPP has a sense of humor about it.

Elizabeth Fama said...

Hi Laura,

I wouldn't describe HPP as a community blog. It's not a place to trade recipes and list yoga classes. It has a specific agenda, as listed in the mission statement under the headline at the top of the page.

I honestly don't think Chicago Pop meant anything personal toward your step-dad by this post. He's riffing on the politics of the dry vote and Allan's name, and poking fun at things Allan himself has said in print. Half of the examples in the post play on the dry-debate contributions of Hans Morsbach and the Kubys.

Hyde Park takes itself so unbearably seriously, a little 6th grade humor now and then is at least something different.

I've found growing up in Hyde Park and living here as an adult are different experiences. It may be that your Seattle community isn't as intransigent as ours, and that everyone has traditionally had a voice. You probably also have the amenities (coffee shops, restaurants, bars, movie theaters, stores, etc.) that we don't have. Lots of people who grew up here love coming back to the "quiet, unchanging" home of their childhood, without thinking about what it would lack for them if they lived here now.

This blog represents the first time that people who want change and growth in Hyde Park have had a voice.