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Old Posted Apr 1, 2016, 8:36 PM
Via Chicago Via Chicago is offline
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Chicago, IL
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Originally Posted by LouisVanDerWright View Post
Is it a tourist trap clusterfuck if it provides an actual quality experience (summarizing a large geographic area that is difficult to thoroughly explore in less than a week) in a well designed, efficient, modern space? What is wrong with pop culture exactly? You remind me of my uncle from the East Coast who doesn't think Musicals are real culture. At some point you have to take American commercialism for what it is: American culture. If anything a cleaned up, modern, hipsterised Navy Pier would be an outrageous postmodern mockery of a true American tourist trap. An "ironic" version of the old Navy Pier like a hipster wearing a trucker cap. At some point you need to be pragmatic and realize this is popular, you might not find it "tasteful", but Americans love to travel and when they do they love to go to ridiculous caricatured outlets for "a taste of the local culture". We may as well make sure that the taste they are getting is actually representative of what we are. If we are funneling millions of people through Navy Pier every year and indoctrinating them as to what Chicago is, then we may as well switch the propaganda to something more pleasant.

But I digress, the point is not everyone is so repulsed by the idea of a touristy area that they wouldn't be caught dead there. I think most people avoid Navy Pier because there is nothing of value and a lot of annoyances in a relatively uncomfortably designed public space. If you made the space pleasant and provided quality content, then I can totally see locals using it. With the right design and content it just becomes at worst another nice place on the lakefront to locals.
Well, I could go into a longwinded Adorno-esque critique about precisely whats wrong with pop culture, but its Friday and probably not going to change anyones opinions anyway. His essays are readily available if you wish to read them. Or hell, read the Cliff notes.

And if Americans actually love to travel as much as you say, perhaps they can start by actually getting passports (which btw, is only 36% of the population) and experiencing cultures which truly differ from their own.

That said, sure, turn the Iowa tourists upside down and collect all the pocket change we can. Thats always been the point of the Pier and will continue to be. If slightly better landscaping increases the effectiveness, so be it.
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