CM Punk, Bruce Mau, and Other Good Chicago Things

A straight-edge Chicago wrestler grapples with kayfabe; Bruce Mau tackles the empire; Roger Ebert reviews “The Interrupters”; grain elevators and constitutional law; and more

Occasionally interesting things pile up. Here’s to clearing the out box:

* My friend at Hangover Sunday on straight-edge Chicago wrestler CM Punk, who’s saving professional wrestling, perhaps from itself:

In brief, at the end of June a wrestler named CM Punk brought two things to an episode of RAW that many found surprising: rhetorical sophistication and the impression that he might actually be sincere in biting the hand that feeds him with comments about WWE’s practices, management, and fans. In other words, for a few minutes a WWE broadcast teetered between the experience of reality TV and the experience of reality.

As it was put in a Metafilter thread:

This is the kind of stuff that made me love pro-wrestling. Although the breaking (and pretending to break) kayfabe has been a tried-and-true promotional technique for decades, and been overused since 1997, when the stars are aligned, it is the most exciting stuff in the world. The fascinating netherworld between reality and fantasy, script and chaos that pro-wrestling inhabits like no other form of life/art/entertainment is a wonderful place.

I never got into pro wrestling as a kid, because I lack imagination, but kayfabe is legitimately fascinating, in part because the origins of the term are shrouded in history.

* Chicago-by-way-of-Toronto designer Bruce Mau talks with the Art Institute’s Zoe Ryan in Design Bureau about design and America:

The thing that is interesting about it is that when you use the word “design,” most people think “fancy, expensive, singular objects.” They think cultural, not popular. They think it’s expensive. They think it’s singular—an authored thing. What we realized is that, for our work, those are old definitions and categories.

* Also from Design Bureau (how did I not know about this magazine?), a look at two Chicagoans: Jen Farrell of Starshaped Press and Scott Wilson of MINIMAL.

* A former Mayer Brown director mourns changes in corporate law:

The firms have become much more businesslike. Compensation has increased dramatically. Starting salaries are now $160,000, not because of overall price inflation or because the newly graduated are more able than we were, but because the firms are enslaved in a market trap of their own making.

In return for very high compensation, the younger lawyers are expected to work very long hours, not just when clients have emergencies, but to generate revenue - a Faustian bargain that leaves time for little else. Family and personal lives often suffer, as does the opportunity to contribute to the community and the profession. The pyramid to be climbed has increasingly steep sides, and most associates understand they will not become partners.

* CHIRP Radio presents My First Time at the Beat Kitchen tonight.

* Roger Ebert on The Interrupters, co-produced by forthcoming Chicagomag.com writer-in-residence Alex Kotlowitz: “In an American inner city, where religious differences are irrelevant, and everyone is of the same ethnicity, gangs take the place of race or belief. They provide an identity, no matter how paltry.”

* The Internet brings the most interesting people together, like Tyler the Creator and Steve “Albino.”

* “How a Chicago grain warehouse made constitutional law.”

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