Saturday, April 28, 2007

Giving the North Shore a Bad Name

Blasts from the past are fun, especially when they remind you why you don't really miss the past all that much. I just came across the Facebook groups for my old high school and for the area in which it resided, the North Shore. First, I just have to thank my lucky stars that Facebook was not around in high school. Not only would it have eaten up more of my time, but it would have probably disenchanted me greatly. Case in point: the group dedicated to the North Shore. The description of the group embodies everything that people critcize about the area. It exhibits a vaguely ironic self-awareness--vaguely. The student(s) who wrote the description are clearly aware of the uglier perceptions about the North Shore but only seek to perpetuate them, which is unfortunate, especially as they come off sounding disgustingly entitled.

The first part of the description is fine, if not a little too boastful. Having movies filmed in the area is cool, but it's hard to get that excited about Risky Business being one of the most noted. The only North Shore-located movie I can be proud of among the otherwise forgettable string of John Hughes flicks set there is Robert Redford's Ordinary People. I digress. Most objectionable in the North Shore Facebook group is the way the area's perceived affluence and exclusivity is trumpeted: "As one of the most affluent areas in the nation, we have just about everything you could ever want -- and probably more." Even worse, the location is listed as "(The Good Parts of) Evanston to Lake Forest, IL." Personally, I'd rather be associated with some of the "bad" parts of Evanston than some of the toniest parts of Lake Forest.

(It's also somewhat mendacious for these girls to say that the North Shore is 20 minutes away from Chicago. The southernmost point in Wilmette is 20 minutes from the northernmost point of Chicago if you're driving late at night or early in the morning. Winnetka, Glencoe, Highland Park, and Lake Forest are all at least 45-minutes away).

The ironic thing is that these folks champion their New Trier educations but appear to have absored nothing from them. People who effectively take credit for living in an appealing locale or attending an outstanding school are incredibly dense, unless they built the Greenbay bike trail or teach at New Trier, or maintain the beaches on Lake Michigan, or something. Usually, people who harbor these inflated views of their lot tend to have difficulty transitioning into jobs and sometimes even college, because they are so used to the entitlement of their first 18-years. Too bad this government increasingly rewards unearned wealth.


Joe Zekas said...

I've lived in Wilmette and Kenilworth for most of the last 20 years, and driven and taken the train to work on the near north side of Chicago.

Off-peak hours it is only a 20-minute drive / ride.

Anonymous said...

I'm a 40-something who grew up in Wilmette and now live elsewhere on the North Shore. Just wanted to say, great post Elaine. I've bookmarked your blog.