Sears Tower vs. Willis Tower, Formerly Chicago

July 23, 2009 at 1:26 pm 1 comment

DeeTee From DeeTee:   Dear Readers (if indeed there are any left), forgive me, for I have slipped from the writing slope… it’s been seven months since my last entry… 😉

In all honesty, it’s been a busy seven months, but to say more would mean revealing too much of my true identity, and I rather like staying within my DeeTee persona when I post.  But all the while, my brain has been filling up with bloggy things… and now my brain’s about to explode, so I hope to get at least one post out today, with more to come.

Chicago.  Yes sir, that that’s my city.  I love it like I love my family, which means that I cherish and respect it, and it irritates the heck out of me more times than I care to mention.  I love its lakefronts, its trees, its people; I’m alternately fascinated and horrified by its politics.  I both love, and am freaked out by, its many weirdnesses.

So much already has been written about the re-naming of the Sears Tower to the Willis Tower:  A quick Google shows pages of results in blogs and newspapers throughout the country.

True, Sears Roebuck & Co. moved out of the Sears Tower many years ago; also true, Willis Group Holdings, a London-based insurance brokerage, is renting offices in the building now and bought the naming rights; yes, of course, buildings are re-named all the time.

So what’s the big deal?  Well, maybe it’s not happening in your city yet… but it’s extremely unnerving to have landmark buildings, parks, etc. re-named by corporations:  it’s disorienting.  Comiskey Park?  Now replaced by U.S. Cellular Field.  The Tweeter Center in neighboring Tinley Park — and what was the name before that??? — is now called the First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre … how’s that for a mouthful?  It makes you feel:  where the heck am I, anyways?

I’d like to recommend a new song by Sue Fink (whom I know in real life), called “Formerly Chicago” — Sue calls it her “protest-slash-science-fiction song, because some of the things I’m protesting haven’t happened… yet”  (a quote from her 7/20/09 MySpace blog entry).  The song mentions many Chicago landmarks that have been re-named in “the city formerly known as Chicago,” and also shows what could happen if we don’t limit the re-naming phenomenon, by taking it to the extreme:

…and in the city formerly known as Chicago
in either Nike or Reebok Field
I parted the Starbucks flowers
and in the tall GM grasses I kneeled…

By the end of the song, it could be any city, because everything has a corporate name.  I’d add the .mp3 here for you to listen, but I’m not intelligent enough to figure out how to do that…

However, currently Sue has it posted on her MySpace page:  simply click the link, and directly across from her picture are streaming audio songs; and if it doesn’t start playing automatically, click the title “Formerly Chicago” and you can hear the song in its entirety.  This song is from her new CD, Thoughts at an Intersection, available on iTunes, CD Baby, and all the usual online places.

I just wish there was a way to prevent everything under the sun from being re-named by corporations, or soon there will be no difference between the city formerly known as Chicago, the city formerly known as New York City, San Francisco, etc.  Stop it, corporate America!!

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Entry filed under: Opinion. Tags: , , , , , , .

Reflections on a snowy day ‘Dear fellow Republican’…

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Sears Tower Fan Site  |  July 27, 2009 at 7:25 am

    Sadly, the Willis Group bargained for the naming rights and got an even sweeter deal than they had hoped. Sears Tower’s owners are just as much to blame for this renaming travesty. They don’t respect the heritage of Chicago. Why should they when two thirds of the entity that is 233 South Wacker LLC are based out of New York?

    The Willis agent responsible for negotiating the lease (who incidentally, is from New York), made the rather audacious remark “Sears? Sears?! I’d rather have it be the KMart Tower” — essentially refusing to sign the lease unless naming rights were included.

    Also consider that New York-based Josh Kuriloff of brokerage firm Cushman and Wakefield proclaimed that changing the identify of the Sears Tower has been one his proudest career accomplishments.

    –Randall

    Reply

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