Dukes. So pitifully and pathetically farnin the direction of the open-raincoatnroutines. The sadness, for me, is thatnthis meretricious assault on personalnprivacy—especially when it assumesnsexual or anti-sexual forms—attacksnsomething sacred and profanes whilenexploiting.nWe are firehosed by mass media withnspiritless flesh (even the pimps, whores,naddicts and sadists of network TV’s seriesnlook like heartless, featureless mannequins)nand cozzened into pursuits ofnpleasure that leach mystery and sanctitynfrom sexual relations. A national singlesbarnmentality gnaws at our vitals. “IsnThere Life After Disco?” asked a recentnRolling Stone cover blurb. Flippant, cute;nbut consider the progression’s implication:nIs There Life After Death.’ Is TherenSex After Death? Is There Life AfternDisco? From immortality to “SaturdaynNight Fever” in two flashy Salsa whirls.nAnd the other sad aspect is that the ideanof sin, or temptation (defined by impliednresistance) is disappearing in the do-it-nStagenGlitters of Neo-InanitynChicago; book by Fred Ebb and BobnFosse; directed and choreographed bynBob Fosse.nTh e Broadway musical comedy wasnonce full of inanity and charm. Today, itnis full of inanity and meanness. Neithernformula can claim artistic superiority.nHowever, it’s well-known that the formernonce procured money, fame and worldwidenadmiration. Nonsensical fairy talesnabout success, love, dancing and singingnbecame Broadway folklore and annAmerican native art. Its newer breednhas replaced its simplistic naivete withnpseudo-smart jokes about hip depravitynand the facetiousness of violence.nChicago, a mid-seventies Broadway hitnauthored and directed by Bob Fosse, annold New York-Hollywood hand, is nown18 inChronicles or Culturento-me delirium. Resisting temptation—nrecognizing temptation—learning control,nsavoring guiltless release (admittedlyna function of love, procreation, tandemnstriving) seems to be going out the window.nThink of mere fidelity: how cannone handle that challenge without somenpractice? How can one learn the dynamicsnof moral decision in an atmospherenof do-it-to-me?nWhen societies reach the “anythingngoes” stage, they are in decline. Whennanything goes, nothing matters. The opennconspiracy of mass media has the simplengoal of separating consumers from theirnmoney. Its attack on control—not repression—isnan assault on an individual’snability to reject rank, undiscerning consumerism,nan attack on our ability tonmake rational choices. The subliminal,nsynergistic approach heralds attempts tonbreak down our powers of discrimination—and,nmore importantly, self-perceptionnand self-determination. In the adman’snideal equation: You peek, thereforenyou are.non America’s roads. It’s sleazy and entertaining,nit provides images of scintillatingncheapness of taste and paucity of thought,ntogether with excellent choreography andnfirst-rate vaudeviUian actorship. It failsnmiserably on two counts. Unlike its morenpristine siblings from the past, it is unablento project itself as a true-to-the-corencouleur local period piece. It is unable toncapture the climate of an era and a place,nsuch as New York in Guys and Dolls,nforty-Second Street, West Side Story,nLondon in My fair Lady, or Paris in GiginNothing in Chicago gives it that qualitynwhich indelibly depicts Chicago—like thennovels of Algren and Farrell, the musicnof Chicagoans and Armstrong’s Hot Five,nor Ben Hecht’s Front Page did. Nothingnbut neon signs flashing on stage informnus that we are in Chicago. The meagernnnJrrenchmen say when the boat beginsnto sink: Sauve qui pent! Every man fornhimself. This is far more pessimistic thanna simple caveat emptor. But I’m alwaysnstunned to recognize that we’ve beennmoving in two simultaneous directionsnas our technology (and media thrives onntechnology) proliferates—outward andninward. Technology extends the senses,nmoves us out. We see “spaceship earth”nfrom the moon—and DNA’s double helixnmagnified seven million times. The farthernout we move into the ontologicalnionosphere, the more we feel a correspondingnneed of our own spiritual FortnApache, our final sanctuary. Somethingnmust jar us from the synergy of popnculture’s cumulative commercial dehumanization.nIt does no good to talk of ansingle book, or movie, or pop recordnalbum or current style of dress. The finalntarget is our last redoubt. The unconscious.nOur most private place.nI’m for defending mine. I’m puttingnon Pachelbel’s Cannon for the 47th time.nDnbook purports to convey the Chicagonambience through a street-ballad-likenmorality tale about the corruptness ofnwomen, official justice, and vulgar, fasttalkingnlawyers. This kind of seaminess,nalthough certainly germane to Chicagonin the ’20s, is far too universal to be anconvincing and endemic metaphor. Thenauthors, however, being minions of thenLiberal Culture, did not waste the opportunitynto promote their profound message:nthe spectacle ends with thenAmerican flag giving credence to theirnpersuasion that America is the hotbed ofnall corruption, debauchery and decay. Thentwo singing heroines supply the ideology—theynfirmly assert that only in ournfree nation can such sinister but glitteringlyndanced events happen. (ES) Dn