I haven't heard much from Transform Rockford lately. They started out like a house-a-fire. Having big idea meetings at the Coronado. Really being positive and encouraging the rest of us to hop into the positivity conga line.
Not too many people were even curious where the money was coming from, or where it was eventually going to go. After all, they applied for 501c3 status, and who has the black heart to dare question a charity group trying to come up with good ideas to help spur a cultural and economic recovery in a city Forbes Magazine and others have repeatedly maligned as one of the dumbest, fattest, violent, most miserable cities in America?
See how I snuck the word "cultural" into the statement about recovery? I did that as a private joke, because no one was really discussing cultural recovery.
There hasn't been much noise from Transform Rockford lately. I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and believe they are in a room somewhere scrupulously digesting all those good ideas they got from the public, and will return soon with a plan of action that is sculpted from the voices of many Rockfordians, and benefits the many instead of the few.
Do I believe that is what is about to happen?
My mother indeed raised some spectacular dipshits, and I'm one of them, but I ain't that dumb.
Am I cynical enough to believe someone got paid a lot of money from a Federal grant to form this committee, went through the formality of holding a bunch of ostentatious public meetings, then will eventually produce some half-baked report with a bunch of super-duper positive recommendations that might help a few Chamber of Commerce types, but ultimately leave 99% of Rockfordians out of the money, again?
Yes. That's kind of what I believe.
Now, if Rockford really wanted advice on how to take a product nobody wants, everybody in fact has a disgust for, and selling to rational people is virtually impossible, they'd go ahead and ask me. I've been doing it at Zombie Logic Press for 17 years now. Lights are still on. Here's how I do it, and where I think Transform Rockford will step into the dung once again...
I make things. I also provide services for clients. Most of the people on planet Earth couldn't be any less interested in what I make, and that's fine. But at least I make a tangible product.
And I keep the lights on. Sometimes I don't know why. Selling high-end books with complex ideas and high production values isn't exactly a booming business in America's 3rd least educated city. I sometimes wonder what would happen if the band of courageous musicians, artists, designers, and writers I know just left. I'm sure no one would notice at first, but then eventually people would start looking around and noticing an ugly, stupid, violent city was slowly becoming even more ugly, stupid, and violent. All the free art that has been donated by creators Downtown would dry up, and the Chamber of Commerce types might actually have to pay someone to do it. The people with actual degrees from out of town would be impossible to lure into such a dismal warzone. And nothing would ever get better. I wonder if supporting the Arts community that has been so noble in the face of impossible odds will be part of the Transform Rockford plan to transform Rockford into a place with some sort of basic human cultural literacy. Because I'll tell you one thing without holding a meeting: nobody with half a brain, or half a degree will come here if Rockford continues to be nothing more than a punchline on late night shows.
I kind of lost track of what I wanted to say. Oh, buy some local art.
Travis Legge makes movies. He also is the developer of a role playing game called Contagion. Imagine that, we have filmmakers right here in Rockford.
Jenny Mathews makes art. One of my favorite things she makes are Mermaids
My favorite thing to make is poetry books. Lately I've been wanting to do more books by Rockford area writers.
It's important to make stuff and do things when you want to make change. That's what almost everyone I know does.
Here's a better piece about the money and apparent hypocrisy involved from RKFD News