Mayor Lightfoot To End Feud With The Bean
By: Nick Manfredi
CHICAGO, IL—Mayor Lori Lightfoot is expected to roll back her feud with Millennium Park’s Cloud Gate sculpture, better known to locals as The Bean. The Mayor’s office scheduled a conference on early Monday along with the statement, “It’s time for every corner of Chicago to stand together, even for garbage that somehow passes as art.”
The feud began last fall during a Chicago Teachers Union strike where The Bean was present. Lightfoot spoke of the incident at a rally that evening, saying “We simply cannot waste precious public funding on grandiose ideas like ensuring every school has a nurse every day, and keeping class sizes under seventy-five.” The crowd applauded Lightfoot’s remarks, which she followed with, “and you know what? Fuck The Bean, too!”
Her comments sparked a wave of anti-Bean sentiment which included protests and vandalism. Results from a study conducted by the Mt. Rushmore Society for the Protection of Tourist Traps show that violence against The Bean peaked shortly after Lightfoot promoted a #FlickTheBean photo challenge that promoted violence against The Cloud Gate sculpture. The results of the study were originally suppressed by the Chicago Sun-Tribune, who endorsed Lightfoot early on. Calls for the results to be publicized increased after the ‘Magic Bean For Sale’ scandal in which a Lightfoot staffer listed the Bean for sale on Craigslist.
Many Chicagoans have had a troubled relationship with The Bean since its completion in 2006. In a 2007 interview with Word Brothel, an anonymous resident said, “Cloud Gate’s fun-house mirror reflection of the skyline makes it feel like we live in a carnival. It’s unprofessional, plus the whole thing is as hideous as the distorted reflections it shows.”
At the Bean’s fifth birthday celebration, a member of the city clerk’s office filed a complaint after his three-year-old niece began to cry upon seeing the sculpture. “It’s not suitable for children, and there should be more signage encouraging parents to use caution. Plus, I mean, we all know what a bean makes us think of right? Well thinking of that makes me feel intense discomfort. Wake up Chicago, don’t let some hippie artist pull the wool over your eyes. Not to be mean, but the bean should not be seen by anyone under thirteen.”
A small number of Cloud Gate fans have attempted to revitalize support for the bean. They’ve organized several candle light vigils using the Facebook page Bean Babies, but the group has had trouble getting locals to turn out. An admin for the page expressed their frustration at the lack of support, “It’s hard to believe, but it feels like maybe only tourists care about the bean. How could that be? It’s so sexy.”