Thank you for reminding me what a piece of crap Lumpen Times is ["The Panic in Wicker Park," August 26]. I have to remember to tell visitors from out of town to pick one up so they can see what a proletarian pose, a slacker attitude, a near-total lack of journalistic skills, and Daddy's money add up to these days. (Especially notable among the missing skills is that little favorite of I.F. Stone's and George Seldes's, research. Hey Lumps, maybe you should have somebody hack you onto Nexis--or alternately, learn the address of the Humboldt Park branch library.)
About that money, though, I have a speculation (and unlike them I do not bill it as a known fact). If I were a developer, say, and I saw Wicker Park taking off like a rocket, say, and if everybody else at the Winnetka Country Club had beat me to it, and if I wanted to slow it down enough that I could get in there, the following scenario might appeal to me very much. Find a couple of neighborhood college-age kids with blazingly self-righteous left-wing views. Deposit them in that oh-so-hot neighborhood, and bankroll them in a publication which will print anything in order to create an atmosphere of antagonism, paranoia, and confusion. They wouldn't really have any money of their own, so they wouldn't really be afraid of libel suits. (To paraphrase A.J. Liebling, total freedom of the press belongs to the man who owns one--and nothing else.) Let them even take both sides in controversies, distributing material against themselves to really give the impression of a community in turmoil. And as growth and development stumbles in the face of all the controversy your agents provocateurs have provoked, buy, buy, buy.