My Reaction to Mike Royko’s “Picasso and the Cultural Rebirth of Chicago”

Jackson Nielsen


As I read through this column, I was seemingly transported into the moment that Mike Royko wrote about. His description of the scene and the way he wrote about the people and the emotions in the air put me into the scene itself. He added many descriptors about the people which only added to the sensory details of the moment. The way Royko wrote this was akin to any novel, where the story intensifies to the climax, which in this case was the unveiling of a Picasso painting in Chicago. Royko made this moment seem very dramatic as the painting was waiting to be revealed to the masses. 

One aspect I liked is his honesty of the people in attendance and their reactions to the painting. He built up the reveal so it seemed as though everyone would be in awe of this painting. Instead, most people simply shrugged their shoulders and walked away, very underwhelming. I also really liked how Royko described the painting itself. He used unique descriptions such as “it has the look of the dope pusher” and “it has the look of the big corporate executive who comes face to face with the reality of how much water pollution his company is responsible for and then thinks of the profit and loss and of his salary”.

Overall, I enjoyed navigating through this column and being immersed in this Chicago scene. Royko has a very unique and pleasing writing style which is intertwined with his personality.