Mayor Emanuel’s digital billboard deal: a roadside distraction?

Critics say the deal is dangerous for drivers and damaging to the skyline. But to the city, the promise of $155 million in revenue looms large.

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All the world’s a stage,” Shakespeare wrote, 400 years ago. Now it’s more like all the world’s a screen.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago City Digital Network billboard deal, the latest step in our lurch into an alternate, electronic universe, clears the way for a major assault on that last bastion of reality: the landscape. The screens—with hypnotically morphing images, bigger than life, brighter than day, and so compelling that you can’t not look at them—will soon be looming over our highways. TV on a stick, their critics call them. Trash in the sky.

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