With guest, Louder Than a Bomb poet Nate Marshall

Friday, May 15, 2015

Spike Lee takes on Rahm and his puppy-dog alders

Flanked by parents holding photographs of the children they've lost to gun violence in Chicago, Lee defended his choice to make a movie about the city with the Iraq-inspired title "Chiraq." (Brian Jackson/Sun-Times Media, via AP)
“Art must be courageous, and anybody who wants a more peaceful America will understand where the heart of this film is,” John Cusack said. The actor called Lee’s project a “film of conscience.” -- Sun-Times
 “It’s not a First Amendment issue, and I’m on the board of the ACLU." -- Ald. Burns
It's Friday afternoon and the shooting victims are already falling in the city's most isolated and blighted neighborhoods -- areas where Rahm Emanuel's school closings, joblessness and cuts in city services have had their greatest impact.

Spike's new film has the mayor and puppy-dog alders with undies in twist, even before it's made. Why? All because of the title, Chiraq. This while thousands of neighborhood folks lined up, hoping for jobs working on the film.

At St. Sabina's yesterday, mothers who’d lost loved ones to gun violence clustered around Lee. They held up framed photographs of the lost. One woman brought an urn containing her daughter’s ashes.

RAHM'S RESPONSE... "It's bad for tourism", cries the mayor.

"We'll take away your $3 million tax break" [for filming in Illinois] threatens faithful sidekick, Ald. Will Burns (4th). Burns, who spends most of his time fighting against community activists who are trying to save Dyett High School, apparently fancies himself the city's new cultural minister. 

Another Rahm city council pup, Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) piles on. When asked about the film maker's First Amendment rights, Beale said he's okay with the Amendment so long as you're not saying anything important or critical.
"Freedom of expression still does not mean you can insult the people of this city,” says Beale.
Uh, yes it does Alderman.

It seems that whether these guys are trying to steal retiree pensions or censor a movie, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are just pieces of wall decorations. Denying that the attempt by politicians to leverage tax-payer dollars in an attempt to politically influence a film is a First Amendment issue, Burns even claims to be on the ACLU board of directors. Wow! I hope not. 

From DNAInfo:
Spike Lee came to Chicago Thursday to tell everyone who complained about the “so-called title” of his next film, "Chiraq" — and that means you, Ald. Will Burns — they’re going to “look stupid” when the film hits the big screen.
“People act like they've never seen my films, like I was grabbed off the streets. Everything I've done led up to this film,” the New York City filmmaker said, pointing out that people criticized arguably his best movie, “Do The Right Thing,” before its debut.  
“The same thing is going to happen in Chicago. They are going look stupid and end up on the wrong side of history,” Lee said.
Father Pfleger
Count on Father Pfleger to tell it like it is:
 Very disappointing to see Ald. Will Burns trying to block the tax break for Spike Lee's movie. He has not seen the script, nor know the story line but wants to ignore an iconic Director his First Amendment Right! Perhaps with 112 Killed and 607 Shot in Chicago in the first 4 months of 2015, we should be much more concerned with the reality of loss of life than a name of a movie we don't know anything about yet. Ask Brothers on the Street or Parents who have lost their children to violence, or children going to and from school each day in fear, or ask the IIT student who turned down a scholarship for college to get out of the city, what they're more concerned with
Burns was still shaking after his threat. Never in his life has he ever imagined taking away a tax break from a millionaire. Somehow, I think Spike will do OK either way.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post, Mike. This one made me laugh (the sheer idiocy of it all) & cry (the dead children & their parents, Fr. Pfleger's comments & my own thoughts about the 81-year-old grandmother & her nephew shot outside her daughter's wake this weekend).
    This is all just too much pain to bear, and attention MUST be paid (& NOT to tourism, the Obama Library or the Lucas Spaceship).
    Have at it, Spike.


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