With guest, Louder Than a Bomb poet Nate Marshall

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Hey Spike. Why not name the film, 'ChiRahm'?

The city has recorded 355 shootings this year as of Monday compared with 253 shootings for the first quarter of 2014, according to crime statistics released by the Chicago Police Department on Wednesday. Eighty murders were recorded in the first quarter of 2015. There were 62 in the same period last year. -- USA Today
But it was clear that the mayor was none too pleased. If he wants to press the issue, Emanuel could use the Hollywood pipeline provided by his brother, super-agent Ari Emanuel, to make his feelings known to Spike Lee. -- Sun-Times
Yes, Spike Lee is naming his new movie "Chiraq". That is, unless Mayor Rahm Emanuel calls brother Ari, out in Beverly Hills and asks him to pressure Spike otherwise.
Rahm calls Ari: "Hey bro, it's Rahmbo. I need you to put an arm on Spike Lee. He's naming his next film, 'Chirac' and that's going to scare tourists away."
Ari: "I'm on it little brother. He'll change the name or he'll be through in this town. He'll never set foot in Nate & Al's deli again."
Let's see how that works.

The mayor is pissed at Spike. He's afraid the word "Chiraq" will conjure up an unfair image of HIS city. Scare off potential visitors who might mistakenly think Chicago is a city where shootings are up by 40%  and homicides 26%  over a year ago. How silly of them!

He also calls on his pal, Sen. Double D to spread the good news:
“There’s no question that Chicago, as most cities, has its share of violence, but the honest answer is we’ve seen a decline in the numbers. . . . So I hope this is not creating an image of the city that is unfair.” -- Sen. Dick Durbin
Sen. Durbin and Sen. Kirk
Remember when Double D stood next to his buddy, Republican Sen. Kirk who called for the rounding up and jailing of 18,000 black men as a way to cut into Chicago's crime rate?

Then Rahm drudges up one of his city council puppy dogs, Ald. Anthony Beale (9th), to carry his water on this one. Beale tells the Sun-Times:
“We’re trying to attract tourism. We’re bringing jobs in to Chicago. The city is growing. We’re trying to promote the good things in this city every single day. To highlight the problems we’re having with that type of name is an insult.” 
Yes, Beale is so concerned with Spike Lee's threat to tourism that he doesn't mention the hundreds who have fallen victim to the city's pandemic gun violence, mostly black and Hispanic men between 20 and 35, many in Beale's own ward.

Beale says he also has a problem with the Constitution. Fran Spielman asks him: "What about the 1st Amendment?"
“Freedom of expression still does not mean you can insult the people of this city,” says Beale.
Rahm & Ald. Beale
He obviously never passed his high school civics class thereby making him extra-qualified to become a Chicago alderman..

I'm happy that Spike Lee is making his movie here and shining another light on the horrific conditions of violence and joblessness, especially for black and Latino youth in the city's neighborhoods. I predict filming it here will be great for tourism. It will also provide some jobs for lots of black actors and those working behind the cameras.

My problem with the name "Chiraq" is that may reflect badly on Iraq. It has been pointed out that young African-American men are statistically safer in Baghdad or Kabul then they are on the streets of Chicago.

I'm suggesting that Spike name the film, "ChiRahm" instead of "Chiraq". But I'm guessing he will tell me the same thing he tells Rahm and Ari.

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