Thursday, November 5, 2015

We get way too worked up over trailers; will we care about the real issue?

So now, what are we supposed to think about film director Spike Lee and his upcoming project that supposedly will expose just how gruesome and grisly our wonderful city of Chicago truly is?

Many political people gained attention for themselves by trashing Lee back when his film crews were in Chicago shooting the footage that will eventually become the film that is scheduled to be released next month.

NOW, A TRAILER that will play in movie theaters for the next few weeks is promoting the film.

Like most trailers, it is a brief strip that depicts the “big name” actors who will be in the project and probably shows us all the highlights of the film – but in such a non-contextual way that we have no clue what the film truly is about.

After all, why should we see the film if the whole story got revealed in a 30-second video blitz?

Personally, the fact that actor Samuel L. Jackson is involved intrigues me enough to think this film might be worth some attention – although learning that actor John Cusack is playing a Father Pfleger-like priest makes me think it will be too over the top.

BUT FOR MOST people, I suspect the whole reason they’re getting worked up over the film is the subject material – an aspect of Chicago that some people like to blow completely out of proportion.

While other people want to go so far out of their way to ignore to as to assuage any guilt they ought to be feeling. If anything, it is those people whose skin Lee is trying to get under.

How else to explain the line of narration used in the trailer telling us that the homicide total in Chicago tops the casualty total of American Special Forces who served in Iraq?

That’s a loaded statement in and of itself. It should not be taken as a simple fact that cannot be questioned. It needs to be kept in its own unique context.

YET I HAVE to admit the real problem when it comes to urban violence in Chicago isn’t really that people in select neighborhoods are killing each other off.

It is that the rest of us (those of us fortunate enough to not live in a place like Englewood or North Lawndale) all too often are willing to accept those homicide totals – so long as they stay within the boundaries of those neighborhoods.

We may very well think on some level that “those people” just don’t know any better, or don’t really matter. So long as “real people” (like ourselves) aren’t impacted, we can live with those homicide totals.

Those news stories we see in Monday morning newspapers every so often about how the death tally took a jolt upward are something we think of as merely a part of the local color.

SO LONG AS none of the addresses of where those violent outbursts took place are anywhere near a place we have ever gone to, we tolerate it. That is the REAL problem our society faces, and I don’t know how successfully a Spike Lee film will be able to take this issue on.

For every notable moment in “Do the Right Thing” (I’m still appalled by actor John Turturro’s racist pizzeria worker, even though I know such people really do exist and pass themselves off as respectable), we get something so absurd as in “Bamboozled.”

Which is my own personal fear about “Chi-raq” – it could wind up providing such a ridiculous vision of what is happening in certain parts of our city that it makes the masses amongst us all the more that this is an issue that really doesn’t impact us!

Adding to the isolation that certain residents of Chicago could wind up feeling would be the ultimate low blow to their futures.


EDITOR’S NOTE: Excuse me for thinking it presumptuous to think anyone is going to get the allusions to Lysistrata – they’re more likely to think it is a film done partially in rap.

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