Chi-Raq: Be Weary As You Watch It

Greetings Loved Ones! Liu Is The Name, And Views Are My Game.

Today I’d like to do something a little bit different. I’d like to talk to you all about a film that hasn’t yet come out. The film in question–Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq. A modern reinterpretation of Aristophane’s classic comedy, Lysistrata, in which a group of women withhold physical affection from their husbands as punishment for fighting in war, the film seeks to tackle the issue of gang-violence and crime in Chicago’s South Side. There are many reasons why I don’t like it–not least of which is that I am a proud son of the Windy City, and believe that this film negatively exaggerates the level of crime in my hometown–but that’s not what I want to talk to you about today. What I want to do is urge you all to take the film and it’s message with a grain of salt when you see it. Yes, Chicago has crime. Yes, murders do take place there, as they do in all major American cities. But this film is a work of satire. It is intentionally over-the-top so as to get it’s message across. I don’t want people to see this film and think of Chicago as a never-ending slum where you can’t walk down the street without kicking aside a crack vile to the sound of gunfire in the background. I have never felt unsafe in Chicago. My grandmother, who has lived in the city for 52 years, doesn’t lock her door. When I think of Chicago, I think of Navy Pier, Lou Malnati’s Pizza, Lincoln Park Zoo, Wriggley Field, and the countless fond memories that I created there with my family. I would like it if the people who go see this film do so with the knowledge that there is more to Chi-town than gang members shooting each other in back alleys. The Windy city is NOT a war zone. If gang-violence in a couple bad neighborhoods deems a city as being worthy of that classification, then we should refer to New York as New Baghdad, and Los Angeles as Los Sicarios. But, with all that said, I’m NOT going to tell you to boycott this picture–that would be an infringement of the filmmaker’s freedom of speech–but I will ask you to not judge Chicago and the millions of people who live there unfairly because of it. If you really want to get to know Chi-town, then come by and see it for yourself.

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