It’s not surprising that a Hollywood filmmaker might wish to chronicle the horrors of inner-city life for many of Chicago’s black denizens, if for no other reason than to highlight the surreal nature of their plight juxtaposed against the sensibilities of our compassionate, enlightened modern society.
Then there’s the irony of this period coinciding with the administration of America’s first supposedly black president, Barack Hussein Obama.
In all fairness, if a dramatic representation is to be crafted, who better than iconic black film director Spike Lee to enter into such an endeavor, even if the film is likely to wind up with blame for the dynamic in Chicago being placed on slavery, Jim Crow and faceless white Republicans in an ivory tower somewhere?
Lee recently did an interview with Chicago magazine wherein he described Chicago mayor and former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel as a “bully” due to Emanuel’s treatment of him when he was in the Windy City filming his latest outing, “Chi-Raq.” The film’s title is a term coined by rappers, who liken Chicago’s widespread violence to the brutality associated with Iraq.
Lee said that Emanuel, having taken exception to aspects of the film’s message, used his influence to impede its production. He didn’t like the title and claimed that the movie would portray Chicago in a bad light. This is of course a case of “if the shoe fits,” but obviously Emanuel’s legacy and legendary ego trump any effort to discuss the causes and conditions of problems in Chicago, whether Spike Lee is in the picture or not – no pun intended.
One wonders: Did it entirely escape Lee’s notice that the explosion in black-on-black crime, black unemployment and sense of disenfranchisement among blacks occurred on the watch of our celebrated first black president? Did it give Lee no pause that the man who made production of his film so difficult was one of that president’s key advisers and a “made member” of the Chicago political Mafia? Had no one told him that the Napoleonic Emanuel would have long since “had a cap busted in his scrawny behind” if not for the political power he amassed? And what about the glaring coincidence in Chicago being the primordial political cesspool from which Obama and all of his notorious cronies shambled?
Well, Spike Lee hasn’t yet realized that the only “institutional racism” that exists in America is perpetuated by those with whom he – and nearly everyone else in Hollywood – are politically aligned, so I suppose we ought not expect too much.
For a guy who works in the realm of the visual, he’s not terribly observant.
In a separate incident, film director Quentin Tarantino showed up at a march against police brutality in New York City last Saturday. Tarantino, who has produced the most graphically violent movies in the history of cinema, jetted in to join demonstrators at the Big Apple’s legendary hangout of the disaffected, Washington Square Park. Attendees waved signs and chanted, basically protesting the deaths of every black individual killed by police since the dawn of time.
By now, I suppose I needn’t mention that in the eyes of such folk, every black individual who ever met his death at the hands of police in America was murdered in cold blood.
The press reported that the rally drew a crowd of around 300 people, which is nothing for Washington Square Park. The soirée, organized by Revolutionary Communist Party of America national spokesperson Carl Dix and activist Cornel West, came on the heels of NYPD Officer Randolph Holder being shot and killed on Oct. 20 while chasing a suspect in Harlem. Holder was a black man, by the way.
The bona fides of Dix and West should speak to their motives as being less than constructive. Concerning the rally occurring so soon after Officer Holder’s murder, Dix told the Associated Press: “That’s not what this is about. This is about all the people who are murdered by the police.”
Tarantino called the timing “unfortunate.”
While this seemingly reckless cameo (Tarantino likes doing cameos, you know) was probably calculated to make Tarantino look good in the eyes of the proletariat, the effort was wasted. Given that the director’s very countenance and demeanor are eerily evocative of one of his psycho-killer characters, “looking good” for Tarantino is probably best accomplished with a tux, a limo and a comely companion.
But I digress. What’s noteworthy here is that these two Hollywood power players, with all of the potential for using their fame and fortune to enlighten people and defuse hostilities, instead choose to whine about bullying and cavort with communists intent upon quenching the fires of racial tension with the stuff they use to power top-fuel dragsters.
Is this simply a case of the directors’ belief that continued success is predicated upon their espousing destructive public policy, or are men like Lee and Tarantino just exceptionally gifted in a very narrow area, like an autistic savant, yet oblivious and awkward in every other imaginable area? Perhaps they don’t even realize that they come across as self-absorbed, asinine and clueless when they showcase their social conscience.
If the latter is true, I don’t imagine they’d be disposed to recognize that the very things vexing them have been brought about by their political allies – most especially Barack Obama himself, who precipitated these crises and no doubt deeply appreciates the directors’ timely self-indulgence.