T Dog’s Think Tank: What’s in a name?

frank and kimmy
Chicago went from Chairman Of The Board to Chairman Of The Bums.


Spike Lee can call his movie whatever he wants – but its the content that matters

Chicagoans whine about the “Chiraq” name, turning the city into a bunch of Jan Bradys

When filmmaker Spike Lee announced the name of his new movie to be set in Chicago was going to be named Chiraq, it set the city into a tizzy – oh no, here comes another slap-in-the-face to the nation’s third-largest market.

Chiraq is the name used to describe Chicago’s violence, used frequently by local hip-hop artists, combining the words Chicago and war-torn Iraq. To some, the nickname is yet another black eye on the city’s image, which has taken a beating over the last few years.

Major names have been signed to the Amazon Studios project, the most ambitious to date for the streaming service, with Chicago natives Kanye West, Jeremy Piven, and Common already on board. No script has been written as of yet, and it’s not known if it’ll be a documentary. But it will be filmed in Chicago.

Spike Lee
Spike Lee

But its the title that has some pissed, including newly re-elected Mayor Rahm Emanuel, several aldermen, and members of the media. One alderman even said he’ll try to block tax credits for the film if the title isn’t changed.

In the midst of all the complaints, here’s what being forgotten – the number of people who are getting shot and/or killed in the city each year – particularly young African-Americans in a city plagued by gangs and drug dealing.

And so, the greater issue is being ignored as always by these idiot politicians concentrating on the mere title. A Cook County Commissioner who represents the West Side’s Austin neighborhood was more concerned about the “Chiraq” name scaring off businesses from Chicago, and even called the city an “laughingstock of the world”.

No you dumb fuck, it’s the actions of political asshats like YOU and Mayor Emanuel that make the city a “laughingstock”.

And as for the city’s image – oh hell, that ship sailed a long time ago. Outside of idiotic elected officials, your friends in the media are the only ones care about it, who annoyingly went on and on about foreign journalists’ perception of Chicago when NATO was held here three years ago, contributing to the Jan Brady-ish culture in this town.

Oh, our city’s image… if you’re a longtime reader of this blog, then you know about Jerry Springer showing up as a commentator on a local newscast; Amy Jacobson attending a pool party at a murder suspect’s house; former Chicago TV boss Joe Ahern making his employees pay for his lunches; The Sun-Times putting Kanye West and Kim Kardashian on its front page; the Chicago Tribune wasting space on its editorial page for Dancing With The Stars; one radio station hiring an avowed racist; and most recently, another radio station rigging a morning show “contest” so Mancow Mueller can win in the worst radio market in the country, which has become nothing but a broken-down home for has-been radio personalities who refuse to leave the spotlight.

And don’t forget, that wonderful eight hour Rahm Emanuel infomercial called Chicagoland, in addition to insults lobbied by Jon Stewart, Bill O’Reilly, and Rachel Shteir.

Now what does more damage to a city’s image? The three paragraphs I just described above, or “Chiraq”?

As a creative individual, yours truly supports Spike Lee’s decision to name it “Chiraq” – he can name it whatever the hell he wants. The reaction to this is actually more of an embarrassment than the name itself – after all, this is a place where people get more offended when meteorologist Cheryl Scott wears a miniskirt on-air, bitch about what Steve Cochran had for breakfast, or those who prattle on and on about what a genius Garry Meier is. And yeah, NOW you see why Jon Stewart and Rachel Shteir make fun of us.

What happened? Chicago has evolved from a world-class city into this annoying sitcom character nobody can stand. I mean, we’ve went from Frank Sinatra to Kimmy Gibbler from Full House. Sheldon Cooper (and I don’t mean the former WGN-TV general manager) would be proud.

Look, forget about the name – it’s about the content in the film, people – how will Lee tackle this difficult issue of gang violence plaguing the city? What about addressing the lack of jobs and other issues in the African-American and Hispanic communities? What about the families of the victims of violence? And how do we prevent this type of violence to begin with?

These are the questions we should be asking – not about a name.