Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Baddest Part Of Town

I've caught the first couple episodes of The Chi, the Showtime drama created by Lena Waithe about life in the South Side of Chicago.  Interesting enough to keep watching.

It's about how tough the life is, with violence and repressive authority, but also about how those living in its midst try to make do, and find happiness where and when they can.  Because this is gang territory, and treated apparently with benign neglect (if that much) from the cops, people know the score and understand that violence can erupt at any moment. But it doesn't define their lives.

The show is somewhat reminiscent of The Wire, except that tale of Baltimore was equally about the cops and those on the streets (and kept widening its view in later seasons).  The Chi concentrate on the community as a whole (which does mean spending some time at the precinct). All ages are represented--kids in school, young people trying to establish themselves, older people holding on as best they can.

I lived in the South Side for a few years when I was in law school, but it was the relatively safe confines of Hyde Park.  Very few students would venture past the southernmost tip of the University of Chicago (which is where the law school was located).  But I did get to know the area somewhat, and just seeing the streets and the structures brought back memories.


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