Monday, March 1, 2010

Chicago the musical

The readings on characterizations of Chicago neighborhoods and the development of sensationalist media made me think of illustrations of these aspects in the pop-culture representation of Chicago, Chicago the musical. Taking place in the 1920’s, the movie portrays a grim and negative side of Chicago urban life. Crime is rampant, and the law easy to manipulate. The movie centers on a woman accused of murder who does not take the crime seriously and seeks to get it past her and avoid responsibility for the murder that she did in fact commit. Through the help of her lawyer, who makes the whole trial into a performance act, she manages to avoid a guilty sentence. The movie portrays the law as easy to get around, and the jury and public of Chicago as foolish and incredibly manipulated by media sensationalism. This speaks to the popularity of sensationalist journalism at the time that we read about in this unit. Furthermore, the one person who it is pretty certain is guilty is the only one to be hanged, and she is an immigrant who cannot voice her defense. This captures the idea of the outsider unable to function in the urban environment.

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