Protesting Gets Real


| September 13, 2001


Protesting Gets Real, Clay Risen, Flak Magazine
What's new about a group of young people protesting the problems of the Real World? This time it's a TV show. The Real World, the MTV reality program that puts seven strangers together to live and work in front of the camera, has begun its new season in Chicago's Wicker Park. While previous locations of the show have also drawn community protest, this community of local artists and hipsters has proven a particularly volatile area. The neighborhood has been teetering on the brink of gentrification, notes Clay Risen in Flak magazine, and protesters believe the media storm of a popular television show will push it over the edge. But Risen wonders why opponents are picking a fight in a neighborhood already plagued by growing numbers of corporate coffeeshops and chic restaurants. Could it have something to do with the rage of anti-globalization protesters in Genoa, Seattle, and elsewhere? It's part of the fight 'to be recognized by a socio-economic system that no longer cares whether they agree or disagree with it,' he writes. 'They look at the Real World as a symbol of universal neglect; they know they won't make a difference, that the show will go on and they won't even make it into the final cut, and that's what pisses them off.... Today's protesters find themselves rendered innocuous, and because of that, they yell even louder.'
--Lila Kitaeff
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