By Dennis Culloton
When trying to explain Illinois politics and media to my clients, I often tell a story about the end of the movie Chinatown. A distraught Jack Nicholson, playing the private eye JJ “Jake” Gittes, is pulled away from a crime scene by a police lieutenant where Jake’s lover has been shot dead by police after she shot her father while they fought over her daughter who is also her sister.
“Forget it Jake, it’s Chinatown,” the cop tells him. It is the perfect way to answer the question often asked by my clients, “What is going on—pick one Springfield/Chicago/Cook County—government/politics/media?”
Forget it Jake. Just like the last few minutes of Chinatown, unless you have seen the movie before and slowed it down on DVD, you have no idea what has happened. Nothing appears to be as it seems— it is all smoke and mirrors.
I’d like to think our team has seen the movie before. And if we can get in the room with our clients and plot out a plan, we can change how the movie ends. A strategy and executing a well thought out plan can push the important issues forward.
Here is a link to the a clip of that famous line: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uSz0mEtEsQ