Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Wire, "Margin of Error": Primary color

Spoilers for "The Wire" episode six, "Margin of Error," just as soon as I find my Curtis Mayfield CD...

Once upon a time, back before it looked like HBO needed to be shamed into ordering a fourth and, especially, a fifth season of "The Wire," David Simon had plans for a miniseries called "The Hall." It would follow Tommy Carcetti, Clarence Royce and Tony Grey in their race for mayor, possibly include some other "Wire" characters in small roles, then have Tommy in office to start season four.

"The Hall" obviously never happened, and so Tommy's miracle victory had to be folded back into the show proper, bumping up against the four boys, the rise and fall of the MCU, Marlo's ascendancy, Bubbs' new business, etc. That's an awful lot to squeeze into 13 episodes, but Simon and company have managed it.

For this one episode, however, Tommy's story dominates, leaving a little wiggle room for Namond's forced entry into the family business, Randy folding like a card table for Ms. D, Marlo getting one over on Herc, and Omar trapped in an episode of "Oz."

But let's start with Tommy. Because of this show's cynical worldview, not to mention Tommy's philandering and narcissism, it would be easy to peg his campaign as one massive ego trip. Maybe that's what it was at the beginning, but he definitely cares now about trying to fix the city, and his victory over Royce was a rare "Wire" instance of the good guy coming out on top. (It's not a spoiler to say that Tommy will win the general election, since even the show treats that as an afterthought.) Now, whether Tommy can actually accomplish anything in the same broken system that rewards the Burrells and spits out the Bunny Colvins, I don't know. But the moment when he got the call and told his wife the good news was really quite moving -- especially because it was the first time Tommy realized what he was in for.

Again, if you want to be cynical, you could say that Tommy turned Theresa down simply to avoid a potential scandal now that he's on a bigger stage, but I think there was more to it than that. He wanted to sleep with her, even began kissing her a second time after he initially broke away, but the weight of running an entire city -- not to mention his intimate moments with Jen in the days leading up to the victory -- has him thinking that maybe it's time to be a better person. By the way, I like that Theresa was enough of a grown-up to both understand and not be offended by the rejection.

And speaking of behaving like grown-ups -- sort of -- I loved the scene with Clay Davis at the victory party, yukking it up about how he went easy on Tommy and Norman. It's easy to laugh about that stuff when you've won, but Clay is also like the scorpion from the fable about the frog. What do you expect when you give money to this guy? Being a greedy double-dealing sleaze is just his nature, you know?

Clay ripping off the campaign also neatly paralleled Dukie and Donut blowing off mailbox-stuffing duty once they realized that Randy had already been paid. Randy was my favorite of the four boys going in (the smile when he thought up the piss-balloon gag was what did it), but the moment when he watches Dukie head off to Lake Trout, then turns around to finish the job won me to his side forever...

...which, of course, makes it even more painful that Ms. Donnelly has put him into such an awful position. Snitching on kids for tagging is bad enough in the world Randy lives in, but snitching on a murder is practically a capital offense. You could see how terrified Miss Anna was at the possibility of other kids finding out what Randy did. But Ms. D is a guardian of the system, albeit a well-meaning one, sort of the school board equivalent of Sgt. Landsman. In fact, the scene where she got Randy to break down felt an awful lot like seeing Munch or Pembleton get a confession in The Box. ("How do you know? You weren't there.") As always happens on this show, it's little moments that wind up having unintended consequences; if Paul and Monell hadn't been so dismissive of Tiffany when they and Namond passed her in the hallway, she doesn't go crying rape to the cops and Randy doesn't wind up getting squeezed like this. Poor, sweet kid, but Cutty saw it coming when he shook his head at Randy giving up the graffiti artist a few episodes ago.

Simon said that Cutty was one of the characters who got the shortest shrift when he had to incorporate the election back into the series. I imagine, for instance, the writers could have done a better job establishing how lousy it was that Dennis' wham bam thank you ma'am lifestyle chased Spider away from the gym and back to the street. Instead, it was used mainly to illustrate one of the reasons why Michael is so uncomfortable around him. Cutty's "Yo, boy, I love the women!" comment to Michael seemed out of character the first time I saw it, but after going back and watching the scene at the boxing match where all Michael could talk about was girls, this was just Cutty's clumsy way of trying to bond with a kid who's being resistant to the mentoring idea.

As bad as I felt for Randy, the kid who has the worst plight at this moment is Namond. Yeah, he talks a lot of crap and is easily the least likable of the four, but when he has a mom like De'Londa, how else was he going to turn out? The money fawcet gets shut off by Brianna (given her feelings towards Avon, I'm surprised she kept paying this long), and rather than getting a job or anything else that a responsible parent might do, she shoves her 14-year-old son out onto the street and orders him to start moving drugs so she can maintain her blinged-out lifestyle? Awful, awful woman. You have to get up early and work really hard to make yourself the worst parent in a scene involving Brianna, but I think she pulled it off. (Brianna may have talked her own son into taking a 20-year sentence to avoid destroying the family business, but at least D'Angelo was a grown man more capable of making his own decisions.)

Finally, we have Omar trapped in a hell of his own making. Sure, Chris set him up for the jail stint, but Omar's done plenty over the years to merit a humble or twelve, yet he's gone and pissed off practically every drug player in the city. If he didn't have Butchie -- and, through Butchie -- those two gigantic (and, I'm guessing, gay) trustees, he probably wouldn't survive a single night in lock up.

Some other random thoughts:
  • Herc is finding new and different ways to be a screw-up. He couldn't possibly be so dumb that he believed Marlo would pick up a package himself, could he? Oh, that's right: he could. Sorry, must have been thinking of somebody else.
  • Welcome to day one of the U of Maryland pilot program. Nice confrontation between Namond and Bunny, though Namond's solitary metaphor wasn't quite right. This isn't prison; this is Hamsterdam. They're separating the troublemakers from the rule-abiding kids, and then going to work to see if the troublemakers can conduct themselves in a healthier way.
  • Hey, it's McNulty! Who knew he was still on the show? Nice bit with him offering Omar the phone, especially Santangelo's "You some kind of Democrat or what?"
  • In the review copy, Norman suggests countering the slumlord ad with a doctored photo of Royce in a motel room "with a dead girl and a live boy." Did that survive to the air version? With the Foley scandal, I had a sliver of doubt that it might get cut, less for being tasteless than for being a distraction.
  • Simon insists on using music rarely, and only if it starts off from a real source, like Prez listening to "Walk the Line" while documenting the MCU's progress in the port case, or, here, Cutty jogging through a whole lot of election day business while he has Curtis Mayfield on his headphones. A very apropos choice for old-school Cutty, since the young pups who don't want to listen to his stories about how things used to be probably only know the song as the sample Kanye West used for "Touch the Sky."
Lines of the week:
  • Reverend to Tommy: "Moses will do for now. We'll save Jesus for your second term."
  • De'Londa to Namond: "I ain't take no for an answer!"
  • Namond to De'Londa: "You just did."
  • Det. Crutchfield on the anxiety brought by a visit from command to the Homicide office: "I need a minute just to unclench my asshole."
  • Rawls to Landsman: "American democracy. Let's show those third-world fucks how it's done."
  • Namond figuring out the purpose of the pilot program: "Ready for GenPop. This is prison, yo. And we in solitary and shit."
  • Norman (entirely for the delivery): "'Moolies'?"
  • Bodie to Namond: "Damn, boy. Your mama's what niggers call a dragon lady... Gave me some insight, though... Why you is what you is."
So what did everybody else think?

42 comments:

Paul said...

I was surprised that they chose "We Are Family" for Carcetti's victory party. That song's been anathema in Baltimore ever since the 1979 World Series. That's the first detail of Baltimore atmosphere I've had any quibble with.

Other than that, it was yet another excellant episode. I also liked the parallel between Davis and the boys, just as I loved the parallel between him and Nay in either the 2nd or 3rd episode. ("I'll take any mf's money if he's giving it away!")

What I find truly amazing about this series is how easy they make it all look.

RP said...

Alan wrote: In the review copy, Norman suggests countering the slumlord ad with a doctored photo of Royce in a motel room "with a dead girl and a live boy." Did that survive to the air version? >>>

Yep.

Alan wrote: Lines of the week: >>>

I'd add the following:

Norman: "Sheeeeeeeit" (when telling explaining that cash would be the only thing Clay Davis wanted want for services rendered; funny to see him using mocking Davis in his own voice)

Clay, after closing the deal w/Tommy and Norman for the payout: "Let's order. I'm hungry enough to eat the horse you rode in on."

Mase said...

Anyone know why there is not a new episode of "The Wire" next Sunday (22 Oct.)?

Louis said...

This episode never showed up for me on On Demand. Does it vary from city-to-city, or by cable provider?

QDogg said...

I am assuming the next episode is delayed to avoid a conflict with a potential game 7 of the world series. Go Tigers!

Anonymous said...

Nice summary and commentary, as usual, Alan.

Anyone know what "2255" and "talking back" mean in jailhouse parlance? (It's what Butchie's guys were in for.)

Mase said...

"2255" likely means the guy was in the Baltimore jail awaiting a hearing where he was collaterally attacking a federal conviction in federal court. "2255" refers to the federal habeas statute, 18 United States Code, section 2255. However, as I am unfamiliar with Maryland criminal codes, it possibly could refer to a Maryland statute.

If it was refering to the federal statute, it would be a rare 'false note' of the show. For one, federal prisoners are rarely housed in state facilities. More critically, however, it is almost unheard of for a federal habaes petition to actually get a hearing, where the the prisoner is present in court. The vast majority of the time, the 2255 petition is decided on the filing papers. Thus, Butchie would have to have known the guy was in the Baltimore facility awaiting the hearing (as there is no way, barring a local arrest, an individual would get into jail that quickly).

Anonymous said...

Thanks, mase.

Alastair said...

"Cutty's "Yo, boy, I love the women!" comment to Michael seemed out of character the first time I saw it, but after going back and watching the scene at the boxing match where all Michael could talk about was girls, this was just Cutty's clumsy way of trying to bond with a kid who's being resistant to the mentoring idea."

I have a very different reading of both these incidents. Michael only talks about girls after he realises he's stumbled into danger by complimenting the fighters on the physique: he seems to be covering his tracks to make clear he isn't gay. I think Cutty picks up on this (and Michael's scampering out of the car at the end of that episode) and clumsily tries to reassure Michael that he has no interest in other men, or boys... all of which makes sense if we attribute a background of sexual abuse by a strong male figure to Michael, which would fit in elegantly with his reactions towards potential male role models.

Anonymous said...

Mase is on it, but he's dubious for no good reason.

A 2255 is indeed referring to a post-conviction reconsideration for a federal inmate. but actually in baltimore, at least, and i think this is true elsewhere as well, on the rare occasion when a federal inmate does in fact win the right to a post-conviction hearing on the merits of his written brief, he is brought back to maryland and housed in the local jail while awaiting that hearing at before a federal judge. i know this to be accurate because the actor who says that line to omar was actually brought back for a 2255 hearing at the federal court in baltimore and housed temporarily in local detention facilities while awaiting that in-person hearing. he was subsequently released from federal custody, which is why he appears in the episode and why we gave him that precise line of dialogue.

simon

p.s. we will (and have) messed up the details here and there, The Wire being neither a work of journalism nor footnoted history, but you cats are gonna have to do better to catch us. :)

Anonymous said...

Cool. Thanks, Mr. Simon. I appreciate the background info for that scene.

Gotta say The Wire is the greatest thing ever made for television. Just phenomenal. Keep up the fantastic work!

Scott said...

Norman's "dead girl and a live boy" line made it to air because it wasn't an original line, it was a reference one-step removed to a quote by Lousiana governor Ed Edwards, who famously bragged in the '80s that he'd been a cinch to win a recent election as long as he wasn't "caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy". Funny, I've been seeing that quote pop up a good bit in our recent news cycles of John Mark Karr and Mark Foley.

Also, may I add: God, I love this show!

Mase said...

Mr. Simon (as I think you are likely the great David Simon himself):

The reason I was skeptical was due to how rare in-person hearings are granted for 2255 petitions. Thus, I don't think it was for "no good reason". However, now knowing the background of the 2255 actor, the scene has a nice 'inside' touch. My use of 'false note' regarding the scene was, in hindsight, a bit hyperbolic; my apologies.

Since its first season, I have religiously watched THE WIRE. It is, without doubt, one of the finest works of television ever aired. Thank you for making it the superior show that it is.

Alan Sepinwall said...

For the record, that is David Simon.

dez said...

"For the record, that is David Simon."

[bows down to the great Mr. Simon] Thank you for creating such wonderful television, sir!

ITA with Alan about Namon's mom being an awful, awful woman. What chance do these kids have when their own parents are willing to pimp them out like that?

After the first ep, I said Randy was going to break my heart and he has. Or rather, my heart is breaking for him. I nearly cried the minute he offered up details of Lex's murder just because I know what it means for his future. That poor kid! But why didn't Prez go to Lester with that info? I guess he wouldn't know that Lester has that case, though.

Yay, McNulty sighting! And he didn't buy the charges against Omar! Only thing wrong with the ep: no Bunk! I needs me some Bunk every ep, dang it!

Anonymous said...

I am as suspectible to unseemly flattery as the next hack, but please, guys, no embarrassing qualitative adjectives or even honorifics like "Mr." in front of my name.

Mase, I poked my head up because I was impressed that you dug out what a 2255 was in the first place, which was why I commented. I was not defensive about the show and I was trying to be playful about not having been caught with an inaccuracy in this instance only; in fact, when I drop in on a discussion, I try to limit it to discussing salient details of a show or helping someone with a moment of confusion. I don't want to mute criticism of the show or defuse any debate about the show, its plotting, its execution or its merits. That's all for the good, whether I agree with every post or not.

But my father is Mr. Simon. And Paul Simon, circa Graceland, is the great one. I write television and before that I scribbled for the metro section of a second-tier newspaper. Some perspective, please.

The logic of the guys in prison would be: The 2255 was already at the city jail awaiting his federal hearing and Butchie knew him to be there and be an ally. Mr. Talked Back was either already there as well, or perhaps, got himself quickly arrested on a humble in order to be there for Omar. But either way, Butchie reached out.

Last bit of trivia: As a moment of planned homage -- Ed Burns thought of it -- one of those fellas was actually a major inspiration for the character of Omar, though if he knew I was writing this, he would insist that I mention his heterosexuality. For some reason, he always hastens to have me add that fact. Go figure.

Simon

Anonymous said...

The true sign of a great man is that he will deny his greatness.

Anonymous said...

I am surprised no one has mentioned this (at least I think no one has, maybe it happened last week?) but Rawls flipping through Landsman's skin rag? Was that bullshit posturing? Or was he curious as to what certain straight people read and the appeal it might have? Or was it a half-joke on the part of the writing staff? I was not totally clear on why that might have happened.

Waset said...

There are so many great moments for this show that I could write about it all day long...

Anyway, I found the scene with Rawls perusing the girly mag absolutely hilarious. It was one of those moments where you would HAVE to be a diehard to "get it" which then makes the piece all the more "titillating."

Anonymous said...

If you are referring to last year's "revelation", I am in the know. His motives are still sort of unclear to me I suppose.

Anonymous said...

Yes, that skin mag scene popped right out at me. I took it as a combination of "bullshit posturing" and sly inside joke for the diehards. It's been kind of a running theme throughout the series, from the very beginning. You probably also noticed that Rawls is always deriding his underlings as "cocksuckers" and making crude "heterosexual" jokes and analogies about feeling up tits, etc. The gentleman doth protest too much, methinks.

Mr Juggles said...

Alstair-
I read Cutty's remarks to Michael in a similar way. He realized -- on the night of the fight when he tried to drop Michael off at home -- that Michael is scared of being alone with an older man, probably because he was abused. I'm not sure that Michael's gay but clearly Cutty is trying to make Michael feel comfortable around him.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"Yes, that skin mag scene popped right out at me. I took it as a combination of "bullshit posturing" and sly inside joke for the diehards. It's been kind of a running theme throughout the series, from the very beginning. You probably also noticed that Rawls is always deriding his underlings as "cocksuckers" and making crude "heterosexual" jokes and analogies about feeling up tits, etc. The gentleman doth protest too much, methinks."

I think you're right on with Rawls and his "heterosexual protest." On season 3,I'm sure my eyes weren't deceiving me when Rawls was shown for a split second in the gay club that Brother Mouzzone and his assistant frequented in search of Omar. It was a subtle gester that that the average eye wouldn't catch unless paying close attention.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I did appreciate how lightly Simon & Co. slipped that little scene in there (i.e., Rawls in the gay bar). Blink and you missed it.

What I'm curious about is whether the writers had conceived of Rawls as a closeted gay man from the very beginning, or whether it only later occurred to them to reveal him as such. Perhaps David Simon, if he's still reading this thread, might be so kind as to clue us in.

I'm so glad that the writers haven't done anything too obvious or corny with this revelation (like having Rawls's sexuality being used to blackmail him or something). It's just there for us to ponder or dismiss as we wish, casts an interesting light on some of his previous and subsequent behavior, and adds a little more depth to a secondary character.

Anonymous said...

That 2255 thing had me wondering big time. Thanks for explaining it.

That is _Classic_ regarding the scene with the 'real-life Omar' character. It's one of the things I love about this show, like using the actors they did for Snoop and The Deacon. Just great.

Anonymous said...

Surprised no one has yet remarked on the decline of personality in the show's villains. Avon, Stringer, and even Wee Bey had personality to burn, as well as complicated private lives. By contrast, Marlo, Chris, and Snoop are boring sexless robots with no personality whatsoever. I can't even picture these homicidal androids having any kind of private life. I doubt this is an oversight by the creators, though. What do people think about this development?

Anonymous said...

Surprised no one has yet remarked on the decline of personality in the show's villains. Avon, Stringer, and even Wee Bey had personality to burn, as well as complicated private lives.

True in terms of the street crews, at least, tho I hope to see more attention on Bodie. I've enjoyed the developing character of Prop. Joe. Perhaps we'll see more of him in the rest of the season, given the interesting developments in his relations with Marlo and with Omar.

Anonymous said...

Okay, so David Simon doesn't want any unseemly praise. I'd like to make two criticisms, one general and the other specific.

1) I think The Wire tends to be a little too cavalier in its attitudes towards police brutality and asset forfeiture.

2) Did you have to make the white do-goody-good professor who's working with Colvin this season such a wimpy bumbling dork stereotype? He even needs Colvin to translate some perfectly obvious expressions for him. Please.

That said, I'll end on a note of unseemly praise. I don't know how credit is actually distributed on the credits, but I think the teleplays credited to David Simon and/or Ed Burns are every bit as good as the ones credited to Dennis Lehane or Richard Price. In other words, they ain't half bad, and The Wire is one of the few TV shows that don't insult our intelligence. Now don't go getting a swelled head, David.

Anonymous said...

"Surprised no one has yet remarked on the decline of personality in the show's villains. Avon, Stringer, and even Wee Bey had personality to burn, as well as complicated private lives. By contrast, Marlo, Chris, and Snoop are boring sexless robots with no personality whatsoever. I can't even picture these homicidal androids having any kind of private life. I doubt this is an oversight by the creators, though. What do people think about this development?"
True, Marlo is no Avon and Chris is far from Stringer in terms of dept. The writer's did drop the ball on that note. However, the kids seem to be more character driven this time around. It would have been nice to see what Marlo, Chris, and Snoop are like "after work."

Anonymous said...

Many people don't understand that the roboticness of Marlo, Chris and Snoop is deliberate. Sure, the Barksdales had plenty of personality. But look where they are now. What I think the show is saying is that Marlo and crew have to be extremely cold and ruthless to succeed in taking over their part of the drug trade. Its all business with them. Avon romanticized the Game. Stringer didn't, but he wanted to dignify it like a real business. With Marlo, its just economics and war. No emotion. The actors are doing a great job portraying this if they've made the audience complain about it.

flow said...

Are there any women watching this damn show? NO! I am one and no thank you. Just thought I'd throw that in somewhere...

DUMB said...

I'm a woman and I love the Wire. There.

debbie said...

I'm a woman, too, and I also love The Wire. Actually, I would think women would be more into this show since it's the visual equivalent of a novel...and most fiction novels today are read by women.

Instead of gender, I think a more interesting question would be how does the show play to a rural audience? Do they care about gritty city violence at all? (I wonder because I'm from Chicago, but spent a lot of time in rural areas).

As for the comments about the personalities of the Barksdale vs Marlo crew...I think the coldness of Chris and Snoop's personalities are showing what all the violence of the previous generation has done to this generation. They are completely numb to killing and, in fact, do it in a robotic, calculated way. And I don't think that's true of just street violence, but is true in military operations as well (such as the usage of robots and computers in Iraq and Afganistan to fight).

And seriously, thanks for the 2255 explanation. I was completely lost there.

Anonymous said...

this is one of the most informative and intelligent blog postings (w/ comments) I've ever seen.

great insights into Michael/Cutty as well as clarification on the 2255 thing.

fgmerchant said...

The scene with Rawls in the gay bar is in episode 10 about 40 minutes in. I had to go back and see for myself since I hadn't picked up on the gay thing myself.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for an amazing blog that is really adding to my enjoyment of the show (as i watch it for the first time). Loved your comments about Brianna vs. De'Londa--who's the worst mom? I was thinking along the same lines, only I started wondering who is the worst mom on the whole show...Wallace's mom? Brianna? De'Londa? Dukie's mom? Tough to decide.

(There is obviously some poor fathering on the show too, but that's for another time).

Anonymous said...

I came here after Googling "The Wire 2255" and found the answer from Simon himself. This blog continues to amaze me as I slowly get through it's archives!

Anonymous said...

Thanks to "simon" (who at least makes the impression of being, or maybe is, David Simon) for the explanation re 2255.

I understand that Mr. Simon is, in political terms, a hard left guy.

Truth told, I am one of those evil, stone-cold conservatives, tea-party style and all; yet, The Wire is the only TV show I re-watched - and even more than once. Thanks for this intense, gripping, insightful, thought-inducing, entertaining piece of art. As far as I can tell, both left and right feel vindicated by the story told, and that alone is, to quote the show, not a career, it's a f*cking miracle...

Anonymous said...

After spending one(1) Year in a Bay Area County/City Jail, as a Federal inmate awaiting trial & fighting My case...I learned not a day passed that County/State convicts & Federal inmates didn't cross paths or co-exist. Regularly(& legally) housed in same units/"pods" as 'bunkys' or cellmates, or in intake holding cells(where Omar was)during transport to other courthouses/Jails/prisons/etc... So, Ed Burns, as usual-was spot on. 6 years later, The Wire still stands UberAlles as the VERY BEST.
5 *S*T*A*R* T.V. edutainment.

Anonymous said...

"Instead of gender, I think a more interesting question would be how does the show play to a rural audience? Do they care about gritty city violence at all? (I wonder because I'm from Chicago, but spent a lot of time in rural areas)."


I know this may be a very late reply, but I live in South Dakota and I can tell you that while I personally love the show, for me it feels like it is a whole 'nother world, yet still at the same time, not. The incredibly poor, drug ridden areas of West Baltimore might as well be Mars to me. However, most people I encounter who do watch a lot of television have never heard of the Wire; the only instance where someone around here had watched it, they were unimpressed. I attribute most of that to simply being unable to relate at all, to the drugs or to the corrupt politicians or to the high end drug work of the earlier seasons, mostly because these areas (while having drugs, of course) are not subject to the same kind of dealing and violence that comes with it. I mean, in 2010 we had two murders. Two.

Bill Ed said...

This, to me, is the Jefferson vs Hamilton Faultline that our country was built on and will soon (maybe very soon) die on--the profoundly different experience of those living in the dense urban metropolis vs that of those living in the vast areas of the rural center of the country. I get to see it daily here in St.Louis where we have both led the nation in murder rates multiple times, while simultaneously having a city in which you are never more than 15 minutes from farm land. I identify more with the urban experience, yet I have close friends who do not have any concept of why something like a national health care plan might be necessary (the criticism of it's execution not withstanding). It's not because they are racist or classist or hard-line conservative-Christian-right-wingers, it's just because they live in and experience a world that is SO DIFFERENT than the one I see. If we could begin to bridge that gap, maybe we could stave off the apocalypse...but I don't see bridging that divide happening because our institutional systems seem to be allied against it. It's like Jeffery Canada once said, you don't have to look at the name on the machine to know what it does--you just look at what it produces. If it says on the side that it produces nuts and bolts but at the end of the assembly line there's a pile of donuts, it's a donut machine--no matter what the sign said. What does the machinery of our societies institutions produce? And if the product isn't piled up in YOUR back yard, will you care? (Or maybe the product IS piled up in the back yards of those who would think they don't have skin in the game...Aurora? Columbine?)
I have become more and more cynical about our prospect as a nation of pulling out of the nose dive that we are in. Near third world conditions exist INSIDE the US at increasing rates, but those of us in America simply try to isolate ourselves from "The Other" America, but time is just about up for that...

I rant because there is no one here to read this anyway.

The Wire: Best show ever made, and second place is not close. It almost defines a new genre of TV--a non-episodic almost cinematic historical docu-drama. It's a national treasure, and will help cultural antropologist 500 years from now understand a period in which our once great empire fell into confusion, then denial, and then irrelevance (HOPEFULLY, mere irrelevance).

Bill Ed said...

This, to me, is the Jefferson vs Hamilton Faultline that our country was built on and will soon (maybe very soon) die on--the profoundly different experience of those living in the dense urban metropolis vs that of those living in the vast areas of the rural center of the country. I get to see it daily here in St.Louis where we have both led the nation in murder rates multiple times, while simultaneously having a city in which you are never more than 15 minutes from farm land. I identify more with the urban experience, yet I have close friends who do not have any concept of why something like a national health care plan might be necessary (the criticism of it's execution not withstanding). It's not because they are racist or classist or hard-line conservative-Christian-right-wingers, it's just because they live in and experience a world that is SO DIFFERENT than the one I see. If we could begin to bridge that gap, maybe we could stave off the apocalypse...but I don't see bridging that divide happening because our institutional systems seem to be allied against it. It's like Jeffery Canada once said, you don't have to look at the name on the machine to know what it does--you just look at what it produces. If it says on the side that it produces nuts and bolts but at the end of the assembly line there's a pile of donuts, it's a donut machine--no matter what the sign said. What does the machinery of our societies institutions produce? And if the product isn't piled up in YOUR back yard, will you care? (Or maybe the product IS piled up in the back yards of those who would think they don't have skin in the game...Aurora? Columbine?)
I have become more and more cynical about our prospect as a nation of pulling out of the nose dive that we are in. Near third world conditions exist INSIDE the US at increasing rates, but those of us in America simply try to isolate ourselves from "The Other" America, but time is just about up for that...

I rant because there is no one here to read this anyway.

The Wire: Best show ever made, and second place is not close. It almost defines a new genre of TV--a non-episodic almost cinematic historical docu-drama. It's a national treasure, and will help cultural antropologist 500 years from now understand a period in which our once great empire fell into confusion, then denial, and then irrelevance (HOPEFULLY, mere irrelevance).