Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Wire: too cynical?

"The problem is that The Wire won’t encourage America to care about change. Instead, Simon’s portrayal of Baltimore buttresses the myth that the poor, especially the black poor in the city’s ghettos, are drug dealers or users, eternally helpless victims, unable to engage in collective self-help and dependent on government largesse, or crime,
to survive. Week in and week out, the stories were so relentlessly hopeless that Slate’s Jacob Weisberg felt buoyant because the show “is filled with characters who should quit but don’t, not only the boys
themselves but teachers, cops, ex-cops, and ex-cons. . .This refusal to give up in the face of defeat is the reality of ghetto life as well. Feel me: It’s what The Wire is all about.”

Liberals like Weisberg are satisfied with the small ray of hope in some of these characters, like Bubbles, who maintain their dignity and pride amid the pervasive turmoil. Conservatives have their stereotypes
reinforced, since the show depicts most blacks as dangerous criminals, drug addicts, or welfare recipients—culturally damaged, a class of people whose behavior and values separate them from respectable
society. To liberals and conservatives alike, The Wire
reinforces the notion that the status quo cannot be changed. The decent cops, teachers, and government employees relate to the poor as “problems” or “clients” rather than as fellow citizens capable of being
organized into a force for change..."