Looking Back on “The Wire”

So I have recently finished watching “The Wire,” and am currently filled with a lot of complex emotions. Describing how emotions work for me is a bit hard, but I think jealousy and righteous anger seem to be the ones that come up. Also a bit of shame, but that fits into the righteous anger.

I’m jealous because “The Wire,” is a really good show. I don’t really want to be one of those guys who’s all “Oh my God, the Wire is the best show ever,” because that kind of goes without saying by now. Seriously, go watch “The Wire.” The fact that I am jealous is because part of me wants to write something like “The Wire.” I want to go deep into the problems of our times and come out with a great novel, maybe not a television show because I’m afraid to get into the television business, but I appreciate what David Simon has done. Technically I wouldn’t write a straight up realist police/crime drama, because most of my writing tends towards a mix of the Beats and Magic Realism, but “The Wire” gets to a level of humanity that should be the goal of any author.

This also fits into the righteous anger, because “The Wire” is really good at looking at some of the not nicer bits of humanity, specifically the great social problems of the United States. As much as I like to pound the maple leaf, I realize that this is also a problem with Canada, in as so much as we are basically another of America’s bitches in the prison that is Earth. But we’re not talking about international relationships, we’re talking about The Wire. It piles up this entire mess of greed and bureaucracy, eventually showing the sheer amorality of the system and leaves us thinking what we’re supposed to do with all this. It dosen’t give any easy answers, particularly since the two cases where someone tries to fuck the system in the show are basically illegal (No spoilers). For me, this kind of leaves me with an after-taste of “What the fuck, people, why are you being assholes?” which is usually something I try to avoid because I have yet to figure out how to manage my anger in a constructive way. That said, I think that the basic logic behind my anger is justified, and The Wire is pretty good at bringing it out in a way that I don’t feel is cheap.

And finally, where does shame come into this? Well, it comes from the fact that I feel I am something of a problem. While watching the bonus features, I watched a few things on the newspaper business and how that’s been failing due to the Internet. Apparently this has lead to the whole problem of news being available for free, so now the newspapers have to compete against people on the Internet. To an extent, people like me. I’m probably not completely at fault since I am very specific, but David Simon does have some good points. I don’t really do journalism, I just comment on other bits of journalism, which I in turn get from other people commenting on someone else’s real journalism. This comes up against the creation of works such as “The Wire,” which show a great sweeping view of the world, where as I rarely give much detail to my own reports beyond my own opinions. I am hiding in my own mind, and to some extent this bothers me.

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