Really, I am going back to my work imminently. I thought this post-production reflection on the interpretation of "The Wire" in the US and the UK good to read. Simon acknowledges the limitations of the show (gender issues, immigration, etc), but he also points out why the stories they told were important to represent.
I received an email from someone who has lived most of his life in the Baltimore area (though grew up outside the city), and it disturbed me how pessimistic and critical he was of the state of the city. Ironically, there was a time when I offered similar critiques, and he vociferously defended the city. What upset me most about this person's critique was that it felt so hateful. My past critiques of Baltimore have always felt deeply emotional and sad, but this person just sounded bitter. In contrast, Simon does acknowledge that things in the city don't change, even as there are public claims to decreased crime and mayors become governors, but he also pushes the problem a little further and tries to unpack the complexity of the city's dynamic.
Unlike the email I received in which the final position was ultimately, "fuck Baltimore," Simon actually seems concerned with both the global and local challenges of Baltimore. What I found so compelling about the show was that as the seasons developed, it was clear that what happens in the streets branches back to those who live in the plush neighborhoods of Roland Park or Guilford. And I guess I see public health and public policies so often concentrating on the individual actors who are caught up in structural phenomena that are far more intricate than just "getting people off the streets".
Perhaps when I'm not thinking so chaotically, I'll write about this more, as it merits more discussion than a lazy nod to its link.
oh, but WTF, at the bottom of the page of the article, there's a slideshow of "Snoop" and "Marlo" modelling "cutting edge" fashion...um, not that (fictional) gangsters shouldn't be dapper, but there is something super-contradictory to have Simon's political economy critique coupled with high-end fashion and consumerism.