Friday, July 15, 2011
Conor - The Wire, or Negative Side Effects Of Watching the Wire
Yes, yes. I recognize that Wednesday Eliot and I have brought up the Wire pretty often recently. I realize that you probably don't want to read a blog post that's me gushing about the Wire. This is not that blog post, I promise. The Wire is just a starting point to this train of thought.
I will start with a little gushing, though. Here's the part that's annoying. The Wire is very, very good. Expertly written, acted, paced and directed. The show is about Baltimore, Maryland, and a few good cops who are trying their best. Every season focuses on another aspect of Baltimore that is broken or breaking. Season 1 was about the war on drugs, Season 2 is an "elegy for America's working class," in show creator David Simon's own words, Season 3 is about politics, and 4 is about Baltimore's education system.
In a letter to all of the fans of the show, David Simon has this to say about the 5th and final season of the Wire. "This year our drama its last thematic question: Why, if there is any truth in anything presented in the Wire over the last four seasons, does that truth go unaddressed by our political culture, by most of our mass media, and by our society in general?"
I'm only midway through Season 2 right now, so I have no tackled the bulk of what the Wire has for me and many of the hard questions have not been asked yet, but what I have seen has already showcased the shows' heartbreaking sympathy for those without power. The camera sympathetically follows several of the drug dealers that in a normal show would function as the antagonist. These are people too. Some of them were born into the game. Some of them couldn't get out of they tried. David Simon and his team of writers give everyone dignity. Every single character on the show is a shade of gray.
But like I said, this post isn't really about the Wire. It's about the big questions that the Wire has sortof forced me to think about. David Simon says in his letter to the fans that "we tried to be entertaining, but in no way did we want to be mistaken for entertainment. We tried to provoke, to critique and debate and rant a bit. We wanted an argument." Simon and his writers wrote this article on the war on drugs that's very interesting and shows his general standpoint.
Simon did his homework (he was a cop reporter in Baltimore for a stretch of time), he saw several problems, and he's brought these problems to the attention of the American public through his show.
I feel like he's done something extremely worthwhile with his life. I'm not sure what the qualifications are to be "worthwhile," but David Simon has accomplished that.
Just watching the Wire makes me feel selfish. I feel like I'm a part of the problem. The Wire is fiction, but most of the events are very realistic. Similar things have occured, I'm sure. I have nothing to do with any of them and I can probably pretty easily ignore these things for my entire life. David Simon could have done that too.
So what can I do about it? How can I help? I don't know. I'm 19 and going to school for Music Composition. I'm not going to be a reporter and bring startling, terrible issues to the publics attention. I'm not going to be a detective and try to take down those who are harming others. I sortof want to, though.
Being a musician is a very selfish desire in that it's all basically for my own fulfillment. I want my music to be heard. It doesn't really effect others all that much. Think about it, if one single musician or band was gone, just never existed, would your life change all that much? Would you be tangibly less happy? I don't really think so. If Spoon never formed, my life would be exactly the same. Hell, if Ben Folds never made it, I'm pretty sure things would be pretty similar to how they are right now for me. So me being a musician will never really do anything for anyone. The world needs music in a very broad way, but not in a very specific way. The world does not need my music.
How can I help how can I help how can I help. I could give money to foundations that help people. This is a very easy way to feel like I'm making a difference. Here, take my money, just so long as I don't have to do more than that. I'm being needlessly critical of giving to charity and I don't know why. Obviously giving to charity is great, I just feel powerless. I want to do more.
I want to do more. I think I want to do more, that is. Doing more is actually a whole lot of work. It takes research, action, resolve. Not a lot of people do more, which is another lazy defense I can use. I'm in the majority when I ignore these things.
Which is sortof the point of the Wire. The theme by the end (according to David Simon's letter) is "how are we ignoring these things?"
I may mention the Wire a lot recently and I'm sure that's annoying, but this show is good enough to make me think about these things. It is a success. David Simon got the argument he was looking for.
But instead of acting on these thoughts I think I'm just going to watch more of the Wire.