Harvard University is offering a class on "The Wire" a powerful series that was a masterpiece about some realities in America shown on television, which was written by David Simon an ex-newspaper investigative reporter turned school teacher who is brilliant and Ed Burns an ex-cop. It is a story that gets down to the nitty gritty and leaves no stone unstoned.
One day I happen to come across the series,"The Wire" by accident while trying to find something to watch on Comcast's On Demand program schedules. I had surgery and was bed ridden so to speak. At first, I thought to myself, okay this is just another one of those unrealistic cop and drug dealers stories. How wrong I was. I wind up watching every last series that was available that day, sixteen to be exact, until like most people I couldn't wait to see what, in the next espisode that hadn't been released yet, would happen next.
You would have to watch it for yourself to see what strange effect "The Wire" will have on you and how it even challenges you to see the humanity even in some of the bad guys in the story. You might even find yourself liking some characters such as Omar who in real life you wouldn't have anything to do with, which is another reason that made series so unique, challenging, and compelling. Of course, there are some characters that you'll love to hate as well like Naaman Brice's mother, Senator Clayton, Nerese, the top ranking police officials who are only interested in stats, and of course Marlo Stanfield.
All in all, "The Wire" was a powerful series that moved the emotions and challenged people to think beyond the surface of urban life and dug right into the root and shows why the war on drugs does not work. It was the first time that someone had written something where reality played out on the screen and delivered the cold hard facts about the drug war, poverty, capitalism, politics, economics, education,and the police department. David Simon left no stone unturned and he delivered what may be hard for some to swallow the truth.
David Simon appeared on Bill Moyers show and the two of them had an interesting exchange between the two of them regarding "The Wire" and these are some highlights from that conversation:
"If you don't need 'em, why extend yourself? Why seriously assess what you're doing to your poorest and most vulnerable citizens? There's no profit to be had in doing anything other than marginalizing them and discarding them." ~~David Simon~~
"Over the past 20 years, the elite one percent of Americans saw their share of the nation's income double, from 11.3 percent to 22.1 percent. But their tax burden shrank by about one-third." Now those facts tell us something very important. That the rich got richer as their tax rates shrunk. But it doesn't seem to start people's blood rushing, you know?" ~~Bill Moyers~~
"...Capitalism is the only engine credible enough to generate mass wealth. I think it's imperfect, but we're stuck with it. And thank God we have that in the toolbox. But if you don't manage it in some way that you incorporate all of society, maybe not to the same degree, but if everybody's not benefiting on some level and if you don't have a sense of shared purpose, national purpose, then all it is a pyramid scheme. All it is, is-- who's standing on top of whose throat? ~~ David Simon~~
"...That critical moment when American labor was pushed so much to the starving point that they were willing to fight. And I actually think that's the only time when change is possible. When people are actually threatened to the core, and enough people are threatened to the core that they just won't take it anymore. And that's-- those are the pivotal moments in American history, I think, when actually something does happen.~~ David Simon~~
"...It sounds radical at the time, but it's basically a dignity of life issue. And you look at things like that. You look at the anti-Vietnam War effort, in this country which, you know, you had to threaten middle class kids with a draft and with military service in an unpopular war for people to rise up and demand the end to an unpopular war. I mean, it didn't happen without that. So, on some level, as long as they placate enough people. As long as they throw enough scraps from the table that enough people get a little bit to eat, I just don't see a change coming." ~~David Simon~~
"...There was an institution that is supposed to serve you or that you are supposed to serve. And it's supposed to care for you, and, and be a societal positive-- it will find a way to betray you." ~~David Simon~~
"...The only reason that alcohol and cigarettes, which do far more damage than heroine and cocaine, are legal is that white people and affluent white people at that, make money off that stuff. You know? Phillip Morris was-- you know, had-- if those guys had black and brown skin and were-- you know, in the Mexican State of Chihuahua, they'd be hunted."~~David Simon~~
"David Simon says America's not working for everyday people who have no power. And that's the way the people with power have designed it to work." ~~Bill Moyers~~
"How can you not have lived through the last ten years in American culture? In everything from-- how can you not look at what happened on Wall Street and that's still happening? At this gamesmanship that was the mortgage bubble, you know? That was just selling-- again, selling crap and calling it gold. "~~David Simon~~
"How can you not look at that? Or watch a city school system suffer for 20, 25-- how can you-- isn't anger the appropriate response? What is the appropriate response? "~~David Simon~~
For those of you who haven't seen "The Wire"yet, I would recommend you buy the DVD collection set, it will be well worth the money paid for them.