Friday, October 30, 2009

The Game Is Rigged!

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.


Larry 55X said...

Sister Granny..very powerful and insightful post. Baltimore is not atypical of the major cities on the East Coast. After the Civil Right period the cities deteriorated at a rapid pace. When we could not venture out and depended upon the family/social struggle, I believe we were focused around family and upward mobility. (My family ALL the boys went to Viet Nam for upward mobility) Entering into the mainstream, post Civil- our focus was directed towards having things. We were fortunate that my mother had gone to nursing school and provided a learning foundation for the family. My father- from the "country"-provided the work ethic. Post Viet Nam education benefits accelerated my siblings economically. This story COULD NOT be repeated because all of a sudden...drugs, hustling mentality, and most of all the total destruction of weak family structures caused total chaos in Baltimore and other cities. I believe this was duplicated in most citites on some level. The story "The Wire" is the real deal. I have compassion for the victims who had not the means to escape. Today this same style of governance is seen everywhere. As an addeum, is this the road-block for health care? The 'haves" don't want the "have nots" to obtain health. PS...urban areas of the east was never conducive to Black family...large percentage of population was males fleeing South for safety and jobs. The migration of us did not foster strong/long standing extended families in places like Baltimore. It sad that we need one man's misery for another man's prosperity. StillaPanther2

Sarge said...

Isn't there a Don Henley song about "Everybody knows the dice are loaded"? but they roll them just the same...

When I was a lot younger, just as dumb (about different things, though) in 1973 I read an article in an economic magazine that was subtitled, "It's Time To Kill The Goose That Laid the Golden Egg" and had a pretty comprehensive blueprint about dumping the middle and lower classes down the tubes because they cost too much.

And since then, I've watched everything the author proposed come to pass.

makes me half sick to think about it.

BigmacInPittsburgh said...

Nice post Granny,I have been a fan of the Wire from day one.I was hooked from the beginning having grown up in the Western District of Baltimore.

GrannyStandingforTruth said...

Larry 55X:

"As an addeum, is this the road-block for health care? The 'haves" don't want the "have nots" to obtain health."

You brought up a good point because that is what America is truly about when you get right down to it.."have nots" and "haves"

That is one book I haven't read but I'm gonna have to check it out if it's still available. That song has either got to be a Blues or Country Western because those two genre usually deal with real life experiences. :)


Thank you, I'm glad you liked it. I too was a fan of "The Wire". My daughter used to say don't call momma during when its on, because she will not answer the phone. Yup, guilty as charged. :)

What I found amazing about "The Wire" was that it showed the vicious circle of poverty and how people can get caught up in the system, how it sucks them up like a vacuum, swallows their hopes and dreams, and spits them out into a life of despair.