6.21.2009

Why "The Wire"

Because it is relentlessly smart, never condescending, simplifying, reductive. On the contrary, it follows the proliferation, the entwining, the vast network of capitalist effect. And it does so with the basic stuff of art: affect. Rarely didactic, it gives us the exquisite timbre and tone of a humanity writhing and struggling amidst its own decay.

No one wins and everything is beautiful, hilarious, and depressing.

Stringer, going to MBA night school, approaching his drug business as any other business. Stringer, trying to make it in the straight game and being taken shameless advantage of and there's not a thing he can do about it. His partner, Avon, sticking to his gangster ways and getting fucked that way, too.

Omar Little, perhaps the greatest contribution to the American pantheon: his impossible but true ethics, his homosexuality, an outlaw from the law and the criminals alike, he is distinctly American in the tradition of Burroughs' Kim Carsons.

The ubiquity of the bureaucratic stupidity that reigns over everything — police, school, politics.

The pathos: oh, the pathos, so complex and so palpable, of the boys on the street, at the periphery of the game.

Cedric Daniels' cool fucking body and voice and posture.

The endless boozing, the only way to quiet the madness.

Kima's "marital" problems once she breeds are enough to eviscerate me. Oh, Kima.

The futility of Colvin's all-too-obvious wisdom and heart.

Bubbles: Jesus, Bubbles — the plucky junky who is had every which way and who is dying while we watch.

The ironic thing, perhaps, is that the very fact that The Wire was made — that something this smart and this well written and this critical could ever come to fruition — gives me the hope that is conpsicuously absent in the show itself.


To wit:

2 comments:

V said...

In his intro to Confederacy of Dunces, Walker Percy describes Burma Jones as a nearly impossible comedic coup for being a "a superb character of immense wit and resourcefulness without the least trace of Rastus minstrelsy." I think Omar is the gay equivalent, and straight out of Burroughs for sure.

fernando said...

you would be the one wearing the wire, daniel. fo sho.