Final Paper – David Simon Storytelling

As a result of reading an article in “Film Quarterly” on The Wire and the transcript of a TimesOnline interview with David Simon on why he created The Wire, and my own interest in the progression of Simon’s storytelling, journalism, narrative nonfiction, creative nonfiction, and social journalism, I am leaning toward researching and writing a final paper that discusses Simon’s progression as a storyteller. The paper would discuss how the series Homicide is Simon’s first engagement with representations of the underside of society to television audiences. In the book Homicide, billed as a work of journalism, Simon stands on the outside with the police authorities looking in on a series of murders, and eventually he melds into their routines. An analysis of The Corner would reveal how it represents Simon’s direct confrontation with the lives of the neighborhood characters, even though he retains relationships with the police. In the instance of The Corner, Simon has inserted himself on the inside of the community to reveal its frightening nature to the outside, the television viewer. Billed as “stand around and watch journalism,” the narrative truth of The Corner leaves itself open to question and discussion that it leans more toward “creative nonfiction” than journalism. Simon states unequivocally that The Wire is fiction. However, its themes over the seasons, the complexities and ambiguities of its characters, and the urban, social, cultural, economic, political and governmental scenarios that it creates and connects represent a culmination of Simon’s storytelling and journalistic concerns. I am not completely sure what the research will turn up over the next few days, but I think a case can be made to connect Simon’s storytelling progression in these three series, each with its own distinctions, with his concern for creating entertainment that comes with the opportunity for the interrogation of socio-economic, cultural and political conditions. This may be too much to tackle and I’ll have to figure out a way to hone it down to a manageable thesis. I need to put more thought into the actual thesis question I’m attempting to answer. I’m open to any suggestions.

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