Secrets of the City

If Lanahan’s article taught me anything, it’s that David Simon thinks extremely highly of himself and his opinions. I was a bit shocked about how hard he came down on his bosses, although I understand he was venting his frustration (the cancer comment definitely made him look bad). What was most fascinating for me is how Simon uses the Wire to directly confront his main criticism of modern journalism: stories are too “small, self-contained, and has good guys and bad guys” (Lanahan 28). The Wire is clearly the most influenced by Simon of The Corner, Homicide, and the Wire. Homicide and the Corner were focused and self-contained, whereas the Wire tries to tackle the whole issue of crime in the inner city. Simon succeeds in showing all sides, and the viewer is constantly bombarded with reminders of how pointless this war on drugs truly is.

With that being said, I have to disagree with Simon’s claim that the Wire is a show about the collapse of the American Empire. It is true that we have a major problem in our American inner cities, a problem that shouldn’t be so large considering our enormous wealth. However, I do not see the problem of crime in the inner city destroying our country, nor do I share a great fear of the great American collapse (plus England seems to be doing alright). Where I think the Wire does succeed is bringing awareness to the problems of the American inncer city. Maybe all the upper class white HBO subscribers will feel compelled to take action against the injustices done unto our fellow countrymen. Or maybe not. Regardless, the Wire, unlike any other “police procedural” has pushed the boundary so far that people don’t blink when Simon makes the claim that his show is about the end of the American empire.

2 responses to “Secrets of the City

  1. You make the claim that you do not see the problem of crime in the inner city destroying our country and that you do not share a fear of the great American collapse, but did you ever think that you represent the precise audience demographic Simon is speaking to? I agree with you that the Wire succeeds in bringing awareness to the failures in American institutions, but I’m not so sure Simon wants our awareness on the decline of the American empire. Instead, I think he wants us to realize the drastic cost of our American Empire, and the chinks in the foundation of what we assume is perfect.

  2. I absolutely agree that I am in the demographic that Simon is speaking to. I also agree that he wants us to see the chinks in the foundation and try to do something about it. However, Simon does have an extremely dark view of the future, and he claims that the show foreshadows his grim vision: “[there will be] more gated communities and more of a police state…and were some one to say he didn’t know it was coming, Simon said, it will at least be possible to pull The Wire off the shelf and say, ‘Don’t you say you didn’t know this was coming. Because they made a fucking TV show out of it.'” The point of my post was that I think Simon is a bit egotistical, and his claim that the America is going to turn into a police state is a real negative view of the future I don’t necessarily buy into. Just because we have all these problems in the inner city(which I absolutely do think should be addressed much better than the system currently allows) does not mean our country is going to collapse. If anything, levels of poverty have decreased over time in this country.