The Wire Final Season

Week 1: I Get Why David Simon Is Angry
Talking television.
Jan. 7 2008 4:47 PM

The Wire Final Season

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Dear David,

Well, you're one deep-thinking dude. I thought we were going to talk about killer Snoop and Robin Hood Omar the whole time.

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Let's look at the cities you mentioned: New York is New York, the world capital of finance. So, it has the money to stay afloat. Boston is the world academic center. If Washington goes out of business, America goes out of business. Baltimore, on the other hand, has what? Johns Hopkins, which is something, but not enough. It doesn't give meaning to Baltimore the way Yale gives meaning to New Haven, and believe me, as someone who lived in New Haven (don't worry, Yale wouldn't have taken me in a million years; it was my wife that brung me to that dance), New Haven is barely floating. What else does Baltimore have? That crappy Inner Harbor, with its wildly overpriced aquarium and its World's Fair-circa-1972 feel? Some cities get passed by, and some don't. Baltimore seems to have been passed by. And you're on to something: The percentage of a city's population that's African-American has something to do with the overall health of the city; there's simply no way around the fact that the murder and sickness and general debasement of urban African-Americans don't register as crises to most Americans. Every time I read a front-page story about death in Baghdad, I ask myself: How many African-Americans died violent deaths in the same time period in American cities, without anything more than a news brief to record the awful fact? In other words, I get why David Simon is angry.

By the way, Obama's love of The Wire speaks well of him. I don't picture Hillary going in for this sort of thing.

Jeff

Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for the Atlantic and the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror.

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