Frustrated with speaking to the public through interviews, David Simon has started a new blog, “The Audacity of Despair,” at DavidSimon.com. While the Wire creator says he has owned the domain for years, it seems to have been his controversial comments in recent interviews—Simon called the rise of TV recapping “ridiculous,” and disparaged “people who arrived to The Wire late,” before later clarifying his comments —that led Simon to turn to his own website.
In one of his first posts, Simon further clarifies his annoyance with Wire fanboyism, as expressed in things like Grantland’s recent bracket to determine The Wire’s greatest character and Vulture’s bracket to determine the best drama of the last 25 years (which, I would point out, did contain some serious criticism). The problem, he says, is not that these fans are coming to the show late—though he does wonder where these fans were while the show struggled to stay on the air—but rather that engaging with the show in this way, such as by ranking its coolest characters, is too shallow. Simon in particular takes issue with Grantland editor Bill Simmons’ choice, when asking President Obama a question about The Wire, to ask him to name his favorite character. Simon offers that the better question would have been this one:
“Mr. President. I know you’ve said you’re a fan of The Wire. Well, one of that show’s basic critiques is that the drug war is amoral. More Americans are now in prison than ever before, and the percentage of violent offenders in prison is lower than ever. We are now the jailingest society in the world, incarcerating more of each other than even totalitarian states. How can we go on supporting this?”
If this seems like an “asshole” (Simon's word) question to ask in a sports interview, Simon doesn’t seem to care. Simon suggests instead that rather than “hacking [The Wire] … into pop-culture nuggets,” the media and fans should focus on the real questions the show raises, about the drug war, about our system of education, and about free market capitalism. Of course, as Simon also acknowledges, having fun with the show and taking it seriously are not mutually exclusive—even the show’s creators had fun writing it.
For more of Simon’s plea, which is worth reading in full, and also contains some thoughts about media's coverage of the Trayvon Martin case, head to this post. Elsewhere on the site you can read Simon’s thoughts on blogging (Simon fears an “e-race to the bottom,” but also seems to resign himself to the fact that the game’s the game), the Pulitzers (the problem is writing work only to win a Pulitzer, not submitting it yourself once it’s written), and more. Once you’re done engaging with those more serious issues, and perhaps even donating to some of Simon’s suggested “Worthy Causes,” you can reward yourself by checking out the retirement ticket for the real “Bunk.”