Power to HBO’s “The Wire”

Currently I’m revisiting the HBO “The Wire” series.  I watched it a couple years ago, read a couple articles on it from The Atlantic Monthly (here) and I thought it was time to once again re-watch organized gang-bangers in Baltimore.  What I enjoy about this series is how once a person scrapes below the surface of (or cultural constructs as we sometimes say in the business — and yes, the phrase cultural construct is even a cultural construct) Police and Drug Dealer and Politician and Judge and Journalist and Realtor and Commerce and Union and Lawyer, the viewer is shown exactly how interconnected they all are by the quest for money (which is analogous to power) that flows in and out of the cops, courts, politicos and, effectively, that huge thing we call the free market.

Season 1 and Season 3 of HBO's "The Wire"

To another degree David Simon, the main author of the wire, is attempting to shock his viewers. Yet we, the viewers, are just as ridiculous to think that somehow 1) money is — ahem — clean; and 2) that it ever was or could be, ahem, “clean” — whatever that word may mean.  To a large degree we ascribe the negative value judgement of “dirt” to money, but it, money, is just sitting there, empowered by the viewer and backed by the Federal Reserve and the most powerful and technologically equipped military in the history of the world (if the United States was unable to defend itself and its interests, there would be a serious under-mining of that currency — there would be, as they say, no street cred because there would be an absence of power backing it all up). So is there such a thing as virgin purity?  Only illusions of it, smoke and mirrors as we say.  But perhaps there’s more to it.

To conceive of virgin purity feeds into the reality of being able to start things anew, and perhaps this is why it’s a concept inherent to our existence.  If an individual is experiencing something new for the first time, then by all means that individual has yet to be touched by the experience.  This is why the older a person is, the less likely they are to be outrageously excited by what they come into contact with (old hat, aka, they have been there and done that).  Anyhow, the above is a slightly remixed and expanded conversation I had the other day with Nick Steffens about The Wire.


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