Alex Massie

Watching The Wire from the Left

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At the Irish Left Review there's an interesting analysis of The Wire written by Seannachie (a sometime commenter here) that views the show as, in some respects, an allegory of contemporary capitalism while also looking at how it can be seen to straddle the Bush and Obama eras. I wouldn't agree with everything he says, but it's an interesting read and a futher reminder that the show's genius lies, like that of all great art, in the range of coherent yet conflicting interpretations that may be made of it.

This part, however, I do agree with:-

In fact it is interesting how much of the detail from the show’s depiction of West Baltimore is similar to Obama’s fine memoir Dreams from my Father; the area, like the southside Chicago of Obama’s book, is being crushed under the weight of unemployment, drugs and gun crime, with the only centres of civic support being provided by the local churches and quixotically benevolent individuals like ex-con boxing coach Cuttiey, cop-turned-teacher Roland Pryzbylewski and the former drug addict Walon, played by Steve Earle. The area is also experiencing the wave of ‘black flight’ where upwardly-mobile African-American families move to the suburbs escaping the crime and poverty, a phenomenon also noted by Obama in 1980s Chicago and a case of class trumping race, suggesting in turn that the former is by far the greater taboo in American society.

Previous Wire-related items including my libertarian reading of it here, and more goodies here, here, here, here, and here.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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