Friday, October 10, 2008

the wire

I wrote about the wire a while back when I'd only seen the first season. I'm disappointed by how it reads now, but I stand by what I see as incredible tension between what the creator thinks he's saying and what the show actually shows. He says
.…[I]t is a deliberate argument that unencumbered capitalism is not a substitute for social policy; that on its own, without a social compact, raw capitalism is destined to serve the few at the expense of the many.
I don't know how you get that by endlessly showing how corrupt policing, justice, politics and education are. These are are very important parts of society, but they are the least capitalist.

Anyway, I'm always thrilled when a hero of mine writes something with the same general idea (but better). Here's part of what Robin Hanson thinks
The overall moral of the story seems to me largely libertarian. A renegade cop effectively legalizing drugs in one area works out great, and the show's writers have a Time oped supporting drug law jury nullification. Dire consequences follow from child labor and prostitution being illegal. The police, courts, prisons, schools, and city hall are unrelentingly corrupt and dysfunctional, because voters don't much care.
Robin points out that it's pretty disturbing that if even someone like David Simon doesn't see disconnect between his abstract theorising and the world he portrays what does it say about our beliefs? Am I just seeing what I want to see in the show and completely wrong about what I see as a fatal tension in his worldview? Are my concrete beliefs religious, stasist, racist etc and I don't even know it?

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