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Bill Moyers interviews David Simon of The Wire

  1. Mar 6, 2010 #1
    I'm sure many of you have seen the HBO show The Wire. Personally I have just started the first season. My sister sent me this these youtube clips and I found them fascinating. One point I thought a lot about was something to the effect that America is content to leave the ghettos as they are, given blacks only kill blacks and they stay in the ghetto. Also the point that these ghettos are lost zones. They are not productive or needed in America so people are willing to forget them. I've lived in downtown milwaukee for nearly 8 years now and it has a pretty sizable ghetto. In fact I'd call it half the city. The other half is primarily upper class white folk and is really fantastic. But the thing that dawned on me is that I've lived here 8 years and actually haven't seen half the city. I sometimes drive through it, but mostly it's a dead zone. A lost world. One in which I am maybe 10 blocks away from and yet never see.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qulcqNMHVic

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JeNc5y7lpYA
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 7, 2010 #2

    mheslep

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    ...

    Great series, I watched all 5 seasons. Probably the best drama I've ever seen on TV. Omar was my favorite character. 'Do tell'

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYj7q_by_2E
     
  4. Mar 8, 2010 #3

    Ivan Seeking

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    A great interview with a number of quote-worthy comments. Perhaps most striking to me were his comments about police skills being lost through fast and easy drug busts. I had never considered that one before; that law enforcement has gone the way of McDonalds.

    Hopefully he is overly pessimistic, but it can't be denied that the problems ranging from the futility and obscenity of the war on drugs, to the loss of inner-city jobs, to the death of credible investigative journalism, are foreboding. Of these, the death pangs of journalism are what concern me the most. A free and meaningful press is what makes solutions to the other problems possible.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2010
  5. Mar 8, 2010 #4

    Astronuc

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    I too thought there were quote-worthy comment, e.g., "We used to make stuff in this country", "Now we just have our hands in the other guys pocket."

    Not much seems to have changed in 30 or 40 years since I used to wander the streets. Now it's the grandchildren of the generation of kids I used to see.
     
  6. Mar 8, 2010 #5

    mheslep

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    As much as I like The Wire, I find Moyer's description of Simon as the second coming of Gibbons (Rise and Fall ...) ridiculous. What we know about Simon is that he's a talented story teller and film maker, with a background as a beat reporter. There are many beat reporters. I've known a few well. They don't have any special claim on profound revelations of societal truths. My own Simon cynicism started when he went on and on disparaging our 'fact' based society and statistics, especially when he took his finding that stats are sometimes falsified by authorities as grounds to throw all the data out the window.
     
  7. Mar 8, 2010 #6

    mheslep

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    Favorite The Wire character nominations?
     
  8. Mar 8, 2010 #7

    Ivan Seeking

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    According to Simon, they are virtually extinct. It is undeniable that being a crime reporter for a major paper, in a major city, for twelve years, provides a birds-eye view of the street scene. Are you suggesting that someone who has no similar experience, say a college student, is just as qualified to comment on crime?

    When does he do that? He never said we should throw all data out the window. He said that statistics can be used to misrepresent the truth; primarily by playing games with definitions. That IS a fact-based statement.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2010
  9. Mar 8, 2010 #8

    Ivan Seeking

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    I had to quote Moyers in the favorite quotes thread.

    Now that's funny!
     
  10. Mar 8, 2010 #9

    Astronuc

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    My father used to counseling in the trauma center at Ben Taub hospital in Houston. That's where the most critical cases from the city were sent. He worked with families of violent crimes, industrial accidents and automobile accidents. He dealt with famililes of criminals, their victims and sometimes police officers shot or killed in the line of duty.

    He was present when some guy walked in, pulled a gun, and shot some other guy waiting on a stretcher. Back in the 70's, the trauma center received 2 or 3 gun shot victims per night. It seemed to go up on Friday and Saturday nights.
     
  11. Mar 8, 2010 #10

    Integral

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    Just a nit picky point here. Edward Gibbon's work was actually called the "The History of the DECLINE and Fall of the Roman Empire"

    It starts after the death of Julius Caesar so really does not cover the Rise of the Empire. (Yes, I have read it.)

    Futher you never really explained why the analogy with Gibbon was bad?
     
  12. Mar 8, 2010 #11

    marcus

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    I'm trying to find the right way to put the two youtube interview clips into an email to send to my friend.

    qulcqNMHVic

    JeNc5y7lpYA

    Greg's post had these two codes framed by "[ youtube ]" brackets.

    I never watched any "wire" episodes. David Simon gets my respect for his intelligence and blunt intellectual honesty. I also like Robert Reich.
    Well, that was easy, you just prefix the codes with http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=
    and say:



     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  13. Mar 8, 2010 #12

    mheslep

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    Arg, sorry, I meant Gibbon's Decline and Fall, but in haste bungled the name with Shirer's 'Rise and Fall of the Third Reich'

    Gibbon was a historian, a scholar. We can say this because his work contained factual detail and argument for which it could be critiqued by other historians and serious thinkers like David Hume. His Decline became a fundamental go-to history of Rome for a century, maybe two. He attempted to capture the themes of an entire civilization, backed up with six volumes of detail. From what little I know, it changed how history was written after its publication, raising the bar. Despite its flaws I suspect it will sit prominently on library shelves for a couple more centuries.

    Simon is a talented film maker and story teller who may, or may not, have accurately portrayed some of the mechanisms and tragedies of US society. I very much enjoy this work. That doesn't yet place him in the English cannon.
     
  14. Mar 8, 2010 #13

    mheslep

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    Yes, but after watching the entire interview I had the impression he didn't stop there; he went further - something along the lines (IIRC) of 'any' institution, or 'any' authoritative body would have 'fifty people' assigned to trying to 'juke' the stats, as soon as there was something at stake.
     
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