A Critique of “The Wire” as an Outsider’s Tragedy Narrative

A Critique of “The Wire” as an Outsider’s Tragedy Narrative June 9, 2015

written by a Baltimorean and a fan of the show:

The closest the show gets to presenting an autonomous Black solution to Black problems is Cutty’s boxing gym, and the fate of the young people who cycle through there frame the effort largely as a failure.

more (via Loftus)–among other things, looks at how Simon’s choice of genre (tragedy of institutions) locked him into a narrative where the important forces work on black communities from the outside.

I agree w/Loftus that there’s an unrealistic absence of church in the show, too. I mean yes, it’s there sometimes, but I just finished reading Snoop’s memoir and the thing is just soaked in the language of the church and the people of God. Jesus is everywhere in her book even though she herself is not a churchgoer. You don’t see that ubiquity, intensity, and diversity of religious experience on the show. (Which I, like the author of this article, think was a groundbreaking and truly terrific piece of television.) That may make “The Wire” prescient about the unchurching of the poor, but it’s less true to the show’s 1990s context. And less interesting, but you all already know my bias there.


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