What Denominations Can Learn from “The Wire”

What Denominations Can Learn from “The Wire” December 15, 2011

You can bet that I’m going to link to any post that uses The Wire to school denominational hierarchy, as Wesley Hill does here:

That seems counterintuitive given the focus of “The Wire.” The HBO drama aired from 2002 through 2008 and centers on drug trafficking and the police force in West Baltimore. It’s brilliant — albeit deeply unsettling — television, so much so that multiple universities now offer classes on the show to introduce students to its unflinching portrait of modern urban poverty. David Simon, the creator of “The Wire,” has been outspoken about his belief that “$%!# rolls downhill,” or put differently: hierarchical organization of institutions inevitably benefits those at the top and takes advantage of those occupying the support roles in the pyramid. “The Wire,” Simon has said, is “cynical about institutions, and about their capacity for serving the needs of the individual.”

Despite this apparent tension with what we’re about here at Call & Response — Christian institutions and their flourishing — I think Simon’s show offers us an important perspective on what a commitment to institutions amounts to — and what may be its cost.

Read the rest: Duke Divinity Call & Response Blog | Faith & Leadership | Wesley Hill: It can’t be a lie.

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  • Lock

    I had to stop watching the Wire because of how dark it was. Very well written. First couple of episodes uses the F-bomb too much in the dialogue to make it hokey, but the show finds its sweet spot of story telling at about S1 E4.

    Also I remember someone predicting this for 2011: Christopher Hitchens died today at the age of 62.

    • I was sad to hear about Hitchens as well. And correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t episode four the one featuring the infamous Bunk/McNulty crime “fuck” scene? Not complaining, as I believe “The Wire” to be the greatest thing ever committed to television. Just funny that you’d complain about too much swearing, then cite that as the jumping off point.

      • Lock

        The dialogue was really out of rhythm the first couple of episodes for mainly the f-bomb being used to much to cover for bad dialogue scripting.

        • I absolutely love the ear for dialogue that David Simon and his team of writers have, so I would debate this until the end of time, but I would just throw out there the suggestion of reading Simon’s first book “Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets” as evidence that indeed, Baltimore police actually speak like that. And yes, they do swear that much. My apologies if I seem really anal about it, but I am an insanely devout follower of pretty much everything that the man has done.

          • Lock

            Books and motion picture scripts are different skill. Simon may not have written the script.