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robertogreco : davidsimon   22

'The Wire' and the Realism Canard - The Awl
"Q: So I wonder what you think of Pam Newton's argument that one of the ways that The Wire is not true to life is that it downplays police corruption?

A: Truth is always from some subjective point of view. If you read David Simon's Homicide, which is one of the two books of non-fiction which feeds into the lore and the data of The Wire—Simon just loves those cops. He was like a twenty-four-year-old reporter who got to follow the cops around and go drinking with them, and I think that there are ways in which he is blind to things that were wrong with the police. But he knows a lot about the cops and their ways, and he knows a lot about the drug dealers and their ways. Because he did a year long study of both that was ethnography. And then he loves them—more than he loves the politicians, for example.

Q: You referred to David Simon's methods as ethnography, and I was thinking about Christina Sharpe's piece in The New Inquiry, where she talks about Alice Goffman's On the Run and the ethical issues raised by urban ethnography. Sharpe suggests for example that studying black people and policing black people are often part of a single continuum of control. Is The Wire a way of rationalizing and controlling and consuming the lives of certain black communities, in the interest of letting white people say, "I understand them now"?

A: I understand that criticism. And I certainly understand the criticism of the anthropologist, the journalist, the ethnographer, who goes to the foreign culture and tries to understand it, and then gets praised for their own marvelous understanding of that which would be beyond the pale if we didn't have that mediating white voice to present things. That's precisely what I think is less good about David Simon's journalism, and great about The Wire: The journalism is full of this kind of white interpretive voice that really does see an us and a them. The thing I quote from his early journalism, where he says, "The ants are here. The picnic is us," in that piece called "The Metal Men,” there it is: The ants are the people he's studying, the drug addicts, and "the picnic is us"—our houses in Baltimore, we propertied middle-class white people.

I think you're suggesting that there are ways in which The Wire has not totally divested itself of that voice, and you may be right. But it's done it better precisely because we lose David Simon's voice, and we get Bubbles, Colvin, everybody else. I would say that The Wire is more exempt from that criticism than most other works of the imagination that try to get into a culture of the other. There is a criticism of melodrama there that is well-founded, though; melodrama is what we're stuck with here."

"Q: We're stuck with melodrama because that's what The Wire is doing?

A: No. We're stuck with melodrama because it's what the culture does. It is our lingua franca of popular entertaining culture. These are the stories that we tell ourselves, in the broadest sense. Melodrama is limited; all it can do is point out these discrepancies in justice. There is a little democratic impasse that is inherent to melodrama. And yes, you can get ironic in melodrama—there are ways to handle it, but it is a limit. We want to identify and identify with the people to whom injustice is done. The only problem with that is that can end up being the white people in Birth of a Nation. Melodrama does not have a progressive ideology necessarily.

Q: In Birth of a Nation you identify with the Klan as the victims of injustice?

A: Yes, it's the former slaveowners who are oppressed by the former slaves. So that's the limit of melodrama. But I think it's important to identify the works that move us, and that grab us so well, as melodrama, and then study the way it operates. Rather than to always say, it's not melodrama, it's real, it's true. Or, Simon's way of doing it, which is to say it's tragedy.

Q: So would you identify ethnography as a kind of melodrama?

A: That's a good question. I think in many cases it is. Why do you become an ethnographer? It's because you want to understand disappearing cultures. I know that's a simplification. But you want to go travel to the Amazon and learn the language of the people who are disappearing because their culture cannot operate in this world. That kind of salvage ethnography is a kind of melodrama—“I'm going to do something to save them”—and that saving comes through a kind of understanding of the meaning and the logic of that culture."
thewire  davidsimon  2014  noahberlatsky  ethnography  alicegoffman  ethics  christinasharpe  lindawilliams  film  television  melodrama  pamnewton 
september 2014 by robertogreco
18. Webstock 2014 Talk Notes and References - postarchitectural
[Direct link to video: https://vimeo.com/91957759 ]
[See also: http://www.webstock.org.nz/talks/the-future-happens-so-much/ ]

"I was honored to be invited to Webstock 2014 to speak, and decided to use it as an opportunity to talk about startups and growth in general.

I prepared for this talk by collecting links, notes, and references in a flat text file, like I did for Eyeo and Visualized. These references are vaguely sorted into the structure of the talk. Roughly, I tried to talk about the future happening all around us, the startup ecosystem and the pressures for growth that got us there, and the dangerous sides of it both at an individual and a corporate level. I ended by talking about ways for us as a community to intervene in these systems of growth.

The framework of finding places to intervene comes from Leverage Points by Donella Meadows, and I was trying to apply the idea of 'monstrous thoughts' from Just Asking by David Foster Wallace. And though what I was trying to get across is much better said and felt through books like Seeing like a State, Debt, or Arctic Dreams, here's what was in my head."
shahwang  2014  webstock  donellameadows  jamescscott  seeinglikeastate  davidgraeber  debt  economics  barrylopez  trevorpaglen  google  technology  prism  robotics  robots  surveillance  systemsthinking  growth  finance  venturecapital  maciejceglowski  millsbaker  mandybrown  danhon  advertising  meritocracy  democracy  snapchat  capitalism  infrastructure  internet  web  future  irrationalexuberance  github  geopffmanaugh  corproratism  shareholders  oligopoly  oligarchy  fredscharmen  kenmcleod  ianbanks  eleanorsaitta  quinnorton  adamgreenfield  marshallbrain  politics  edwardsnowden  davidsimon  georgepacker  nicolefenton  power  responsibility  davidfosterwallace  christinaxu  money  adamcurtis  dmytrikleiner  charlieloyd  wealth  risk  sarahkendxior  markjacobson  anildash  rebeccasolnit  russellbrand  louisck  caseygollan  alexpayne  judsontrue  jamesdarling  jenlowe  wilsonminer  kierkegaard  readinglist  startups  kiev  systems  control  data  resistance  obligation  care  cynicism  snark  change  changetheory  neoliberalism  intervention  leveragepoints  engagement  nonprofit  changemaki 
april 2014 by robertogreco
David Simon: 'There are now two Americas. My country is a horror show' | World news | The Observer
[video of the full talk here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNttT7hDKsk ]

"The idea that the market will solve such things as environmental concerns, as our racial divides, as our class distinctions, our problems with educating and incorporating one generation of workers into the economy after the other when that economy is changing; the idea that the market is going to heed all of the human concerns and still maximise profit is juvenile. It's a juvenile notion and it's still being argued in my country passionately and we're going down the tubes. And it terrifies me because I'm astonished at how comfortable we are in absolving ourselves of what is basically a moral choice. Are we all in this together or are we all not?"



"And that's what The Wire was about basically, it was about people who were worth less and who were no longer necessary, as maybe 10 or 15% of my country is no longer necessary to the operation of the economy. It was about them trying to solve, for lack of a better term, an existential crisis. In their irrelevance, their economic irrelevance, they were nonetheless still on the ground occupying this place called Baltimore and they were going to have to endure somehow.

That's the great horror show. What are we going to do with all these people that we've managed to marginalise? It was kind of interesting when it was only race, when you could do this on the basis of people's racial fears and it was just the black and brown people in American cities who had the higher rates of unemployment and the higher rates of addiction and were marginalised and had the shitty school systems and the lack of opportunity.

And kind of interesting in this last recession to see the economy shrug and start to throw white middle-class people into the same boat, so that they became vulnerable to the drug war, say from methamphetamine, or they became unable to qualify for college loans. And all of a sudden a certain faith in the economic engine and the economic authority of Wall Street and market logic started to fall away from people. And they realised it's not just about race, it's about something even more terrifying. It's about class. Are you at the top of the wave or are you at the bottom?

So how does it get better? In 1932, it got better because they dealt the cards again and there was a communal logic that said nobody's going to get left behind. We're going to figure this out. We're going to get the banks open. From the depths of that depression a social compact was made between worker, between labour and capital that actually allowed people to have some hope.

We're either going to do that in some practical way when things get bad enough or we're going to keep going the way we're going, at which point there's going to be enough people standing on the outside of this mess that somebody's going to pick up a brick, because you know when people get to the end there's always the brick. I hope we go for the first option but I'm losing faith."



"The last job of capitalism – having won all the battles against labour, having acquired the ultimate authority, almost the ultimate moral authority over what's a good idea or what's not, or what's valued and what's not – the last journey for capital in my country has been to buy the electoral process, the one venue for reform that remained to Americans.

Right now capital has effectively purchased the government, and you witnessed it again with the healthcare debacle in terms of the $450m that was heaved into Congress, the most broken part of my government, in order that the popular will never actually emerged in any of that legislative process."
davidsimon  2013  us  capitalism  politics  economics  warondrugs  lawenforcement  socialism  karlmarx  marxism  healthcare  addiction  prisonindustrialcomplex  race  neworleans  baltimore  labor  class  greatdepression  greatrecession  marginalization  work  corruption  systems  process  systemsthinking  bureaucracy  incarceration  elections  campaignfunding  nola 
december 2013 by robertogreco
David Simon | Barack Obama And The Death Of Normal
"For lost and fretful white men, unwilling to accept the terms of a new America, Congress is the last barricade against practical and inevitable change. But there, too, the demographic inevitabilities are all in play. All the gerrymandering in this world won’t make those other Americans, those different Americans, go away. And the tyranny of minority and lack of compromise that you employ to thwart progress now will likely breed an equal contempt when the demographics do indeed provide supermajorities.

Hard times are still to come for all of us. Rear guard actions will be fought at every political crossroad. But make no mistake: Change is a motherfucker when you run from it.”

Regardless of what happens with his second term, Obama’s great victory has already been won: We are all the other now, in some sense. Special interests? That term has no more meaning in the New America. We are all — all of us…even the whitest of white guys — special interests…There is no normal. …"
culture  politics  change  republicans  minorities  davidsimon  normal  race  specialinterests  barackobama  election2012  2012  elections  us 
november 2012 by robertogreco
Musicians and cooks talk shop on "Treme" - Treme - Salon.com
"David Simon's New Orleans drama "Treme" is very good at many different things, but it has a special knack for showing how artists make art, and what it actually means to make a living from creative work. It's not easy; in fact it's often infuriating, because society at large tends to see creative work as somehow "easier" than other kinds, and because artists themselves tend to be somewhat more eccentric or even volatile than other kinds of people, and more likely to be disconnected from mundane reality.

To say that "Treme" gets all this would be an understatement. In fact, the creative process is often the glue holding the show's other disparate elements together."
treme  creativity  thecreativeprocess  howwework  howwecreate  davidsimon  2011  jazz  music  craft  food  cooking  sewing  glvo  artists  art 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Jury nullification: Just say no | The Economist
[Don't miss: http://www.rmcortes.com/books/jury/Jury-Illustrated.pdf ]

"Juries do not only decide guilt or innocence; they can also serve as checks on unjust laws. Judges will not tell you about your right to nullify—to vote not guilty regardless of whether the prosecution has proven its case if you believe the law at issue is unjust. They may tell you that you may only judge the facts of the case put to you & not the law. They may strike you from a jury if do not agree under oath to do so, but the right to nullify exists. There is reason to be concerned about this power: nobody wants courtroom anarchy. But there is also reason to wield it, especially today: if you believe that nonviolent drug offenders should not go to prison, vote not guilty. The creators of…"The Wire" vowed to do that a few years back ("we will...no longer tinker w/ machinery of the drug war," [they] wrote)…"

[See also: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1719872,00.html AND http://fija.org/ ]

[via: http://twitter.com/charlesdavis84/status/85402352378589184 ]
thewire  juryduty  citizenship  us  courts  law  legal  nullification  rights  2011  warondrugs  davidsimon  edburns  dennislehane  georgepelecanos  richardprice  drugs  drugoffenses  civics  classideas  patriotism  ethics  howto  juries  unjustlaws  checksandbalances  judges  injustice  activism  power  politics 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Why the Creator of 'The Wire' Turned the Camera to New Orleans | | AlterNet
"Simon: I'm a socialist. I'm not a Marxist, but I am a socialist. You hear these sons of bitches invoke socialism to suggest that we shouldn't have an actuarial group of 300 million people and keep all of us a little more healthy by sharing. It's a thoughtless triumph of ignorance.

Both parties fear telling the truth. The collapse of all democratic integrity over taxes is near complete. I'm making a lot of money. I should be paying a lot more taxes. I'm not paying taxes at a rate that is even close to what people were paying under Eisenhower. Do people think America wasn't ascendant and wasn't an upwardly mobile society under Eisenhower in the '50s? Nobody was looking at the country then and thinking to themselves, "We're taxing ourselves into oblivion." Yet there isn't a politician with balls enough to tell that truth because the whole system has been muddied by the rich. It's been purchased."
davidsimon  taxes  politics  us  treme  thewire  police  crime  lawenforcement  drugs  prisons  neworleans  nola  baltimore  2011  interviews  socialism  marxism  sharing  taxation  disparity  healthcare  health  policy  corruption  democracy  democrats  money  prosperity  income  incomegap  society  dwightdeisenhower 
may 2011 by robertogreco
Why the Creator of 'The Wire' Turned the Camera to New Orleans | | AlterNet
"Simon: I'm a socialist. I'm not a Marxist, but I am a socialist. You hear these sons of bitches invoke socialism to suggest that we shouldn't have an actuarial group of 300 million people and keep all of us a little more healthy by sharing. It's a thoughtless triumph of ignorance.

Both parties fear telling the truth. The collapse of all democratic integrity over taxes is near complete. I'm making a lot of money. I should be paying a lot more taxes. I'm not paying taxes at a rate that is even close to what people were paying under Eisenhower. Do people think America wasn't ascendant and wasn't an upwardly mobile society under Eisenhower in the '50s? Nobody was looking at the country then and thinking to themselves, "We're taxing ourselves into oblivion." Yet there isn't a politician with balls enough to tell that truth because the whole system has been muddied by the rich. It's been purchased."
davidsimon  taxes  politics  us  treme  thewire  police  crime  lawenforcement  drugs  prisons  neworleans  nola  baltimore  2011  interviews  socialism  marxism  sharing  taxation  disparity  healthcare  health  policy  corruption  democracy  democrats  money  prosperity  income  incomegap  society  dwightdeisenhower 
may 2011 by robertogreco
Guernica / The Straight Dope — Bill Moyers interviews David Simon, April 2011
"David Simon would be happy to find out that The Wire was hyperbolic and ridiculous, and that the “American Century” is still to come. But he's not betting on it. An excerpt from Bill Moyers Journal: The Conversation Continues, forthcoming from The New Press."

"I am very cynical about institutions and their willingness to address themselves to reform. I am not cynical when it comes to individuals and people. And I think the reason The Wire is watchable, even tolerable, to viewers is that it has great affection for individuals. It’s not misanthropic in any way. It has great affection for those people, particularly when they stand up on their hind legs and say, “I will not lie anymore. I am actually going to fight for what I perceive to be some shard of truth.”"
davidsimon  billmoyers  toread  interviews  thewire  tv  television  politics  drugs  cities  baltimore  2011  government  policy  society  economics  journalism  statistics  progress  crime  lawenforcement  criminology  urban  urbanism  laissezfaire  markets  marketfundamentalism  decriminalization  underclass  class  race  incarceration  institutions  cynicism  reform  change  individualism  people  human  humancondition  humans  democracy  control  corruption  mexico  us  ideology 
april 2011 by robertogreco
Luke's Commonplace Book | A Text Playlist
"Frank Chimero came up with the idea for a Text Playlist. I like this idea a lot. I’m a little late to the game, but here’s mine."
textplaylist  lukeneff  davidfosterwallace  thewire  davidsimon  amyhempel  anniedillard  edwardabbey  jonathanrauch  introverts  wendellberry  billmckibben  marksinger  davidmilch  inspiration  reading  toread  wisdom  passion  writing 
july 2010 by robertogreco
'The Wire' Creator David Simon on His New HBO Series, ‘Treme’ -- New York Magazine
""Fuck the exposition," he says gleefully, as we go back into the bar. "Just *be*. The exposition can come later." He describes a theory of television narrative. "If I can make you curious enough, there's this thing called Google. If you're curious about the New Orleans Indians, or 'second-line' musicians--you can look it up." The Internet, he suggests, can provide its own creative freedom, releasing writers from having to overexplain, allowing history to light the charaqcters from within."
davidsimon  thewire  writing  internet  search  narrative  freedom 
april 2010 by robertogreco
YouTube - Treme Trailer #2
"Trailer for HBO's "Treme", a post-Hurricane Katrina-themed drama that chronicles the rebuilding of New Orleans through the eyes of local musicians."
hbo  tv  davidsimon  treme  television 
march 2010 by robertogreco
Avoiding "if they like x, give them more of x" - (37signals)
"He’s [David Simon] talking TV. But when launching a business, there’s a lot to be said for starting from a point of view and knowing what you want to say too. When you do that, you have an anchor for everything you do moving forward.
tcsnmy  focus  purpose  lcproject  administration  mission  37signals  davidsimon 
january 2010 by robertogreco
YOU MIGHT FIND YOURSELF - David Simon interview with Vice Magazine
"A lot of the people who came to write for The Wire were not from a traditional TV-writing background.

If there’s anything that distinguishes The Wire from a lot of the serialized drama you see, it was that the writers were not from television. None of us grew up thinking we wanted to get to Hollywood and write a TV show or a movie. Ed [Burns] was a cop, and then he was a schoolteacher. There were journalists on the writing staff. There were novelists. There were playwrights, too. Everyone began somewhere else."
davidsimon  thewire  outsiders  writing  television  crossdisciplinary  crosspollination  transdisciplinary  journalism  via:russelldavies  outsider 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Daring Fireball: Pay Walls
"I’m not pretending to be an expert on the details of exactly how newspaper companies should adapt. But you don’t have to be an expert to notice the obvious. Newspapers are losing millions of dollars. New, online-only publications, on the other hand, are operating at a profit. And there is a stark difference between the two: new online publications are lean and mean. They are small, flat organizations where most of the employees are producing actual content."
newspapers  publishing  johngruber  paywall  businessmodels  davidsimon  advertising  news  business 
july 2009 by robertogreco
The escalating breakdown of urban society across the US | Media | The Guardian
"Yet there is also something appalling in the suggestion that a television drama - a presumed entertainment - might be a focal point for a discussion of what has gone wrong in urban America, for why we have become a society that no longer even recognises the depth of our problems, much less works to solve any of them. But where else is the why even being argued any more? Not in the stunted political discourse of an American election cycle, not in an eviscerated, self-absorbed press, not in any construct to which the empowered America, the comfortable and comforted America, gives its limited attention....we are separate nations at this point. Few of us ever cross the frontier to hear voices different from our own."
davidsimon  us  thewire  baltimore  politics  culture  tv  television  society  urban  urbanism  police  drugs  race  crime  poverty 
september 2008 by robertogreco
cityofsound: A simulated Baltimore
"A constant theme here has been how the cultural aspects of a city inform the sense of what a city is, and can be. Hence my interest in films about cities, songs about cities, writing about cities, games about cities, music scenes in cities, and so on. These all seem to be useful - or at least evocative - in terms of understanding a city, and are usually lacking in any analytical models of cities, and certainly from most urban planning and governance processes. Something we're trying to change. But it's fascinating to hear Simon describing his particular art as "constructing an American city.""
cities  davidsimon  baltimore  thewire  television  tv  identity  culture  music  cityofsound  danhill  crime  drugs  urban  urbanism  government  film  media  architecture 
september 2008 by robertogreco
Q&A: 'Watchmen' creator Alan Moore | Alan Moore | Comic-Con Q&A | Books | Entertainment Weekly | 1
"Terry [Gilliam, who aborted his attempted adaptation of the book] eventually came to agree with me. There are things that we did with Watchmen that could only work in a comic, and were indeed designed to show off things that other media can't."
comics  alanmoore  watchmen  interviews  film  adaptation  books  via:rodcorp  thewire  davidsimon 
july 2008 by robertogreco
The Believer - Interview with David Simon
"fuck the average reader...He knows nothing & he needs everything explained to him right away, so that exposition becomes incredible, story-killing burden. Fuck him. Fuck him to hell." "2 ways of traveling...w/ tour guide, who takes you to crap everyone sees...take snapshot, move on, experiencing nothing beyond crude visual & retention of few facts....other way...requires more time...stay in one place...put up your bag & go down to the local pub or shebeen...play the fool a bit & make some friends & open yourself up to a new place...time...people, soon you have a sense of another world entirely. We’re after this: Making television into that kind of travel, intellectually. Bringing those pieces of America that are obscured, ignored, otherwise segregated from ordinary & effectively arguing their relevance & existence to ordinary Americans. Saying...This is part of the country you have made. This too is who we are & what we have built."
authors  interviews  writing  davidsimon  storytelling  thewire  television  tv  baltimore  society  politics  culture  hbo  travel  cv  journalism  howwework  entertainment  slow  slowtravel  diggingin  ethnography  authenticity  crime  nickhornby 
august 2007 by robertogreco

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