It seems that despite the most temperate reply possible, I’ve been drawn into another absurdist debate about whether The Wire, or Homicide, or perhaps even The Corner is good or bad for Baltimore. This time, the righteous indignation about the tarnish applied to my city’s reputation is from a gentleman named Mike Rowe. A Baltimore native, he is employed elsewhere in this great diaspora of television and he has now assumed the mantle of defender of my city’s reputation.
Archive for category: Prose Work
This essay appears in the July 21, 2014 issue of Sports Illustrated. It appears on this site with the gracious permission of the magazine’s editors.
To the beaten dog, every sudden movement is another impending brutality in a lifetime of such. Eventually, even the most modest and trivial move in the mutt’s direction induces a simpering cower.
UPDATE: 12 p.m., July 4
I am informed that the Huff Post piece has now removed the reference to my having been fired. Instead, apparently, my revenge was had upon editors who spiked one of my articles because my writing wasn’t “Dickensian” enough. They never said anything of the sort to me or anyone else, and that is not actually the reason that particular article was spiked. I carefully related the actual sequence of events to Dr. Williams in my April memo as a discussion of that particular article and its fate features throughout her manuscript, but no matter. With regard to the Huff Post essay at least, I am libeled no more and I thank the author for her apology at the bottom of the essay.
I had the distinct honor of being asked to write an essay for the recent release of Steve Earle’s extraordinary post-1995 songbook, when he came roaring back from addiction and a brief incarceration to reassert himself as one of our most relevant songwriters. Yes, Steve is at this point a friend and colleague, having worked with us on “The Wire” and “Treme” both. But I’d’ve written what follows if I had only the music itself on which to rely. For those who have not yet savored Mr. Earle and his work, the new boxed set, “Steve Earle: The Warner Brothers Years,” which includes audio and video live performances from that period as well as three essential studio recordings, is a perfect entry point into what has become an extraordinary canon of American roots music.
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Last fall, when the revived Baltimore Orioles made their first journey to the playoffs in fifteen years, I was contacted by Sports Illustrated and asked if I had anything in the way of an essay. As a matter of fact, in the closing days of season, with the O’s on the heels of the hated Yankees for the division title, I was about ready to open a vein. What follows appeared in the October 1, 2012 edition of the magazine, which featured a cover shot of the Oriole outfielders jump-bumping in celebration of a victory. I was a proud fan indeed, though terrified as well that I had provoked the dreaded SI cover jinx.