I’ve had a leasehold on for years now.  People smarter than I am told me that even if I had no sense of its use at present, I should throw a few shekels down in case.  But until recently, I saw no reason to do much of anything with the site.

My ambivalence rests on a couple basic ideas:

  1. I’m a writer, and while I’m overpaid to write television at present, the truth is that the prose world from which I crawled — newsprint and books — is beset by a new economic model in which the value of content is being reduced in direct proportion to the availability of free stuff on the web. In short, for newspapers and book publishers, it has lately been an e-race to the bottom, and I have no desire to contribute to that new economy by writing for free in any format.  Not that what is posted here has much prolonged value -— or in the case of previously published prose, hasn’t soured some beyond its expiration — but the principle, in which I genuinely believe, holds:  Writers everywhere do this to make a living, and some are doing fine work and barely getting by for their labor.  Anything that says content should be free makes it hard for all writers, everywhere.   If at any point in the future, this site offers more than a compendium of old prose work and the odd comment or two on recent events — if it grows in purpose or improves in execution— I might try to toss up a small monthly charge in support of one of the 501c3 charities listed in the Worthy Causes section.  And yes, I know that doing so will lose a good many readers; but to me, anyway, the principle matters.   A free internet is wonderful for democratized, unresearched commentary, and it works well as a library of sorts for content that no longer requires a defense of its copyright.  But journalism, literature, film, music—  these endeavors need people operating at the highest professional level and they need to make a living wage.  Copyright matters.  Content costs.
  2. This stuff takes time.  And those who know me understand that while it is refreshing to meet people with no opinions, I am not that fellow. I like to argue.  I don’t take the argument itself personally — and I am often amazed at so much outsized commentary that assumes otherwise — but rather I delight in pursuing a good, ranging argument.  It’s why I value a writer’s room so much.  It’s why I used to love a healthy newsroom, which I have described as a magical place where everyone disagrees with everything all of the time.  Arguments make the work better; when people stop arguing, or at least arguing intelligently, absent the usual half-assed, rhetorical cheating, the work invariably suffers.  So, for me, any dialectic is a temptation.  And I may find that given so much work I owe already, even a brief sortie into an issue or two or a stray comment on current events will sound as a siren song.  I may want to shut this venue down three weeks after anyone finds it, if they do.  I may, forgive me, find that I need to disable the comments and simply use the blog to highlight stuff and then run like hell.  Apologies in advance if it comes to that.

On the positive side of the ledger:

  1. Every now and then, over breakfast, or in the office, or late at night, I read something or hear something that impresses or infuriates or amuses, or that provokes an interesting back-and-forth between family members or colleagues.  An argument or discussion gets good, a joke ripens nicely.  It’s stuff that isn’t going into a script or into any shard of published prose, and its shelf-life is often short.  Maybe that’s what a blog is for.
  2. It’s nice to have a small billboard with which one can highlight and link to the work of others we admire, to simply recommend the good stuff. And, similarly, it helps to highlight the non-profit affiliations supported by the projects that we’re working on in Baltimore and New Orleans.  Maybe a bit more good comes from such.
  3. In these later years, I’ve come to discover that from time to time, media folk call me to ask a question or two.  Being exactly who the hell I am, I actually haven’t done much until now to filter my answers.  I speak bluntly, but speaking, alas, isn’t writing, and very recently, I had to waste half a weekend swimming through some foment of my own creation.  For lack of clarity, I managed to say something that I not only don’t believe, but that is contradicted by every other interview that precedes it.  The fault was largely my own, but a remedy, I realized, was problematic.

Calling back the reporter who had used what I thought was a specific critique in the most general and absurd way, I found that I was either obliged to continue working through him to correct the record — and trusting in a dynamic that had failed already, or alternatively, I had to offer myself up in another interview to a reporter who I knew for certain would endeavor to deliver my answers in context, but who was more interested in other topics than the one which concerned me.

And in the middle of this, my wife — who uses both words and the internet better than I do — reminded me of the long fallow field of If that thing was up and running, she pointed out, you could simply say, in your own words, precisely and carefully what you intended to say in the first place, without having to rely on a filter.  This is the grand triumph of the internet, after all; there’s no arguing with the democratization inherent.  You could, she told me, simply say what you meant and have that on the record.  The simplicity of this had considerable appeal.

So here goes.

Don’t send screenplays, or manuscripts for quotes, or actor glossies.  Please.  There are professional venues for such and if stuff comes to me correct, I do the best I can.  Promise.  If it comes at me through this venue, I won’t — can’t — respond.  Counterarguments and counterprovocations on any given issue — let’s say that again, issue — are entirely welcome, whether I have time to respond or not. Ad hominem rage, flattery and posted links for cheap timeshares, naked photographs of your ex-girlfriend at a small monthly fee and invitations to a larger penis in just weeks are politely discouraged.


David Simon



  • Can you please give a recommended reading list for those of us who want to learn more about the real world influences behind the stories of The Deuce Mr. Simon?

  • I just really want to say thank you for The Deuce… Storytelling at its finest sir! My heart is full AND tonight was only episode 4!!
    I’m forever grateful for this piece of film.
    Thank you!

  • Hey David,
    I currently work for the Department of Homeland Security on the legal immigration side. The Wire has shaped so much of my political ideology. I’ve seen a rumor that the 6th season of The Wire would have been related to Immigration. Your show has offered so many solutions to our societies current dilemmas. I’ve always wondered what would The Wire say about Immigration? What Immigration Reforms would you propose to be in the show? These are dark times and there has never been a better time to bring change into our agency. It’d be great to talk in detail about the challenges and policies we’d need to change in order to solve this never ending dilemma. Thanks in advance!

  • I have two things in common with you well three if you count me in as one of your fans of your television shows, but the first one is me being at your commencement speech at Constitution Hall for BCC, attending my daughters graduation and the second is being Rodney French‘s cousin. I’m a news cameraman in downtown DC from Nebraska. It’s a cold rainy day and I was reading the New York Times about “repackaging” then went to your website and looked up your commencement speech again and send it to my daughter. so that’s it, I think everyone should reread that commencement speech of yours periodically, especially us born Into the privileged circumstances you mention. Oh and also to thank you, I’ve kind of adopted it as my own “graduation” from 1980, that I have no recollection about, whatsoever.



  • Strange question for you David

    If for some reason there was an industry wide Journalism strike, where all Journos and Opinion Columnists from all publications went on strike. Would you consider posting something to a blog like this to be crossing the picket line?

  • Dear Mr. Simon: I recently read an upcoming project that you are working on regarding the Spanish Civil War. Not only is this a subject that has been overlooked in Spain, but has also been overlooked here. Growing up in the United States I was led to understand that Franco and the fascist were bad and the Republicans and all who supported them were good. It was not until I read a book by the author Hugh Thomas, the Spanish Civil War, that are beyond understood how complicated in multi dimensional this conflict was. In short, it was a cluster fuck. To distill this conflict to a simple “good guys versus bad guys“ scenario does not do justice to the legitimate interests that were implicated nor does it how to account the parties that chose To use Spain and its people as a petri dish, whether those individuals were socialist, communist, fascist, or Nazis. I certainly hope that you and your team research this conflict well. To date what Has been publicized and reported just not do justice to all of the victims.

  • You want to talk about my mother you bitch? You total fucking bitch? You seriously want to disrespect my mother, after writing a wonderful TV series and letting it go to your head on Twitter, you fucking bitch. You wanna talk about MY MOTHER? You cunt. You don’t know my mother. I would never, ever talk about yours, you fucking bitch, you dork nerd. With your horrible political takes. You have no fucking right to talk about my mother. I’m in Pittsburgh. I will fucking punch you in the face if you ever come here, you fucking cunt. I’m sure you can sue me or whatever, but i don’t care. You don’t get to talk about my mother. She is a saint, and you’re a fucking hack. I will kick your living ass. Go live out your Hemingway fantasy and kill yourself you piece of utter hack shit

    • Isn’t this an example of the very “ad hominem” rage Mr. Simon has always discouraged on this blog? I’m surprised it’s been posted here with no kind of response whatsoever. Now I honestly don’t know what the issue was with Mr. Simon and you’re mother, but I would certainly hope he attacked her at the very same basic level that you did him here. That would of course be quite unlike the man as I’ve seen him here and elsewhere, but for no other reason can I imagine you posting these harsh and frankly silly word choices.

  • David,

    I wanted to make sure you know about our High School Reunion this Sat 10/20! Also there is a Happy Hour the night before (10/19) at Harp & Fiddle. Sorry to reach out this way, but I couldn’t find you any other way!

  • Hi David,

    I’m a lowly crime reporter in a town just north of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I am the last reporter covering Newmarket courthouse. During my time I have come across a huge variety of stories, but non so riveting as that of Jennifer Pan. It is one of the greatest true crime stories ever (in my humble opinion). It was so fascinating I spent two years of my life working on the case. First I wrote about it for the newspaper (10 month trial), then I wrote about it as a true crime novel. I want to send you my book. I want to produce it, but I refuse to have it done by anyone not willing to do it right. You, I trust implicitly. From one lowly crime writer to another, would you take the time to read this book? It’s called A Daughter’s Deadly Deception. If you send an mailing address to me I will have one sent down post haste! Thanks for reading and I can’t wait to hear your thoughts. Yours fatefully, Jeremy Grimaldi

  • David, I just read your current Rolling Stone interview (been sharing it all over). I share your dismay. It’s depressing.

    I am also a HUGE fan of your voluminous work. I must have watched every season, every episode of The Wire at least a dozen times (marginally my fav seasons are 2 and 5. Marginally). I can cite huge swaths of the screenplay from memory. Your other works are equally compelling. You have much to be proud of. You are an important voice, bro’.

  • David, I have a great idea for a series about a city, the area of Buffalo, New York has become run down with the departure of steel mills and has been replaced by call centers for debt collectors. I myself have a Federal lawsuit against a few of them and the New York Attorney General has even formed a task force to deal with them. There is even a group of them that are apparently operating a call center out of a small food production factory. The AAG I have been talking to have laughed at the notion that it is almost like Breaking Bad, instead of a meth lab under a commercial laundry, they have under a chicken wrap factory

  • Greetings from Brazil, David. I’m currently watching The Wire for the second time and I’d like to know what is the thing with the number 221, that is always appearing on the show. Lucky number? Sherlock Holmes fan? 🙂

    • No. There was in fact a 221 Fremont that was the address of a highrise at Lexington Terrace that was an extremely active drug market in the days before the highrises were leveled by the Baltimore housing authority.

      • Hi, David … Greetings from Brazil too.

        After watching the series (Homicide, The Corner, The Wire, Treme, Generation Kill, etc) I was able to observe how many US cities (especially New Orleans and Baltimore) have a lot in common with Brazilian culture. ‘Treme’ from New Orleans reminds me Salvador, with a passion for music, gastronomy and pleasant people, as well as coping with the neglect of the recovery of a city and the preservation of that culture. ‘The Wire’ from Baltimore reminds me of Rio de Janeiro, which is currently under federal intervention because of violence and a real war declared by drug dealers, against the population and against the police, which has already killed hundreds of people (innocent citizens, policemans and bad guys). What to expect from a country where a policeman is murdered every three days for the simple fact of being a police officer? Believe me, these are official and true data. In short, know that your work inspires me and helps me write my own scripts, which tell a little about the social inequality e corruption since 80’s in Sao Paulo/Brazil, the city that where I born and I living.

        Best regards, Marcelo Di Márcio.

  • A couple of years ago David you & I had an argument/discussion on here where you were in favour of paywalls as the future of content providers & journalism, whereas I said that was shortsighted and foolish, that online advertising would get more expensive & when it did the business model would be attracting as big an audience as possible for free & cash in off selling ads to the eyeballs

    Well I could not have been more wrong, online ads remain absurdly undervalued compared to print & TV & ppl are becoming more and more comfortable with paywalls, what made me think of it again is the growth of The Athletic & them opening a B-more office.

    So sorry for thinking I would know more than someone who spent his life in journalism just because I worked in online marketing, you were and are 100% right

  • Hello, David! Heidi Bohi, here–don’t know if you remember me: I was your editor for the Diamondback Arts & Leisure section in the early ’80s.

    Just a quick note about your March 10 posting, “Maybe, He Thought, He’d Wind Up At Entebbe.” My late grandfather Harold Brenner (his daughter Marjorie Bohi, Bethesda, is my step-mother), also with B’nai Brith, was there. His best friend Albert was with your father in the same room during the crisis. Albert’s name escapes me, but I’ll get it for you–he died about 15 years ago. Marjorie also has some very vivid memories from that time, based on what her father told her. If you’re interested in getting more information, let me know and I’ll connect the two of you electronically. I’m Hope this finds you well. ~Best, Heidi

    • Hey, Heidi.

      Long time, no hear. I remember you very well. Went to see you do an open-mike at a DC comedy club. Still remember the line about sharks swimming up the plumbing pipes. Hope you are well. Alaska? Whoa.

      I do remember Mr. Brenner. And I especially remember Al Elkes, who was beloved in our family as a close friend. Yes, Al was also one of the older men singled out to provide service to the other hostages and also threatened with being the first to die if the police intervened. Strange days. I was sixteen and in high school when the Hanafi siege happened.

    • Mr. Simon, I am confounded by the glib asides scattered throughout your Baker boys article. Confounded, being a major fan of “Wired” series, to find you taking on serious subjects, but watering them down with: “pretty little head, knock yourself out, how life works, kids, Bible, nothing more than fucking opinion, Duh (that was high school 50s-60s). Every artist has a down day, tries to be too cute or opinionated, uses bad colors or words or materials, and needs a nap.

  • With Jeff Sessions intending to bring back long mandatory prison sentences for minor drug offenses, I thought of your documentary “The House I Live In”, and how much your research and voice are necessary, especially now. I was hoping to read your insight on the state of our democracy here. That is worth your time and trouble, and frankly necessary when chaos and ineptitude is on the rise.

  • I am sure you will disagree with me on this Mr Simon and I am probably wrong just writing out of spite and anger, but this is how I feel today, (and I am an Australian living in Sydney, none of the Ryan Budget ultra nasties will even direct impact me). Anyway as of this moment, I genuinely wish everyone on the left would follow my advice below.

    When the inevitable economic meltdown of the Trump presidency and Ryan budget arrives, it is going to cause pain for huge numbers of ppl, being decent ppl who care deeply for their fellow humans and social justice, ppl on the left will feel compelled to give to charities and support laws and causes that help the less fortunate.
    However, when that time comes there will be many ppl and groups in need, so with limited resources to give, never forget who caused this catastrophe, the white male.
    So give to planned parenthood, give to the NAACP, fight to ensure continued funding for minority outreach programs, refugees and the Southern Poverty Law Centre
    What you don’t do is support any group or charity who have as their beneficiaries white working class men, they sowed the wind, let them reap the whirlwind. They voted against an increase in the minimum wage, they voted against universal Pre-k, they voted against free college tuition, they voted for sweeping deregulation of Wall St.
    Do not give your support to farming communities who voted for Climate Change Denial and more droughts, who voted for oil pipelines through arable land.
    The white male voted for catastrophic policies so let them bear the brunt. Use your resources to help the ppl who did not ask for this

  • …I understand why this narrative would make sense to David Simon; disaffected youth finds solace in a community where he literally “finds” his voice and can engage in the sort of dialogue and mutual sharing of ideas so often missing on “the corner.” The complex and nuanced reality of Black life in Baltimore is omitted in the bleak, European tragedy narrative “The Wire” is locked into. And with so many people theorizing about how to “save” Baltimore now, it seems important for there to be a deconstruction of “The Wire’s” problematic tacit political assumptions on race.

    “The Wire” is a fine piece of art—it truly stands alone in American television—but as a political text, it reflects the problems in much of leftist American political discourse, with old-hat union politics and white liberalism being the only life rafts thrown to the audience in a sea of pessimism. The disjunction between the portrayal of Namond being saved by debate and an analysis of how debate actually works in Baltimore is just the clearest example of the problem with this.

    Debate does save lives in Baltimore, but not the style of debate Simon portrays on “The Wire.” Namond reads a prepared speech about the ravages of AIDS in Africa, calling for Africans to be saved by foreign aid the way he, in theory, has been saved by this nonprofit organization. In his style and content, whiteness and respectability are grafted onto his Black body, and in this context, his moment of being “saved” takes on a much more nefarious quality. In reality, dressing in suits and talking about foreign policy have not appealed to youth on the corner, at least not until rogue bands of Black debaters began bucking debate-community convention and explicitly focusing on racism/white supremacy, using abrasive, confrontational hip-hop styles. The rogue debaters have ruffled the feathers of the liberal “nonprofit professionals” who control urban debate leagues around the country, but have helped produce a decade of Black policy debate champions with the agency and training to take on the unique challenges of being Black in America. This includes the current and former debaters who helped to lead a key protest in Baltimore in the aftermath of Monday, April 27’s violence.

    The people who advised Simon on his debate scenes represent the standard-bearers in the traditional world of debate. If they had their way, Namond would have been “saved” in the traditional sense of getting access to vestiges of institutional privilege, but would never have gotten the training he needed to help play his role in “saving” this city in the midst of turmoil and uncertainty. To Simon, the Namonds of the world may be skilled in holding another banal public forum, but they lack the connection to grassroots activism and the historical context to choose to take to the streets and take their place as leaders of a growing social movement. This is not to accuse Simon of anything nefarious, but he was shooting a show in the middle of the debate community’s civil war, and he chose the wrong side of it, which can be chalked up to the unknown unknowns inherent in white liberal attempts to engage Black suffering, which is an inherent problem “The Wire.”

    “The Wire” packages Black suffering so that it is digestible to a white public, a 101 course on urban decay. But the ground it makes up in appealing to HBO’s white professional demographic, it loses in its inability to focus on everyday Black people surviving and thriving in the face of the “tragic” conditions Simon and company thrust upon them. 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. This is in stark comparison to the portrayals of the ill-fated efforts of Frank Sobotka, who despite engaging in criminal activity is seen as the fulcrum in interracial solidarity and is self-sacrificing for allocating smuggling money to a political campaign to increase jobs at the port. The limitations of this labor activism is framed by the most problematic bit of language in the show’s five seasons, which is not anything Bird says to Kima in an interrogation chamber, but when Sobotka in effect says to Nat, a black colleague, that, without the extra jobs dredging would bring, “we’re all niggers.”

    In a country that simply refuses to grapple with the reality of its legacy of slavery (the show fails to mention slavery in any serious way in five seasons), or the distinction between white poverty and black poverty, to uncritically collapse the centuries of black suffering in Baltimore to essentially the same as that of an unemployed white person shows the fundamental inability to grasp the reality of anti-Black racism in Baltimore. In fact, whether it be the tacit framing of Black union folks as “irrational” in wanting to have black leadership of the union, or portraying the citizens of Baltimore falling for Mayor Royce’s transparent race-baiting tactics (including dressing in Kente cloth to make himself appear more authentically Black), the show most vaunted by the white liberal academy for its engagement with race seems to believe there is no legitimate way in which racism can be presented in political contexts, unless you’re a well-dressed former corner boy at a debate tournament calling for more white saviors to be sent to Africa.

    Maybe this is why over its five seasons there is hardly a whiff of a “Black Lives Matter”-type movement in response to conditions in Baltimore, for that would require: (a) a realistic portrayal of police brutality, which the show largely avoids in deference to its “good Po-lease” mythology; and (b) a show runner that would embrace the belief—which their vestigial Marxism and white liberalism both stand in contrast to—that Black people have the power to come up with their own solutions and ultimately save themselves.

    Filling those requirements, however, would lack the satisfying catharsis of seeing Namond in his suit giving a speech. Perhaps it’s time for our vision of race to reach beyond relatively antiseptic and Twitter-friendly pop-culture analysis and actually get to the depth of issues around race in America, for despite how challenging this is, after the credits roll, we’re all brought back to the real Baltimore. The insight we find when we consider real Baltimore will actually determine whether our future is a re-run of the same false promises and neo-liberal decay of the past 30 years, or if through investing in grassroots, indigenous institutions, Baltimore has even the slightest chance at the happy ending “The Wire” consistently denies us.

  • The Wire very intentionally attempts to position itself outside of the American tradition of police dramas. Employing HBO’s free subscriber-based model (and the subsequent freedom from corporate sponsors), The Wire attempts to complicate, if not eschew, the notion of police as the unambiguous “good guys” taking down the forces of evil that continues to dominate network TV cop dramas. As such, the show attempts to mirror the real life multiplicity of cops; fictional depictions of police violence go beyond what viewers typically see on screen. While the show’s depictions of police violence are advanced, the liberal and Marxist foundations of The Wire too often prevent the racialized reality of police violence from becoming evident. The show seeks intellectual resolution for its educated, white audience over integrating power relations that locate the police force as an institution— good intentions of individual police aside— as a critical force for perpetuating structural racism and white supremacy.

    In the Baltimore of The Wire, police bias is an aberration; an individualized moment where cops can fall from grace and fail to attain the vaunted label of “good Po-lease” by succumbing to their own egos, the pressures of a system driven by statistics and political posturing, or, at times, their own personal biases. The show’s two most prominent instances of police violence fit into this template. When police detectives “Hurc,” Prezboluski, and Carver, drink to do “field interviews” in Season 1, they are framed as victims of institutional obsession with statistics. They are trained to “take bodies” in order to up arrest rates and thus develop into the soldiers of a failed drug war.

    The subsequent assault of a young black youth by the white officer Prezboluski, which cost the youth his eye, is portrayed as a moment of drunken bravado. The incident precipitates angry responses from the residents of the Baltimore apartment complex, throwing bottles and even a television at the cop below, which incites gunfire from the fearful, inebriated police officers. From the perspective on an academic, many interesting things are being portrayed here: the subtle sense of white privilege Prezboluski and Herc show, how Carver reluctantly acquiesces to their calls to go into the Black Baltimore and “let them know we’re here,” the dynamic of power and resistance between the cops and the citizens, and the nature of institutional accountability after their supervisor, the Black police lieutenant Daniels, instructs his officers on the usage of technical language to avoid consequences for their actions. But as a citizen of Baltimore I am overwhelmed by the sense of complete inadequacy. There is the portrayal of wanted, drunken, anti-black police violence, the inability to discuss the disproportionate police force used by the cops, and the bulleted response to beer bottles after violently instigating a conflict with innocent citizens (one of whom is made to remove his pants during a search). Furthermore, the ridiculousness of the dramatized moment where the people in the apartment return fire at the police is so unlikely as to be inconceivable given the widespread understanding of the consequences of even touching an officer, yet alone shooting at one.

    The complete lack of accountability allows a white officer who commits a violent act on a black youth to be unpunished. Yet, the show has no time to flesh out any of these dynamics, despite its vaunted “slow, meandering” style, as the plight of Black “civilians” (Black Baltimore’s not in the drug trade or part of the police force) is sublimated in the name of advancing the narrative battle between the cops and the dealers. The show’s so-called intellectual complexity and boasted moral ambiguity fail to provide a space for a stance against systematic police violence that would be necessary for the show to actually meet some of the social justice goals that the creators, David Simon and Ed Burns, set out to meet. The show limits its notions of justice to macro-level Marxist-inspired intuitional analysis and liberal individualism. The individuals in this instance are essentially “vindicated” throughout the next 5 Seasons; Hurc eventually becomes a successful private investigator who eventually helps the police crack a big case, Prez becomes a loving and compassionate teacher, and Carver evolves into an effective investigator who exemplifies “good Po-lease” by learning about the personal lives of the “hopers” in his district as well as caring for Randy, a youth targeted after being labeled a “snitch” for talking to the police. Nowhere is the societal pressure behind the obsession with crime statistics interrogated, nor the reality of the racialization of the War on Drugs assessed, and neither still the deep American desire to see law enforcement as state-sanctioned control of the Black Body interrogated. This would violate the deeply rooted white liberalism and Marxist tendencies which demand a colorblind, class-centered analysis of the problem. Indeed, the reality of Baltimore policing shows the ubiquity of racial bias in the shooting of unarmed black men by local cops which, despite the show’s claims of “gritty” realism, never appear once in the 5 seasons of The Wire.

    The questions of subconscious bias are subsumed by the shows liberal individualism in ways that make the show palatable to a largely white liberal audience, but ultimately obscure the racialized reality of policing. Prez’s shooting of a Black cop is the closest the show comes to broaching the subject of subconscious bias, but Prez’s subsequent relationship with black students (as well as his narrative portrayal as a “goof”) absolve him from a substantial amount of assumed bias. Moreover, his recognition of the possibility of racial bias fits within the show’s white liberal narrative; to simply see a character acknowledge that they could have subconscious racial bias is counted as a win within the liberal sensibilities of the audience, forestalling any substantive social justice question about the larger system of police tactics in this individualized moment. Similarly, the Season 5 portrayal of the white cop Colicciho dragging a black teacher out of his car is portrayed as a rogue police officer.

    The audience is instructed to praise the courage of Carver for being willing to report him and not follow standard operating procedure of instructing his subordinate how to “write” the incident (using technical language and favorable narration of the facts help to absolve the officer of institutional or legal reprisal, as Daniels does in Season 1 with his officers). Again, police violence is shown as a personal failing, the solution to which is not to question the nature of hyper-policing, the lack of community control, and the cultural relationship of white cops in a predominantly Black city, but more “good Po-lease” with the strength and fortitude to stand up to the pressures within a corrupt system in the name of truth and justice.

    There is a consistent theme with The Wire. The show’s so-called realism really stems from it producing a vision of Baltimore that represents what the audience thinks Baltimore is like, not what it is actually like. The reality is in a city like Baltimore, whose political dynamics demand performances of control over Black bodies to assuage the deep seated racial fears of a white electorate, too often “crack heads, taken bodies” is not an aberration; the personal failing and affront to the notion of “good Po-lease” is its very definition. The show attempts to portray a heroic deputy commissioner Daniels refusing political pressure from the (White) mayor Tommy Carcetti to “juke the stats,” or fudge numbers as to falsely improve crime statistics. In reality, the political moment of The Wire’s last season coincided with Martin O’Malley, the Baltimore mayor then Maryland governor on whom Carcetti is loosely based on, precipitating a rash of mass arrests of predominantly Black men in Baltimore in order to “juke the stats” and help him in his eventually successful gubernatorial run.

    That The Wire fails to present this reality is an affront to its so called “realism” and furthers the notions that “civilians” don’t matter in the representational world of The Wire; too often those who are “jacked up” by police are portrayed as guilty. Even as The Wire has mixed messages about drug prohibition and tries to humanize the Baltimore’s drug users, the reality of the utter capricious nature of police harassment is obscured behind The Wire’s inability (despite its desire to shake the legacy of the traditional cop drama) of its “good Po-lease” mythology. In reality, the mass arrests of 2007 lead to untold numbers of innocent men receiving violent contact with the police, the trauma of which The Wire simply refuses to acknowledge. To inhabit a body perpetually open to police search, to be violated by those given state authority to deem you as a threat, to be physically molested with searches, and to even be killed with essential impunity (the show’s own logical reveals how easy it is for cops to get away with violence) produces a relationship to the world that the show, with its white liberalism and Marxism, simply cannot accommodate or represent. Perhaps this is why nowhere in the show does public resistance to policing even become part of the plot; like a good Marxist, Simon views the “citizens” of Baltimore as simply cogs in the machine of capital, not autonomous, cultural grounded subjects with the ability to theorize outside of the intuitions (the school, the union, the police) which for Simon essential brings Black folk worth representing. It is no surprise thus that nothing akin to the #BlackLivesMatter movement is seen in The Wire; it operates outside the ideological framework of the show’s framing, vibrating “on the lower frequencies” of Black social institutions that operate outside the show’s conceptions of resistance.

    Regards. Lawrence Grandpre

  • The genius of audacity. I was looking for something to lift up this evening, and Treme is it. It captured the feel of the city, even though I didn’t know it at the time. All I heard at first was the music, which brought south me like a siren song. Then I got the feel in the air that I never got anywhere else in this world. I was more than just a little overcome. Kermit’s birthday in the Treme. A band on the street in the Marigny. I’ve tasted Langiappe, and I owe you. We should all be so lucky.

  • Mr. Simon, are there any books on port unions and the decline of their influence over the years that you would consider recommended reading? (Admittedly I was influenced in my question by the second season of “The Wire”.)

  • Mr Simon, this thread is more current than the one I just posted at regarding The Wire. I just wanted to thank you again for the series. I just watched the entire run on DVD over the last five weeks or so, never having had cable TV. It was all remarkable and fulfilling. On a few occasions, I watched five or six episodes through the night, though it was way past bedtime, but I kept hitting the play button until the sun came up. It’s one of the best things ever on television, and it was like discovering a new author and having to read everything they ever wrote.

    I’m looking forward to going through the whole thing again someday, just the way I reread my favorite books.

  • Rest In Peace Melvin Williams (1941-2015)

    An utterly fascinating human being who gave an unforgettable performance on “The Wire.”

  • Hey David

    Do u remember writing this 3 years ago

    And this may be the last election in which anyone but a fool tries to play — on a national level, at least — the cards of racial exclusion, of immigrant fear, of the patronization of women and hegemony over their bodies, of self-righteous discrimination against homosexuals.

    Now I admit they are fools so u could still argue you were right I guess. But the GOP are determined to prove you wrong it seems 🙂

    • They are indeed fools. We’re not manufacturing white men at a sufficient rate that they can run a national candidate without beginning at an extreme disadvantage. And the things said to secure the GOP nomination will have to be discarded and renounced after the primaries. Or, defeat.

      • Do you also recall writing that if you were in the shoes of a black person in this country, you would resort to violence? Congratulations Mr. Simon – many are heeding your advice

        • Is this a matter of reading comprehension? Or just basic dishonesty?

          I know exactly what I wrote. Is meaning has either eluded you, or you enjoy dissembling.

  • Dear David,
    The National Low Income Housing Coalition in Washington DC, which annually publishes the unique housing affordability and minimum wage report “Out of Reach” wishes to invite you to speak at our annual housing conference in DC in April 2016.
    What is the best way to send you an invitation?
    My email is: and Twitter is @MalikSirajAkbar
    Thank you in advance and congratulations over “Show me a Hero.”
    I look forward to seeing you at the talk in DC with HUD Secretary Castro.

  • David, fine piece of work with Show Me a Hero. Hope things are coming along on potential Taylor Branch/MLK project. Now that I really want to see in your able hands.

  • Mr. Simon,
    Congratulations on Show me a Hero. I haven’t watched it yet but the critics’ reviews are glowing, and not that I would expect any less. Thank you.

  • Hello, David,

    I have been gathering research for four days now. I blog on movie pilot and when I learned of the upcoming miniseries SHOW ME A HERO. I came here as part of that research. First off. I did and do not watch much television. I tend to be a rolling stone, I found THE WIRE during its first season. Just walking past someones TV set who had a subscription to HBO. It was refreshing to have a show arrest my interest. Not having a television set I think I orchestrated a relationship with a woman who had one and who also subscribed to HBO just so I could cuddle and catch each episode.

    Years later and season later I would find family members who came to love the show. Thus I kept up with it sporadically. Now that I find myself trying to write about you. I allowed my mind to go back and see what images come to mind about New York and the 1970’s. I saw Archie Bunker. I later clicked another writer producer named Norman Lear. I will not belabor you with his contributions as I am sure you know more about him than I do. In 50 words or less can you share with me the differences or similarities (if any) to your and his approaches. I know he worked with networks and you abhor the limitations they offer your kind of storytelling. But toss me a bone would you?

  • dear david -” beloved by all as the bible dictates… ”

    i have been captured again but U.S. Forces. part of a program that is more magical than real. i was hoping you would join this “free” internet writing thingy your boy Obama got going on. more people read this shit than you think. for fuck sakes i had all the queens men arrive at my door minutes after trying to digitaly kiss ole barry using choose words and hashtag’esk mockery, that ‘type’ that just wouldn’t translate in todays court of law backstopped by a jury of monkeys …. ya i get it, things got #weird but LOL, WTF can a nigga do? i mean lions are dying all over the place #CECIL (forget about the drone strikes, those people don’t have names) its all about how you name it.

    keep your head up, there is a war going on .

    your good friend eric

    PS keep the god damn comments open

  • So you’ve finally joined Twitter eh? Well, all I will say is this…

    Beware the haters and the trolls. Not that you don’t already know that, but I just thought I’d put it out, since they have a far more easier time of it there than they do here.

    • The twitter account is for posting links and announcing stuff only. Unmonitored by me. And no replies to argument or rhetoric posted there will be forthcoming at 140 characters. It is a disengaged bulletin board.

      • Not that you asked or need advice but it does carry your name but doesn’t have the verified tick mark so a little attention to what gets posted under your name would be prudent I think. In any case, I am following you and so are 7000 plus other people, welcome to twitter.

      • This is an accurate summation.

        Couple of things:

        1) I feel like an ass that I said on here (during Curfew Week in B-more) that TREME and THE WIRE don’t have Twitter accounts and now you’re on Twitter. Well. Egg’s on my face. As a venue, I agree it is shit for discourse, but it is good for brand promotion and I think you’re very smart to get on there in advance of SHOW ME A HERO.

        2) Dunno if you even remember, but I’m very sorry that I was an ass to you on here in general during Curfew Week. I did not actually throw your books & movies away. I calmed down and got some sleep (finally) instead. In my defense I was and remain under a fair amount of stress, as I’m sure the whole city did. Seeing an armored Humvee convey rolling down Biddle Street is not good for the nerves. I also screamed at my own mother and didn’t speak to my best friend for a month if that gives it any context.

        3) I’m boycotting HBO right now for a number of reasons but I want to watch SMAH of course. I don’t like to bootleg b/c I believe in the value of intellectual property. Do you get a bigger percentage of the royalties if I buy on DVD as opposed to just watching the channel? I might be willing to give HBO my money if the creators get more cash out of the deal.

        Thanks in advance…

  • Hi David,

    I understand your reticence about publishing free content, but I don’t think copyright for the sake of artificial scarcity is as important for the livelihood of artists as you think it is. A paradox of markets is that consumption is not necessarily a zero-sum game, and the “freemium” model of giving something away in order to build a community that generates profits has been one of the most well-proven new economic models of the digital era. Although for years, we were subjected to the droning complaint that the internet and file sharing was killing the music industry, an interesting economic study points out that the music industry, and pretty much all other entertainment industries, have actually continued to grow dramatically since 1998. The only thing that has shrunk in the music industry is the oligopoly of the major record labels—rent-seeking middlemen between musicians and their audience—and I consider that a good thing. The wonderful thing about “intellectual property,” when it is not greedily over-policed in the name of copyright, is that it creates a commonwealth for the people which can be shared by all without anyone losing. Moreover, an old social norm still enshrined in some professional guilds like the American Bar Association dictates that professionals ought as a duty to give away at least a fraction of the very same labor that they do for a fee, to enable those without means to benefit from their skills.

    While I’m on the subject of capitalism, I just finished reading a piece you wrote in the Guardian in 2013 on the dangerous imbalances in capitalism and the “two Americas” in our country. It was funny, then, to read your controversial comment that, “If you can’t seek redress and demand reform without a brick in your hand, you risk losing this moment for all of us in Baltimore.” Because you probably recall that in that article you ended by saying, “I don’t know what we do if we can’t actually control the representative government that we claim will manifest the popular will. Even if we all start having the same sentiments that I’m arguing for now, I’m not sure we can effect them any more in the same way that we could at the rise of the Great Depression, so maybe it will be the brick.” Now that the brick has been launched at capitalism’s first line of defense—after the obvious lack of effect from all of the mass mobilization this year against racist police authoritarianism—you seem awfully quick to dismiss not only its potential to compel any change, but any moral right to even consider its use. If not now, in the face of such wanton police brutality in a city you know all too well is infamous for racism both de facto and de jure, in a year marked by so many public and video-documented cases of racist police murders across the country, then when is that brick ever to be considered even possibly justified or, at the very least, understood and tolerated without condemnation? I’m curious, why did you even mention the brick before if you don’t actually ever believe in its use?

    It’s interesting that in the 2013 article, you spoke of Marx and the existence of “two Americas,” but made no mention of another famous German political thinker rather more appropriate to the topic: Ernst Fraenkel. His work is apropos in the case of Baltimore’s current predicament, as well, because what’s happening is an example and a result of what Fraenkel called the “Dual State”—a concept originally applied Nazi Germany—in which there exists a “normative state” dedicated to the preservation of a regularly-functioning capitalist society, whose members remain generally unthreatened by and unconcerned about the other, “prerogative state,” which uses brutal violence and arbitrary and restrictive legal controls against a deliberately marginalized and oppressed sector of society. The 2013 article, and perhaps your response to the Baltimore rioting, demonstrated a failure to fully understand this dual state, leading to some interesting lacunae and rather fuzzy reasoning.

    Though you failed to mention it, the “two Americas” you observed are indeed the normative state– the one you said “is part of the viable America, the America that is connected to its own economy, where there is a plausible future for the people born into it”—and the prerogative state—which has been “utterly divorced from” your normative experience and which has “no barbed wire around” it, but “might as well.”
    Perhaps we can say that the “barbed wire” in this case has a human face. And a badge, and a whole lot of guns. And, quite obviously, the will to use them. But your superficial reading of Marx made these “two Americas” out to be a simple consequence of capitalistic greed, not a capitalist necessity enforced by the Dual State. Maintained in subjection by the prerogative state are those individuals who make up “10 or 15% of my country [that] is no longer necessary to the operation of the economy”—although it would be wrong to discount the role they play in justifying the very large growth sectors in the economy of law enforcement, surveillance, and incarceration. As a result of this blind spot regarding the Dual State, you were led to conclude that “We’ve somehow managed to march on to two separate futures,” without really investigating that “somehow.” This quickly made both your reading of history and your beliefs about capitalism problematic, when you concluded that American capitalism after World War 2 was the system that “worked the best,” “provided a lot more freedom,” and was extremely successful at “creating mass wealth.” The caveat is that, to the extent that we can even say these statements are true, they are true only of the normative state, and not of the prerogative state.

    Let’s bracket and put aside U.S. foreign policy after World War 2, which was obsessively dedicated to toppling democratic states all over the world and supporting brutal dictatorships and corrupt, crony-capitalist, quasi-democratic vassal states in the name of selling “the best product.” Even inside the United States, the claim that the country “provided a lot more freedom” than anywhere else in the aftermath of WW2 would be looked upon with contempt by those in the prerogative state–the Mexican-American farm workers, for instance, who organized marches and boycotts to push back against the exploitation and brutality they faced from their bosses and from the police state, or the African-Americans who not only marched, boycotted, and sat-in, but also responded to the oppression of the white power state with violence and paramilitary organizing. I am confident in the contention that the violence and rioting which Dr. King said was the “language of the unheard” was a central reason why the white power state capitulated and negotiated with King’s nonviolent arm of the “civil rights movement.”
    The history of these activists must not be seen as simply part of America’s glorious struggle for freedom. Theirs was a desperate response to unfreedom and brutality, an act of necessity. And one that was inevitably confronted—as the photographic history vividly shows—by the overwhelming presence of armed police. Secretly, they were confronted by the diabolical activities of much more sinister authorities, such as the FBI’s COINTELPRO. Capitalism is protected from democracy by the police. And, looking at the state of things today, it must be admitted that Chavez and King ultimately lost their battles. Chris Rock’s mordant observation that MLK Boulevard is the most dangerous street in every American city reveals a darker design at work. The movements represented by King and Chavez, and many other social justice movements, were co-opted, infiltrated, and destroyed by the state, and this was not incidental to capitalism, but in its service. There’s a reason beyond effective rhetoric why progressive activists were branded communists by state authorities worldwide.

    Today, it can be argued that the prerogative state is stronger than ever. As you pointed out, “the underclass hunted through an alleged war on dangerous drugs that is in fact merely a war on the poor and has turned us into the most incarcerative state in the history of mankind.” Unfortunately, you did not conceptually connect this state authoritarianism and the state of capitalism which it serves. Which is how you come to the conclusion that the “argument’s over” about capitalism’s necessary goodness, that “capitalism has to be the way we generate mass wealth in the coming century.” Perhaps its a semantic dispute that must be resolved, but the “capitalism” that exists today demands the authoritarianism of the Dual State and necessarily does not “create mass wealth” broadly for all members of society.

    It’s no coincidence that riots have targeted massive stores like CVS, which make their extraordinary profits in direct proportion to the amount they exploit their workers. And there is no shortage of Baltimoreans speaking out in the same breath about the economic oppression of limited job opportunities and the physical oppression of police harassment. Violence has surged, and will continue to flare up, because those within the prerogative state realize what you and others in the normative state cannot believe—there are no legal, orderly mechanisms for social justice to triumph over authoritarian capitalism. I wouldn’t necessarily condone any particular act of violence, but if you’re going to get on your blog and condemn the violent public response to one-too-many flagrant acts of racist police murder, you might at least consider what King said when he made the comment about the “language of the unheard”:

    “It is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard.”


    ?Matt Moon

    • We all have the King quote memorized. Me in particular as I am currently developing a miniseries based on the last of the Taylor Branch trilogy on King for HBO. My posted plea against rioting and in favor of mass civil disobedience is consistent with King’s understanding of the root circumstances of a riot and his empathy for the disposessed. But inevitability and empathy do not equal approval. Not to King. Not to a whole lot of people. Not to me. My opposition is as much strategic as it is moral. I believe that civil disobedience — and not unrest; violence undercuts progress — is about to become a transformational force in this country. But again, the thread on this is closed. Another post, rather than this intro thread, will advance the discussion soon, I hope.

  • You certainly kicked up a lot of dust with that last post Mr. Simon. I myself am still struggling with my own perspective on the matter and I don’t think I’ll be at ease with it anytime soon. I’m sure it was not easy not only to find the words you wanted to say but also to deal with everyone who took issue with your words. I have encountered people calling you “hypocritical” for more than one topic you have addressed. I personally feel that while some may genuinely feel they are coming from the right place in doing so, others only serve to erode meaning from the word in their own poor judgements. It’s a charge that can often be very hurtful. And I have been wondering, when someone calls you that how do you deal with it? How do you deal with the potential feelings that may come with such a charge?

    • The blog is for argument. If we all agreed with each other, there would be little purpose in the debate.

      The best debate is that which avoids the worst logical and rhetorical fallacies and focuses on the content explicitly. It’s disappointing when people are overcome by personal rancor and fall into name-calling. It’s always enough, I think, to abuse the other fellow’s arguments. No need to take it further than that outside of some extreme provocations. When it happens here, I’m obliged to play defense if I think the personal charge is unwarranted and not let a claim stand if I believe it to untrue. But the stakes are small, right? A blog isn’t exactly a forum where the insults are deep and lasting. We are all here digitally, as casual acquaintances seeking discussion and debate. I’m aware that none of it is personal in the sense that few here know me personally. And I assume that if other people or their arguments are similarly bumped, it doesn’t exactly cut to the core either, for the same reason. At least I hope so as there is nothing in this experiment that I want to be purposely hurtful. I guess I just assume that those who engage here are interested in a good argument in the first place.

      • Well, since you find it merely disappointing as opposed to upsetting when people allow their emotions to control their comments you clearly know who you are, where you’re coming from and what you are saying whenever you say it. That is a strength that many people do not have, and I admire you for it. It’s certainly something I could learn from. My sister once used the term “hypocritical” to describe my inclination to not vote during last years gubernatorial elections when there was so much at stake and so much that could affect me personally. Although she did know that I had been under extreme stress wondering both if I could truly affect anything by voting and if I could avoid the feeling of having been manipulated by choosing one candidate over the other. I just did not know if I could vote without avoiding any fear of negative consequences to myself given that I was skeptical of both candidates, so my sisters words did nothing to improve my already troubled conscience. Only when my father assured me that I must only make the best decision for myself was I able to relax, but sometimes my sister’s words still trouble me.

        I do think that your status on the current crisis in Baltimore brought out both the best and the worst of those who disagreed with you. Take a guy like “Goat” for instance. I’ve never really liked the way he’s put things down in words here because they usually seem rhetorical bordering on silly. Yet I still wondered if you felt anything came to mind when he claimed instances where he viewed hypocrisy on your part. And then there was Ned Ludd who though ultimately respectful enough in his firm opposition to you, could not avoid pulling the “liberal” card on you which always makes me shake my head in bewilderment. To me it neither gets to the heart of a matter nor does it make a strong case for the other person’s ideology excusing his or her own rhetorical shortcomings. Then there were people who relied on rhetoric alone while others tried to defend you when you didn’t do so yourself (my assumption was that you felt their word choices spoke for themselves).

        On the other hand others like Ellis for instance may not have shared your viewpoints but at least it was clear that their own were well thought out and that they too genuinely believed where they were coming from. However there were also a few here and there like KT who…well…I just don’t know what to say. Hopefully you get my point.

        Anyway, I appreciate that there are people in the world such as yourself who are confident in your own perspectives and person-hoods to the point where you can stand your ground in the face of such opposition. Perhaps it ought to be this recent Peabody Conservatory of Music graduate’s next big lesson in life.

        • No offense but I sure do wish you had voted in the state elections. If you don’t think ending up with Larry Hogan was a problem then I encourage you to look more closely at how he is handling the situation now. And the fact that he slashed education money the second he got into office. (That’ll really help
          Baltimore’s problems.)

          It shoulda been Heather Mizeur. The only good thing about that election is that I’m pretty sure it shot Marty O’Malley’s credibility with the DNC to hell and I haven’t heard a peep about his presidential ambitions since.

          • KT,

            I don’t actually live in Maryland. I was just a music student there for the past four years of my life. I did not say where I actually live because I did not think it it was important enough to mention. Given how much stress I was under thinking about election processes in general, I’m not sure it would have made any real difference regardless of whatever state I lived in.

            • That’s cool & I’m not pucking on you, I’m just saying the simpld truth; lack of voter turnout made a significant difference in the last state election & not a good one.

                • Well, I appreciate you telling me you’re not trying to pick on me. I am sorry about the perceived lack of voter turnouts in Maryland during the elections. I did develop an affinity for Baltimore and I do miss the place but not truly being a citizen of the city or state there was nothing I could have done regardless.

      • Now that you put it that way I guess when young men end up “accidentally” deaded by the police in my city and I see harassed schoolchildren being called thugs (not by you, but avoiding the word doesn’t necessarily avoid the implication) I do take it awfully personally. That’s just me. Sorry.

        But I’ll stop bugging you, it’s clearly pointless and anyway I already have to go into work on Saturday because of this.

  • Just FYI homey. No point in shutting down your blog comments to avoid the T I’m serving you; I’ve been screencapping everything I’ve said since Monday bc I already didn’t trust you. Turns out I was right. May drop them bombs on Twitter later but we’ll see if you act right first ????

    Made it home safely despite busting the bullshit curfew, how’s everybody else doing? xoxo

    • Shut down that thread because of overall redundancy and because I needed to get back to work. That’s all.

      The blog requires monitoring of threads because I don’t want it to devolve into the commentary sites of unmonitored shitholes like yahoo or foxnews or whatever. So I can only screen so much a day and still get other work done. When stuff gets big, I go for as long as I can and then, when there doesn’t seem to be much fresh stuff coming in, I call it. After almost 1000 back and forths, I called it.

      The last few things that came in were an additional complaint or two from you and others against your point of view and a couple unrelated but repetitive points. The webmistress actually posts the terminal message after I call her and tell her it’s done. And I did so when the wordpress message list read “0” comments remained in the inbox. It’s impersonal, though clearly you imagine otherwise. Sorry.

      We all had our say. We can’t agree. I’m sorry if you feel this blog or its content or its author are not what you would like them to be. I have no concerns or issues with that. The blog, its content and its author are what is intended. Post anything anywhere else you feel the need. That is no concern or issue of mine.

      • Oh also #OverturnTheCurfew any onlookers who want to rep that on social media are a blessing. Sales are down 95% this week in some small Bmore businesses this week and God knows there ain’t no jobs but service jobs in this city. And rent’s due.

  • Did you have to add the sexist line about how it’s ok to violate your ex-girlfriend’s privacy, especially if she’s “notably hot”?

      • That’s good to hear. I had to say something, especially because of how it was emphasized on its own separate line and as your very last remark.

        I don’t think sounding clever should come at the expense of appearing to condone violations of trust and privacy, as well as objectification of women.

        • I confess that I’ve made a lot of ugly remarks without intent, or from within the context of self-mockery. I was raised in a newsroom.

          We did it all the time.

          • Especially considering that revenge porn and harassment of women online are huge problems and women face much more devastating consequences in terms of career, reputation, and personal safety when their private/pornographic materials are leaked, I did find the remark to be very ugly.

            I also wouldn’t say that mistakes in the past are an excuse for mistakes in the present.

            Anyway, I’m glad you apologized. I would prefer to see the line removed, but recognize your right to publish what you will and have your work speak for and represent you.

          • This is exactly the kind of violent silencing harassment targeted towards women online that I am talking about and part of the reason why I find jokes about the dissemination of their personal materials/information online to be unfunny. Thank you for proving my point JW. To be honest, I find the topic to be extremely exhausting and depressing and would really much prefer to not have to talk about it at all, but as long as it continues, I feel very strongly that it cannot be ignored and I will not be silenced.

  • David,

    The familiar, sad drama we’ve watched unfold in Ferguson and NY has now come to Baltimore. You have a gift for explaining the tension between law enforcement and the Black community, and for humanizing both “sides.” There’s a reason “Inside the Interrogation Room” is included in Crim Law textbooks and the Wire won so many awards.

    I’m not asking for your position or your solution — just your observations.

  • You are an excellent writer. I find it true that the best writing often comes from some personal experience. I’d have to watch the Wire to truly see your magnum opus at work, of course.

    Thanks for your inspiration.

  • Hey, David, I don’t know if this is something that interests you or if it’s something that those reporters (or other readers) have asked you about, but did you happen to listen to the Serial Podcast that was released late last year? It covered a murder case in the Woodlawn neighborhood of Baltimore. I’m wondering if you have an opinion on it, or any insight on the investigation or prosecution based on your experiences (and, of course, your genius insight). I will kill … to hear your thoughts. Thanks. Chris

  • David,

    My name is Brad and I am currently a second year graduate student in applied sociology at WVU. I am originally from Harford County, MD and became hooked on sociology after doing an internship with the Baltimore City PD and doing countless hours of ride alongs with them. It was fascinating, and a life changing experience. Anyway, I am in the middle of reading your book “The Corner” and I was just wondering how you obtained that all that data/information? I read somewhere you spent three years working with the community members, but couldn’t find much else. Did you live with them? Hangout with them etc.?


  • After reading a very compelling article at the guardian about David Simon where they link this blog, I got here. Only to find David stating verbatim in long anguished prose that he is motivated in this blog by 1. Money and 2. Fear.

    Now David, being a human, and suffering, (in a personally documented confession, I might add) from what all humans suffer from, will not have the TOM, because we are not there, we are here, to appreciate the utter irony. Or will he?


    • Whhaaaat? I am motivated by neither money nor fear in regard to this blog. Indeed, this isn’t even my day job.

      Given the part-time nature of the thing, it could more accurately be said that I am insufficiently motivated at all.

  • Just finished reading the interview in the with you regarding your new HBO program: Show me a Hero. I happen to live in Yonkers (very integrated and great coop on Rumsey Road ) and consider the Wire the most important (and enjoyable) drama created for TV. I just want to pose a question.

    The Guardian headlines your interview “American Politics No Longer Works”.
    While I might slightly disagree in that it rarely ever worked (people had to fight and die to change things especially the labor/capital equation, slavery, women’s rights), I think the main question is: What do we do to change it? Granted people may not yet understand that it does not work, won’t get better, or why it does not work, there are a lot of people who instinctively know something is wrong but have no example on what to do about it other than individual solutions (usually bad ones) that do nothing to change the situation. Or they just blame themselves for the problem — not the social forces at work.

    I think the main obstruction is the faith that labor leaders, Black leaders, women’s leaders, liberals, etc. put in the Democratic Party to bring about change. I mean, I have been following this belief since the 1960’s and have seen it continuously fail – and look where we are now with “change we can believe in.”

    I do not think the solution is the British labor party model or the social democratic parties in Europe but I do think we need to break with both the big business parties whose interests are not with us. They are the instrument of the disastrous changes since 1980, both of them. They cannot be reformed from within. Look at the pathetic minor reform ideas of Elizabeth Warren. And how will minimum wage be increased, she says: thru legislation, electing democrats to Congress and maybe electing her president.

    Legislation may be the mechanism in which the change occurs (like civil rights legislation or the (once) 8 hour day was passed thru legislation), but the real engine of change will be a fight to change the relation of forces as has been done thru out our history. But this time, the changes needed are so great, that nothing less than a political party based upon these struggles, these movements — not just an electoral waste of time– will be needed –I think.

    This can only be done with new leadership in labor and all the sections of society that need big changes if we are to prevent ourselves from sinking further. When, how, who? well things are beginning to warm up a bit. (Ferguson, latest environmental actions, fight against right wing. Maybe not too far away. )

    • We are going to have to fight the great economic and sociopolitical battles of the late 19th and 20th Century all over again. And worse, because of the inevitability of globalization of both capital and labor, we are going to have to do it on an international basis. Is there consensus for such a fight. No. Will consensus be achieved. Only when the middle classes fully perceive the long term threat to their viability and begin to restructure their political commitments accordingly. Will it be too late? Good question.

      • I thoroughly agree with you. These were the big battles of labor against the injustices of the industrial/capitalist economy on the eve of WWI and thru WWII across Europe and to a smaller extent in the US. Sadly, the US failed to build a labor party but instead thanks to Roosevelt and the workers organizations that backed him, the Democratic Party became the party of workers, minorities, etc. And we see what happened then (though todays European labor parties are for workers in name only..)
        I was surprised to learn in a class on European History that the radical workers parties of the 19th century were huge especially in Germany and was one of the reasons the liberal parties become more in favor of reform (schools, conditions, etc. in Germany for example).

        But as you say, all of that is undone which is why we are loosing all those gains. We are also in a different world as you say. I am not unhappy that this is a global economy (with the bulk of industrialization in China). I sometimes think that for Europe the engine of change is gone (it was a result of industrialization, social and political turmoil) and will pass to the new big industrial enclaves. But one never can predict. But, it is also interesting to see the relationship of the corporations both nationally and globally. They really have broken the national boundaries that they fought for in the nineteenth century against the old feudal structure. They are really global and the workers are global too. Things can happen anywhere and they reflect around the world. like “hands up don’t shoot” has become a global symbol. “Our fights are their fights” etc. And cannot forget instant information world wide. I am generally optimistic barring an environmental or world war catastrophe.

      • As you will quickly deduce, I am quite naïve and of a fairly modest-education. However, in my own personal search for a free, just, sensibly organized, and fully realized life (and, necessarily, the mode of society that would allow for it) there is only one avenue that I can think of.

        Though I acknowledged the provisional usefulness of socialism, and a fairly strong state to implement it, I would argue that this cannot be the end; state socialism has been illustrated to be, if not as alienating as liberal capitalism, just as mean, and probably more crippling to the realization of a fully realized individual. If state-socialism has any usefulness at all (and the “if” is stressed) it could only be—to my mind—In preparing the soil for, or in a dual capacity with the emergence of that peculiar dream of Jefferson’s: Direct democracy. I don’t believe that parties or unions are the answer. The first political parties emerged in this country in order to defuse the nearly ubiquitous system of town-hall democracy that prevailed, and the party was similarly employed during the French, and late Soviet revolution, in order to stifle the spontaneous rise of council-democracy being practiced by common people. Likewise, I feel that unions, while provisionally useful, only ever end up stifling the original, democratic impulse that gave them rise—the most explicit example being the antagonistic role of unions in may 1968, Paris.

        I wonder what your thoughts are on this, or, on the single most successful manifestation of these ideas in modern history, the Spanish Revolution? (For my part, though I personally empathize with the anarcho-syndicalist structure, in lieu of an industrial proletariat I think that modern council-democracy would need to be based on the community in which one resides, rather than one’s labour affiliations.)

        I have never been accused of being a realist. Yet, in many ways, I do not think that any of this is possible under current (or any) conditions. At the same time, notwithstanding its impossibility, it is the only way I see of that is worthy of any earnest, human enthusiasm.

      • It will take more than the global middle class to see it’s existence threatened. Only when the majority of the ownership class finally realizes that it is in their long term best interest to pay working people well, reinvest in their businesses before siphoning money to shareholders, shore up infrastructure and be held responsible for maintaining the environment will any consequential progress be made.
        As rich as the 1% are currently, they actually stand to gain dramatically if only they realized how important it is to raise the living standards for everyone.

      • Hi David,

        I’m a lowly crime reporter in a town just north of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I am the last reporter covering Newmarket courthouse. During my time I have come across a huge variety of stories, but non so riveting as that of Jennifer Pan. It is one of the greatest true crime stories ever (in my humble opinion). It was so fascinating I spent two years of my life working on the case. First I wrote about it for the newspaper (10 month trial), then I wrote about it as a true crime novel. I want to send you my book. I want to produce it, but I refuse to have it done by anyone not willing to do it right. You, I trust implicitly. From one lowly crime writer to another, would you take the time to read this book? It’s called A Daughter’s Deadly Deception. If you send an mailing address to me I will have one sent down post haste! Thanks for reading and I can’t wait to hear your thoughts. Yours fatefully, Jeremy Grimaldi

  • Mr SImon:

    I am writing seeking your opinion on the piece “The Case for Reparations” by Ta-Nehisi Coates. As a black man, I feel a weird obligation to defuse things quickly by saying that the reparations argument doesn’t interest me. The piece though was disheartening as a black man to read the history of racist practices by the federal government and private industry with regards to housing policies, which basically ensured many advantages whites still today benefit from. In the article, there is the following passage :

    “In 2009, half the properties in Baltimore whose owners had been granted loans by Wells Fargo between 2005 and 2008 were vacant; 71 percent of these properties were in predominantly black neighborhoods.”

    Is there any anecdotal evidence you could provide, if possible, that could go along with that statistic and the effects it, along a history of racist housing practices, has had on the communities for which you worked in, for and I assume were inspired by. I thank you for your time and consideration.

  • Hi David,

    I’m big fan from Libya, loved your shows.

    coming from the middle east (technically North Africa) can’t help but talk about foreign politics, My question here, what’s your take on US foreign politics and war on terror?

    I know it’s very broad question, looking forward to your reply.


  • Hey David,

    I work at the National Institute of Drug Abuse, at their satellite campus at JHU Medical Center. I’ve been given a cool opportunity to host “The House I Live In” as a part of NIDA’s “Reel Drug” film series. I’m excited to be pushing the conversation within the community of the federal government. From speaking briefly with Nora Volkow, NIDA’s director. It seems like on a federal level, drug research (NIDA) and drug enforcement (DEA) function completely independently. Basically Volkow has no political influence over how enforcement actually plays out. My aim here is to get folks at NIDA interested in how the drug war plays out on the ground, as opposed to solely in the laboratory. Anyways I just wanted to share that positive things are happening.


  • I just caught the last few minutes of you interview on Dangerous Ideas at the Sydney Opera House. What you said about teaching logical fallacies in school (“they really should”) really made sense. If they did, it could massively change the nature of the whole internet. People who used the fallacies would be recognised and ignored more often, and more meaningful discussions would result, and possibly a more meaningful internet.

    Ironically, everything I know about logical fallacies, I have learned from the Internet. Learning some of them has made me a more effective arguer and provided me with more tools to analyse my own thinking.

  • Mr. Simon,
    I’m African-American and was in college at George Washington University when The Wire first aired. That show has had such a massive impact on my life I can’t even quantify it adequately. I credit you and Howard Zinn for really shaping a lot of my views. Anyway it inspired me to pursue writing and I recently just signed with UTA based of a pilot I wrote which is heavily influenced by The Wire and The Corner. I just wanted to say thank you. Your influence reaches further than you can ever imagine.

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