Film and Television Treme

Why I don’t tweet. Example #47

So I am on the way to a nice dinner with wife and child and Mr. Bourdain emails me.  Seems someone named Andy Cohen, who is also involved in this sprawling and relentless medium of television in some important way, has gotten into a back-and-forth with Mr. Bourdain on Twitter.  And out of the blue, though I am minding my own business — which is something for which I rarely get any credit  — Mr. Cohen, defending himself on a matter of interest to himself and Mr. Bourdain, goes out of his way to shit on the HBO production of Treme.

I don’t know Mr. Cohen.  I understand he is with the Bravo Network and he was defending their show, “Top Chef,” from some negative publicity that resulted from that production having bartered for some of the BP-oil spill restoration funds as an incentive for filming in Louisiana.   And in contending with Mr. Bourdain’s suggestion that he mitigate that negative publicity by making a charitable donation of the money, Mr. Cohen was not content to argue the merits or flaws of Mr. Bourdain’s point, or, for that matter, the merits or flaws of taking the funds in the first place.  Instead, Mr. Cohen rushes to drag the Treme production into his defense, citing, in apples-to-oranges fashion, the fact that we have availed ourselves of the same Louisiana tax incentives that are standardized to every film production in that state.

Okay, I am largely indifferent to this debate.  “Top Chef” and Mr. Cohen can do what they want.  And Mr. Bourdain can say what he wants about whatever Mr. Cohen and his show choose to do.  And they can go from there.

But I can’t be entirely indifferent to the shitty-ass, reach-around snark of some fellow who rushes to throw under the bus people about whom he has no knowledge whatsoever — and does so to gain a dishonest point in a fucking tweet war.  So, I reply to Mr. Bourdain’s email carefully, commenting not on “Top Chef” or Bravo, but asserting for what Treme did and did not do in New Orleans.  And Mr. Cohen, rather than reflect on why he dragged us into this and on any dissonance between his position and ours, he doubles down instead.  He tweets again that we should have voluntarily given the tax credits back to Louisiana.

Fuck Twitter.  In 140 characters, one can simplify anything to the point of stupidity, if not rank dishonesty.  And at that length, it’s way too easy to mistake easy sarcasm, or even a certain level of snide, with clever.  So, okay, Mr. Cohen called the tune.  But this will require more than a tweet or two, because real life is like that.  Here is a full answer to this gentleman’s bullshit in three easy stomps:

1)  “Top Chef” sought and received funds from the BP spill money in a negotiation with Louisiana officials that “Top Chef” apparently sought as a unique predicate for its filming in the state.  I am not criticizing this, but I am noting that this is different from Treme availing itself of the standardized tax incentives that are provided to all Louisiana television and film productions, without additional or outside negotiation.

2)  Mr. Cohen is the executive vice president of development for the Bravo network itself, meaning, he sits astride the budgetary authority to just say no to any outside negotiations or givebacks that such negotiations might impose upon  the state of Louisiana.  His authority and standing is profoundly different from the producers, cast and crew of Treme.  We are not executive vice presidents at HBO.  We are vendors who agree to provide so many hours of television to HBO for an amount of money that HBO determines to be our budget.  We sign that budget and promise to live by it, and we do.  Given that our little drama isn’t exactly a runaway hit, if we can’t make the hours for the money offered, then HBO orders fewer episodes or cancels the show.  But in any event, the decision to walk away from a standardized tax structure that Louisiana provides to all film production would be a decision above our pay grade.  In short, if David Simon or Eric Overmyer or Nina Noble were an executive vice president at HBO — the very chair that Mr. Cohen occupies at Bravo —  we might have found any number of ways to restore additional money and support to New Orleans.  Shit, we might have found a way to renew the show for a full fourth season, and while we were at it, maybe buy up a half dozen New Orleans documentaries and give Lionel Ferbos an hour-long concert special to boot. (Which is probably why that gig will not be ours in the foreseeable future.)

3)  Although the budgetary authority rests with HBO and not with the Treme production, it is fair to note that for four years, HBO allocated additional funds to underwrite a long-term campaign by Treme to raise money for a series of 501c3 charities in New Orleans.  Between various fundraising campaign and events over the last four years and  direct donations by producers, more than $500,000 was left behind for the use of New Orleans non-profits.  What was in our power to do, we did.  Whatever we could leverage, we leveraged.  And what we promised those charities, we delivered.  Not as an offhand or after-the-fact gesture, but as a continuing effort to use the production and its resources on behalf of our host city.  We did the same thing in Baltimore, in fact, when filming there.  And to measure apples against apples, what Mr. Bourdain was urging on Mr. Cohen, as I understand it, was not a blanket prohibition against accepting advantageous give-backs from Louisiana, but instead a charitable donation of that benefit, or some portion of it, to help locals.

Again, I really don’t care what “Top Chef” or Bravo does or doesn’t do.  It isn’t my business.  But I do know that Treme producers such as Laura Schweigman — who was specifically tasked with extending our charitable reach for the length of the show’s run  —  were, along with many others in cast and crew, devoting additional time and resources for extramural fundraisers until the last weeks of  production, culminating a four-year campaign to leave behind a substantive thank-you to New Orleans, its culture and its citizens for hosting us.  For Mr. Cohen to flippantly imply that because HBO failed somehow to refuse the same tax rates that Louisiana offers to every production, we are in the same boat as “Top Chef” and its extended negotiations for a BP payout is just, well, horseshit.  Snide works well and seems plausible in 140-character morsels.  When laid out in detail, it’s something altogether different.  Sorry, but if Mr. Cohen is any kind of mensch and thinks about it for a little longer than it takes to type the first thing on his mind, he’ll see that an apology is owed.


  • A. Twitter is home to funny people and has produced new comedic forms.

    B. I would follow you on twitter. You could just tweet a notification and link to this site whenever you write 1,000 words.

    I’m not going to remember to keep visiting your site, although I’d like to. You could make it easier for me.

    • Ever heard of RSS feeds that you can subscribe to? It is that icon to the right of the heading of the page.
      In any case you do realize he isn’t doing this for money or other profit don’t you? In other words, if you are interested in participating here then it is incumbent upon you to do what it takes to stay abreast of what is being posted here and not the other way round.

  • …so many replies by obviously intelligent persons…what a waste…don’t you have dishes to wash or etc? It’s true that Bravo has really cheap shows displaying people who believe they are entitled but where else am I going to see Tabatha or learn about the Real Estate Business? Sometimes we need ass-scratching shows, not brain-stretching.

  • I guess it depends on how you use Twitter. I discovered some of my favorite writers/journalists while meandering through the Twitterverse. This blog being my most recent find.

  • Your opening to create “Top Chief,” in which Mardi Gras Indian chiefs compete to create the best beadwork, best feathers, best chant, etc.

  • I don’t think Simon even mentioned this, but the Treme production also made a concerted effort to hire locals. I have no association with the production whatsoever, but I visited NOLA for work sometime after the first season. I ate at the Redfish Grill on Bourbon, and one of the waiters looked familiar. I asked my waitress if he was on TV, and she confirmed that he was in Treme. It was the actor that plays Antoine Batiste’s frequent cab driver. That dude who you see getting repeatedly stiffed by Bunk at the end of a season was a waiter on Bourbon. I talked to him briefly. I don’t remember his name, but he was really friendly and high-energy. He talked about how he hoped he would be in the following season too, cause he liked everyone on the production. (I imagine that he liked the extra cash as well) How does that taste, Cohen? As good as fried oysters?

  • Excuse my poor english but you know that! I have only understand “Fuck twetter”
    Tweeter isn’t total black. You don’t know Bernard Pivot, journalist of litterature on TV with “Bouillon de culture” et “Apostrophes”. He is in love of the french language, he don’t work anymore, he is 78 year’s old but he tweet it is anexercise of style.
    So, it was just a clin d’ oeil but i don’ t understand your articles because of my poor english and ican’t read you.I would enjoy that
    So, I will read Baltimore and continue to read you in french and to look at your series
    Thanks for your work

  • My issue with twitter is that it creates the illusion in a lot of people’s minds that they’re Edward R. Murrow and that the world is just waiting for their thoughts on the issue of the day. Just in the past month we saw it with the Boston Bombing, the Jason Collins announcement, and probably others that dont come to mind at the moment. We get an ignorant/uninformed/insensitive opiniion from some semi-public figure nobody needed to hear from in the first place, followed a day or two later by a half-hearted apology. You think people would learn their lesson, but I guess the instant gratification of emptying your brain to the masses just proves too great.

    I think Congressman Barney Frank said it best “I have one ambition: to retire before it becomes essential to tweet”. My guess is he made it but just barely.

  • This is a fantastic response to an executive whose programming is in stark contrast to everything I have had the pleasure of seeing from Mr. Simon. Bravo produces superficial filth for 95% of the day. Glorifying and making celebrities of people simply because they are already rich and spoiled. Encouraging awful behavior that rewards people for being out of touch. I will add the caveat that they have played a role in allowing gay culture to become more accepted in the main steam, so they do deserve kudos for that. However, overall Bravo is the absolute worst in its love for the obnoxious and entitled.

    The only issue I take with the above blog is the overall dismissal of twitter. A very small percentage of twitter is mean spirited, or abusive. Personally, twitter has been a fun addition to a lot of the things I truly enjoy. Beyond the enjoyment that comes from interacting online during a live sporting event, It has allowed me an access to a lot of people that would have been otherwise out of reach. Getting the opportunity to discuss Homicide with the likes of Erik Dellums, Reed Diamond and Danial Baldwin gives me a thrill that never would have happened. Especially for a show like Homicide that was criminally underrated, and for some reason, seems to have not maintained the attention of a population that seems to be gaining respect for well made television. As it is my favorite drama in the history of television, any chance I get to promote the show I take, and twitter is a great outlet for that, especially when you get a neat exchange between Luther Mahoney and the man that pursued him.

    Thats not to say everyone should be on twitter, and it is all sunshine and roses, but for the vast majority of people (not the entitled and wealthy like Andy Cohan) twitter is simply a fun way to stay connected, and reach out to people you have a great deal of respect for. Having said that, it’s refreshing to see a well respected man take a moment to point out factual inaccuracies in a world where made up comments become “fact” so easily.

    • First shit first: Homicide is your favorite TV show ever? Not, The Wire? Weird.

      Next, I agree with everything else you wrote. I’ve been tweeting with Bunny Colvin, The Bunk, Herc, and Omar; all of whom have been gracious and fun to talk to via Twitter. Wendell Pierce even came to Denver and quoted some of his lines for me as he promised me he would do on the medium (@lt_diablo). I dare say this kind of small but meaningful contact would be impossible without Twitter.

      Think of Twitter as Hemmingway and everything else as Melville or Hawthorn I guess. I prefer the prolix, but terse, succinct verbiage has merit.

      Shit, I’d rather talk to the writers than the actors, but Simon won’t respond to me and his cast does. I take what I can get; and twitter gives me something.

      • The fact that you said to “think of Twitter as Hemmingway” is the biggest slap in the face to Hemmingway’s works in the history of the universe. Twitter is a fucking social plague and it’s only for the dim-witted who can’t think in more than 140 characters

        • Dude, it was tongue in cheek.

          Secondly, read my tweets; they’re borderline poetic. I use semicolons and everything 😉

          But, maybe I’m as crepuscular as the lumpen proletariat for whom you think Twitter is designed…

          “Robert Jordan knew that now his papers were being examined by the man who could not read” – For Whom the Bell Tolls (I actually have read Hemmingway; that shit is from memory not wiki quote)

            • I know that line well; and it’s both true and why I put the 😉 emoticon afterwards (which itself contains a semicolon! Oh the cleverness!)

              I am beginning to feel like no matter how much self deprecating language or semiotic cues that denote I’m fucking being facetious I include on this thread I’m still going to have to suffer rejoinders from people who think they are schooling me on shit.

              Brothers and sisters: I’m joking around a lot on here; and often at my own expense. I know comparing Hemingway to Twitter is blasphemous/cheeky; I know my own tweets are largely inchoate and puerile; and I fucking know my “bragging” about using a semicolon is asinine (it was a self deprecating bit of humor vis-a-vis my proclivity for using the damn things). I’m so tired now… Zzzzzz

              At any rate, all my larger points still obtain. Not everything on Twitter is dumb; and only a fucking retard would assert otherwise. “Brevity is the soul of wit”, as someone said some fucking where… (@oscarwilde)

        • Comparing Twitter to Hemingway (one M) is silly, and I admit that the 140 character limit can be quite frustrating. While admittedly many who use it are dimwits, that isn’t the case with everyone and it does have some useful functions. It’s not wholly good, but it’s not wholly bad either. The key is not getting sucked into pointless debates with idiots and to follow only those whose opinions interest you. You also always can unfollow those that end up being a waste of time and block those dimwits who fill up your stream.

          • I was the primogeniture of the misspelling of Hemingway. So mea culpa on that.

            Next, if my attempt at a bit of a jocular (although not as inept as people seem to think) syllogism that compared the short sentences and terse narrative Hemingway I THOUGHT was well known for with a much maligned Twitter which is similarly hemmed in by these constraints seems “silly” or “the worst” insult to the great works themselves. I meant it as a tongue in cheek homage to the man and still feel like as a comparison of style it actually does obtain.

            Many people inveigh against EH for the lack of depth his writing contained in those “short, muscular” sentences, and preferred Hawthorn or Melville due to their penchant for a more ornate brocade. I happen to prefer the more prolix Melville my own damn self, but I adore Hemingway and this my entire goddamn point was that BOTH styles have merit.

            And to be even more frank: when great minds like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Lawrence Krauss, and great writers like Salman Rusdie or great filmmakers like Darren Aronofsky all use Twitter I suffer a certain ennui when I read some manichean and fatuous remark about how only the crepuscular and nuance/depth averse use it.

            * …to Catalonia 😉

            P.s I’m typing on a mobile device; forgive errors due to the intersection of it and my thumb.

      • Yes, I adore Homicide. Perhaps it’s just the fact it’s more limited in scope, allows me to feel like I am able to know the characters better. But i think it’s just the conversations. The feel like we’re (as a viewer) in the backseat of a car watching a discussion between Bayliss and Pembleton in the front. While it obviously doesn’t have the social significance of The Wire, it was pretty impressive in how far ahead of it’s time it was in regards to internet related discussions and storylines, as well as not shying away from things like homosexuality/bisexuality. It’s also a great show to go back on and see what things translated to the Wire later on.

        To anyone that hasn’t taken the time to watch Homicide, especially if you’re a fan of the Wire, you’re doing yourself a great disservice. It truly was a groundbreaking show that in my opinion has not been matched to this point in terms of balancing realism and drama.

  • Case in point from the ground in New Orleans. The New Orleans Musician’s Clinic had to discontinue dental coverage due to lack of funds. This coverage was reinstated using monies raised by a TREME charity event. One example.
    Although there was some small payout to fishermen and restaurant workers by BP, the right thing for Cohen, Bravo and Top Chef to do would be to give their BP money to foodservice or seafood worker’s charities, and then some.

  • I believe that slightly out of context words I once heard are oh so appropriate when applied to Mr Cohen and his Bravo ilk….. “Fuck you, you fucking fucks!”.

  • Yeah, I guess what really burns in the whole sanctimonious nature of Cohen’s defense. A sort of “I didn’t do any thing bad, but even if I did, those guys did something bad too!” I mean, are we arguing with the third grade teacher here? If taking the BP money is fine, they whatever Treme did is fine. If taking the BP money isn’t fine, then own up to it.

    It’s also good to hear about all the non-profit work you guys have been doing with the show, that’s really great.

  • Mr. Simon: Your use of profanity and vulgar curse words invalidates all of your talking points. You need more than 140 characters to hurl expletives? Count me out!

    • Regrettably, I am under contract at HBO. As a subscription-cable outlet offering adult fare, the network requires use of one expletive every thirty-two words, so I can’t tell you how fucking sorry I am to have disappointed and offended you. All best,

      • Twitter is very inconsistent. I have a potty mouth on there all the time, but I’ve never been banned. I’ve also seen others who have been downright offensive to people using profanity and whose accounts persist. The main problem with Twitter, which I’m unfortunately addicted to, is that it’s a massive time suck if you get into good conversations. As for the morons, you always can block them and you never see them again.

      • TO: David Simon
        FROM: HBO Management
        RE: Adult Content

        First off, congratulations on meeting your per-episode quotas for profanities and obscenities. We know it’s hard to write dialogue with mandatory requirements and we appreciate your efforts.

        That said, it has come to our attention that Treme is falling woefully short in its gruesome death and gratuitous nudity requirements. We remind you that each episode must contain at least 2 gruesome deaths (preferably beheadings) and at least 4 shots of bare breasts and 2 shots of bare buttocks (male or female). We hope that you will ensure future episodes will meet this standard.


        • We’re lucky that Mr. Simon’s work at HBO came when they were interested in making quality programming (even if they short-changed him in the number of episodes for The Wire’s final season and really fucked him over in what they gave him to conclude Treme) and didn’t come in its early days with shows such as The Candid Candid Camera, The Unexpurgated Benny Hill and The Hitchhiker.

  • I have a twitter account. I use it to read updates from the Times, sports ,music. With that in my mind, I don’t waste my time trying to converse on it because I always thought of it as trying to get the cool kids to notice ( actors actresses musicians etc etc) I just can’t be bothered.

  • A) Never, ever join Twitter. It is the lowest common denominator of humanity, recorded proof that we were not meant to share every fleeting soundbite-length thought with the world. It’s also doing its best to wreck what little journalistic standards our culture has left…but I could go on all day about this subject. Anyway, hope you are braced for the inevitable lazy and inaccurate “David Simon joins Anthony Bourdain/Andy Cohen Twitter feud!” headline about this. Heh.

    B) I’ve got nothing against trashy programming in principle, really, but I gotta point out that you’re arguing with the dude that brought us THE REAL HOUSEWIVES franchise. I doubt giving back to, or improving society is tops on his priority list. Nice try, though.

  • Who does the make the decisions to cancel shows at HBO? I want to talk to them. I absolutely love Treme. I am a late adopter, since I can’t put together the funds to pay the subscription fee…I rent them after the fact, but I adore everything I’ve seen of Treme. Last year, at the Austin Screenwriting Festival, I sat a few seats down from Eric Roth, as actors performed a stage reading of Luck, which HBO cancelled after one season. It was amazing writing as well. Which brings me to the question: What does it take to have a long standing hit at HBO? Certainly the VP’s of development aren’t using great writing/story development as their top metric. Oh, and have you seen Andy Cohen’s profile picture on Twitter? It says so much.

    I am glad you raise the fact that you made great monetary contributions to both Baltimore and New Orleans. You are certainly doing your part to make the world a better place. I don’t think you should just speak in terms of monetary donation though. What did Treme do for hospitality and tourism in the city of New Orleans? (I don’t mention Baltimore in this example, because now I’m scared to death to go there.) But as far as NOLA, Treme must have given the city an immeasurable boost in tourism post-Katrina.

    As far as Twitter, if you really want to see Twitter at it’s worst, search Dorris Burke during the NBA Finals. What is said about this woman as she’s covering NBA basketball is as slanderous and cruel as it comes. Yet she just keeps interviewing LeBron James and doing her job. I find it very courageous and admirable. I do hope she doesn’t read her mentions.

    If you had a Twitter account I would subscribe, and I would favorite many of your Tweets, nod an instant yes to much of what you say. And the others…the mean, the careless, the misinformed – you can just block ’em.

    • To the point of your second paragraph: After two seasons of Treme, my wife and I decided that we should take a week trip to New Orleans. She had been there four times in her life, all pre-Katrina, and I had never been. We went the first week of March; no major events happening.

      It was fantastic. It didn’t matter that there wasn’t a festival or big event; there was live music at almost any venue you decided to check out. We’re from Chicago, and I started to get upset that our jazz and blues traditions aren’t anywhere near as public and pervasive. Especially from the perspective that busking and gigs at smaller venues seemed to inspire and provide opportunities for so many young musicians.

      The best line from a large group of very talented high school students playing on the street: “Every dollar you give means we can go to college, and every twenty dollars you give means we won’t have to.”

  • David, if your reason for not using Twitter is that people say idiotic things on there (regrettably true), then might it not be a good idea to join and help even the balance a bit? I hope you will consider it.

  • Your point is so well made I just tweeted it.

    I have long felt that Twitter is a platform best used for pithy observation, or sharing project/product information (PBS, TED, Ceelo’s new album). I don’t understand attempts to carry on dialogue in a meaningful way, particularly in the form of argument. Recently, in the fallout of her seemingly homophobic comments from stage, after which her entire tour was cancelled, Michelle Shocked has been using Twitter to argue/discuss her true meaning. She is now regularly accused of being schizophrenic.

    As to the matter of Top Chef wanting BP money for the short time production will be there, it seems ungracious to not consider doing something to support those who live in the community who are still struggling to recover – but if you’ve seen any of the shows produced by Bravo (Real Housewives of everywhere USA, Flipping Out, Shahs of Sunset, Vanderpump Rules) Grace is not their operating principal. Quite the opposite. Other than Top Chef, the majority of their shows have evolved into the exposing of, and celebrating, people behaving their worst. And I will admit to getting sucked in like a lookie loo driving past a 4 car pile up if I land on one of those shows while channel surfing. It’s appalling but I can’t look away.

    Part of Andy Cohen’s job is to stir the shit and get people talking (or fighting) – he’s awesome at it. At the end of the day I wouldn’t be surprised if he did exactly what Mr. Bourdain would like him to do – because it is the right thing (and he wouldn’t want to be called a Jackhole) – but there will be a LOT of talking on Twitter and the internets about Top Chef New Orleans first which will most likely translate into eyeballs on the show.

    I didn’t even know Top Chef New Orleans was happening until this Twitter war started.

  • Heh. I avoid Twitter at all costs, because nothing good can come of putting every fleeting thought out in public.

    Meanwhile, it’s none of Cohen’s business what HBO does or doesn’t do with its productions. I’d have told him to quit worrying about HBO’s productions and start worrying about Bravo’s, but I probably would have put it more insultingly. Especially if I used Twitter.

  • Still boggles my mind why it took this long to have a season of Top Chef in New Orleans in the first place. “Hi, we make a show about cooking but we’re going to wait until its financially appealing to choose one of the Top 5 food cities in the nation.” Just feels like a double slap to the face, as if New Orleans weren’t a worthy location for their show but our money is.

    My complaint with the use of BP money is that we’re already known for our food (perception studies prove this) –– but we’re NOT known for all the historical sights, activities and family-friendly fun that can be had in New Orleans (the Bourbon Street image is thrown down people’s throats to the point where it’s a caricature). Just seems like a waste to promote an asset of the region that people are already keenly aware of –– it’s a show for foodies, they should have New Orleans already on their minds. Maybe you can buy some commercials with Drew Brees during Saints games next.

    • I de-twittered myself a few months ago. While I know that meaningful things can happen there, far more often it’s just people being as clever and snarky and brief as possible. And it lends itself to all kinds of narcissistic self-serving bullshit. I think it exacerbates the problem of sacrificing accuracy for the sake of being first.

      I might be a bit biased because last year, I had an account banned — some guy was celebrating the anniversary of the Birmingham bombings and I objected using a bit of off-color language. 140 bits of off-color language. And I got banned. I went back under another name, but it left a bad taste and there was no one to call and discuss this with. Give me substance over branding any day.


    • Mr. Simon, I know this issue is dear to your heart, so what is your opinion on The Chicago Sun Times firing all its photographers.

  • You’re a lot more polite than I would have been under the same circumstances. Bravo (no pun intended).

    Re Twitter, I use it primarily as a little wire service, and it often has been invaluable in that regard. And I tweet — but there are some discussions/arguments I simply won’t have on that medium because of its limitations. It’s like haiku: perfect for a lot of small things, or small expressions of big things, but wrong for much else.

  • fuck wasting your time responding to shots in the dark. You should instead read the A Song Of Ice and Fire books (Hbo’s game of thrones). Many , Many, similar themes between your work and the books.

  • Anyone who has paid attention to Treme’s engagement with NOLA would be on your side in this exchange, unfair to drag you into this. I will say, as much as I appreciate Mr. Bourdain’s support for the real people & communities still struggling with the BP impacts, I have a hard time faulting Bravo for negotiating for a cut of BP’s $. The outstanding question is, how will that money be used? A Top Chef version of a BP, shiny, happy Gulf ad? Or something more nuanced that talks about the 200 miles of still-oiled shore, & the still struggling fishing communities? Here’s a recent news story digging into ongoing concerns, actually featuring a voice known to all participants, NOLA Chef Susan Spicer:
    Bravos Top Chef Masters has empowered nice-sized donations to worthy non-profits, and they’ve worked with some great, aware NOLA chefs in the past (such as Susan), so there’s a chance Bourdain-style truth can come out of this initiative. We’ll see.

    • Agree. I am agnostic on the use of the BP restoration money to bring “Top Chef” to New Orleans. Mr. Cohen had legitimate counter-arguments to make, I am sure. But in bringing up Treme and pretending to some equivalency between his situation and ours, he was imprecise and unfair, and oblivious to the fact that he was citing a television production that commited to a policy of community engagement from the moment we set up shop. I am defending our performance only, not inserting myself in any debate over how Louisiana should use the BP funds, or who should avail themselves of the benefit from Louisiana’s decisions.

      • But since you shot on film, couldn’t that film be scanned at an HD resolution and released on Blu-ray? I’m sure it would look (and sound) fantastic.

        • Disagree. The shot composition was undertaken for 4:3. Decisions were made about the aesthetics when we were shooting, and later, editing. And I’ve seen horrible HD transfers of non-HD films on the BBC and other American outlets. Choices were made in the focus and depth that are undone by the HD transfer.

          The film is what we intented.

          It’s up to HBO, I suppose. But I hope they leave it alone.

  • You expect a little @#$%! like Cohen to even understand the meaning of the word “mensch”, let alone act on that undetrstanding??? Remember, he is working for Bravo, the channel run by the kind of people who give the business a bad name. I don’t remember who it was who said it, but (paraphrasing) you cannot expect a man to do the right thing when his income depends on his doing the opposite.

    • No need for ad hominem. I don’t know Mr. Cohen. I’m responding to his suggestion of equivalence between Treme’s performance in New Orleans and that of Top Chef, only.

      • Come on a little ad hominem is needed… Look at Andy’s twitter avatar. It begs all reasonable men to insult him. 😉

        p.s. The Wire is even better than people know; and everyone knows it is the best TV ever. But, it’s even better than THAT

        • @LDiablo
          I’ll take you at your word. But after repeatedly reading posts that exclaim “the wire is the best ever”, and rarely without ever any following sentences about why that might be, I wonder if you’d be willing to say just what it is that solicits “… Everyone knows… But it is even better than that!”.
          It may be. Perhaps it. It would be nice to know just why you (and/or others) think so.
          It might even be worth while to d.simon to know.

  • @Bourdain this is why D.Simon can produce a show like #The_Wire. He’s a dialectical thinker/badass. Fuck @BravoAndy & fatuous ppl everywhere

  • +1 on the response to Cohen. But why does Twitter get dragged into the shit slinging? Twitter has a monopoly on snark, snide and oversimplification? Isn’t the condemnation more appropriately directed not at Twitter but at certain of its users? I don’t Tweet either or love all it enables, but think Twitter is an awesome, transformative tool that can be used for good or bad like any other. And funny you should invite us to “share this” post through that very medium:)

    • I am being hyperbolic about Twitter, I agree. I see it as a valuable tool for highlighting and spreading information. But when people get to trying to have a substantive argument or discussion over anything in such small morsels, nuance and accuracy are the first casualties. As it was here in the hands of Mr. Cohen.

      • Exactly. Twitter’s great except for the people on it. Or, many of them anyway. They insist on tweeting every thought that passes through their head, and to use it for yammering and arguing, even though it’s the worst possible medium for that stuff.

        I’ve taken to favoring institutional accounts over individual ones, in general. I unfollow all the yammerers. In so doing, I’m making it into what it should be: a real-time stream of news and information unparalleled by anything that has come before.

        I’d like to invent a twitter where interaction isn’t even allowed, and all tweets must contain a link.

      • This is exactly the issue explored by Neil Postman’s “Amusing Ourselves to Death”. The medium of communication has a profound impact on discourse. Twitter isn’t an acceptable medium for nuanced debates, and it’s troubling that so many such issues are relegated to 140 characters purely out of convenience.

        • Interesting you should cite Postman here. Wonder what Mr. Simon would have to say about his notion that rational arguments can’t be made in the medium of television? Some of Postman’s stuff really resonates (e.g., “Everything from telegraphy and photography in the 19th century to the silicon chip in the twentieth has amplified the din of information, until matters have reached such proportions today that for the average person, information no longer has any relation to the solution of problems.”). But his idea that “form excludes content” obviously overstates the case and has been refuted not only by Mr. Simon’s work on TV but also by a lot of great, and indeed nuanced, stuff on Twitter (e.g., poetry, serial fiction, comedy). Thanks for mentioning Postman though–I enjoyed checking him out.

  • You were even using LEGITIMATE 501(c)3 nonprofit charities that contributed to social welfare, not tainted dirty money from an environmental terrorist masquerading as a corporation. I can see how even though you weren’t involved in the Twitter fight, you’d be miffed. Completely off topic, have you heard an air date for Treme’s last season? Will it be September again?

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