down to The Wire

The New Yorker has a long and excellent piece on the world’s best ever television production, The Wire, as it shoots its fifth season, scheduled to air in January. This time it tackles the newsroom and its failings. Oh, man . . . I can’t wait.

“The Wire,” Simon often says, is a show about how contemporary American society—and, particularly, “raw, unencumbered capitalism”—devalues human beings. He told me, “Every single moment on the planet, from here on out, human beings are worth less. We are in a post-industrial age. We don’t need as many of us as we once did. So, if the first season was about devaluing the cops who knew their beats and the corner boys slinging drugs, then the second was about devaluing the longshoremen and their labor, the third about people who wanted to make changes in the city, and the fourth was about kids who were being prepared, badly, for an economy that no longer really needs them. And the fifth? It’s about the people who are supposed to be monitoring all this and sounding the alarm—the journalists. The newsroom I worked in had four hundred and fifty people. Now it’s got three hundred. Management says, ‘We have to do more with less.’ That’s the bullshit of bean counters who care only about the bottom line. You do less with less.”

Simon shows that you can make excellent drama out of social issues that matter, with a booster rocket of rage.

The good news? He’s working on a series about New Orleans. Got to keep the devil down in the hole.

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