The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

David Simon calls Eric Holder out

At an event that gave Attorney General Eric Holder an opportunity to pretend he gives a shit about kids being given "drugs," Holder made a request that also shows he doesn't have a clue.

Attorney General Eric Holder demanded yesterday [31 May 2011] that David Simon make another season of The Wire. Holder was on a panel with Wire cast members Jim True-Frost, Wendell Pierce, and Sonja Sohn as part of a campaign to draw attention to "drug endangered children," and they showed clips from the show to illustrate how kids connected to drug trafficking are abused and exploited. "Having looked at those clips again, I'm reminded how great that series was," Holder said. "I want to speak directly to [Ed] Burns and [David] Simon: Do another season of The Wire. That’s actually at a minimum," he joked. "If you don't do a season, do a movie. We've done HBO movies, this is a series that deserves a movie. I want another season or I want a movie. I have a lot of power, Mr. Burns and Mr. Simon." [Washington Examiner, Reuters]

The Wire represents perhaps the best use of television ever. No television series has ever encapsulated the utter impossibility of life for a large segment of Americans better. Over five seasons on HBO it developed characters we cared about and who plausibly cared about each other (or not) while parsing stuff like No Child Left Behind, the sellout of news organizations by their executives, and the "Drug War" ("War? Ain't no war. Wars end." -- from opening scene of Season 1).

You could do worse than give yourself the entire set of five seasons for Christmas. If you have Netflix, you're already set. Any single episode is better than the entire seemingly-interminable run of Law and Order (an example of the worst use of television).

While Holder is no doubt touched by The Wire's representation of a schoolkid whose mother sold his clothes to buy crack, he is, as are most tyrants, entirely oblivious to the fact that it was, in fact, he who went into the kid's closet and stole his clothes. And the fucking moron is requesting further exhibition on international television of the fact that he wears no clothes.

A few days after Holder's request, The Wire's creator, David Simon, replied:

The Attorney-General's kind remarks are noted and appreciated. I've spoken to Ed Burns and we are prepared to go to work on season six of The Wire if the Department of Justice is equally ready to reconsider and address its continuing prosecution of our misguided, destructive and dehumanising drug prohibition.

The exchange has at least clarified one thing: the chances of another season of The Wire are now exactly the same as America having a rational dialogue about drug law reform.

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