Tories try to spoil the Wire

My Wire fan-status already took a knock when the Guardian started running a Wire-fan reading group and most of the posters seemed to be prats. But to find the Tories using the Wire, just to steal its perceived credibility for a soundbite, is making me gag.

The BBC website headline says

Parts of Britain ‘like The Wire’

I assumed that was a subject-verb-object construction, meaning “There are parts of Britain where people like the Wire.” Which is bound to be true but a bit of a strange news headline.

But it turned out they meant:

Parts of Britain (are) ‘like The Wire’

Even that is fair enough. After all, it’s a drama that’s deliberately meant to suspend disbelief through “realism” ffs. Bits of it feel “true” to me, “true” in terms of my experience of the world and of the ways people act. I don’t assume that makes it literally “true,” in a documentary sense. No one who’s ever watched a tv series before would assume it’s a literally “true” representation of life in Baltimore, let alone any UK city.

The Conservatives have compared parts of the UK to The Wire, a US television show which portrays inner-city drugs and violence.
In a speech, shadow home secretary Chris Grayling argued that the UK was suffering the same culture of gangs and street violence found in the US.
He said Labour had failed to ensure law and order was preserved in the poorest parts of the country. ..
Mr Grayling repeated his charge that poorer communities in the UK have been let down by Labour, saying: “The Wire has become a byword for urban deprivation and societal breakdown in modern America.”
He said: “When The Wire comes to Britain’s streets, it is the poor who suffer most. It is the poor who are the ones who have borne the brunt of the surge in violence under this government.

It’s pretty obvious at this point that Chris Grayling hasn’t really ever watched the Wire.

Because, if he had, he’d have noticed that the crimes aren’t just at street level.The economy, the political world and the media don’t exactly emerge unscathed.

Crocodile tears for the “poor” seem to be the Tories’ new election strategy. For instance, they claim that the poor are being let down.

Oh yes, “let down by rising crime” is the claim. I think that misinterpreting & manipulating crime figures is called “juking the stats” in the Wire. So you’d think that a Wire-o-phile like the shadow Tory Home secretary would have the grace to blush when he does it. (Seeing as all crime figures show falling rates)

OK, the Tories aren’t the BNP – which is also trying to corner the market in populist concern for the class-formerly-known-as-working (before the last Tory governments hammered it into the ground.) But they bear a pretty monstrous responsibility for the disaffection and poverty of so many neighbourhoods, where many people never found work since the 1980s. (Don’t make me repeat the list of Tory crimes against “no-such-thing-as-society”, because I will rant for hours.)

So it’s doubly sickening to see them both using the consequences of their own actions as a stick with which to beat the government and dragging the good name of the Wire into it.

Still, it’s all in the game, I suppose…..

The Wire on the BBC

How impressed am I? BBC2 is showing the Wire on Monday at 23:20.

Enough said.

Generation Kill on FX on Sunday

TV guide brought to you by Odin’s new official enforcer. (It’s a dirty job but someone has to do it.)

David Simon’s new war series Generation Kill starts in the UK on Sunday night. It’s another work of genius from the boy Simon, multi-layered, beautifully shot, meaningful on dozens of levels. Every interaction between characters explores machismo, racism, class, cultural misunderstanding, America’s international role, the nature of institutions, the nature of war, etc etc etc. (And I’m not even halfway through the list.) I’ll risk well-earned mockery for pseudery and say that it’s probably going to be the definitive 21st century war movie.

Which makes it embarrassing to say that – after watching the first episode, I don’t think I can watch any more. I’ll certainly need some recovery time before I try any more episodes. It’s so bleak and feels so genuine that it almost sucked out my will to live. I felt as if I had a mild case of post-traumatic stress syndrome after watching it.

Watch it if you can handle it.

Baltimore isnt just in Maryland

David Simon wrote in the Guardian today. I hate trying to write anything about the Wire. I can’t do it justice. I just end up gushing about its genius or calling it Dickensian, a phrase that was neatly satirised in Series 5.

I also hate the way that appreciating the Wire has become a shorthand for being “hip and sensitive” in the UK, as I noticed when a fair few people interviewed in the Guardian, a couple of months ago, claimed to “only have a TV to watch the Wire….” (I find the Guardian’s Wire discussion forum too irritating to read, even though I have to admit that it’s mainly because the people who contribute so lamely and pretentiously just make me aware how lame and pretentious I sound on the same subject.)

Anyway, there’s a bit in this excellent piece where I think David Simon misunderstands the European popularity of the Wire.

But at the same time, I’m acutely aware that our dystopian depiction of Baltimore has more appeal the farther one travels from America. The Wire is, of course, dissent of a kind and it is true that there are many of my countrymen who are in fundamental disagreement with the manner in which the nation is being governed and managed. But somehow, it sounds better to my ear when it’s my own people talking trash and calling our problems out……
…But the emotion in all of that sometimes leads the overseas commentary about Baltimore and The Wire toward something that I don’t recognise as accurate.
Baltimore is not the inner circle of hell. It is not entirely devoured by a drug economy that serves as its last viable industry. It is not a place in which gangsters routinely fire clip after clip, spraying the streets in daylight ambushes. It is not unlivable, or devoid of humanity, or a reservoir of unmitigated human despair.

It may be about Baltimore but it’s not just about Baltimore. The truth of the Wire isn’t that it describes Baltimore life accurately. It clearly doesn’t. It’s a TV series not a fly-on-the-wall documentary. Artistic licence, ffs. What is true in the Wire is the truth of art, i.e. what it says about being the human condition. You’d imagine the only people who would watch it and assume it’s all literally true would be those people who follow soap story-lines as if they are reportage.

I don’t know anything about Baltimore but it’s a pretty “true” depiction of my neighbourhood and my city. Parts of my neighbourhood and parts of the life of my city, granted. Not true all the time and not true of everybody, but there’s enough reality in there for me to recognise it:

Racism; violence; gang warfare; war on drugs; wars over drugs; corruption; soul-destroying education; hopeless kids; traditional industries destroyed; gentrification, and all.

That doesn’t make my city an inner circle of hell, either, although parts of it might qualify as outer circles. Baltimore doesn’t have a monopoly on that stuff. It could be almost any city in the former industrial centres. It’s also just as true of many cities in the emerging economies. What’s amazing about the Wire is not just its accurate sociology, though.

It’s the writing, it’s the characters, it’s the acting, it’s the attention to visual detail. It’s the fact that someone managed to make a series that is really great on a standard superficial TV-watching level and still cram in a social analysis at the same time.

More media stuff

The Guardian seems to have started a Wire discussion group. It would be churlish to suggest that the Guardian, as an entity, never took as much interest in the Wire before it centred round a newspaper office.

(Charlie Brooker and a couple of other Guardian tv reviewers were the honourable exceptions to this.)

I’m going to steal its intro warning to explain why I haven’t been indulging in my customary gushing over the genius of the Wire:

SPOILER ALERT: Usual rules: No giving the game away if you’ve gone further; don’t spoil it for yourself if you are further behind.

Basically, it’s too difficult to remember which Wire events are OK to write about and which aren’t, in case I spoil someone’s enjoyment. Sadly, I’ve already spoilt it for myself by seeing it already. I know what’s going to happen in the wind-up part of the 5-series set, so I don’t want to watch it until I’ve forgotten enough detail to make it watchable again.

There’s an Iraq war short series from “the team who brought you the Wire.” I would be grateful if someone who’s seen it in the US will tell me if it’s good. I’ve decided to wait till it’s on television here, so as not to spoil it, in case it is good.

However, I’m so squeamish that I won’t want to watch it if it’s too distressing. Which, given that it’s about the Iraq war, is probably a certainty. So I’m in two minds about the whole thing and would welcome any guidance.

Otherwise completely unconnected to the above rambling, except for being also interesting in today’s Guardian, there’s an article by Hicham Yezza, the academic who’s waiting to be deported after downloading the al-qaeda manual for a colleague.

The UN’s committee on human rights has just published a report criticising Britain’s anti-terror laws and the resulting curbs on civil liberties. For many commentators the issues raised are mostly a matter of academic abstractions and speculative meanderings. For me, it is anything but. These laws have destroyed my life. (from Hicham Yezza in the Guardian.)

I had lazily assumed that this nonsense was all sorted out months ago. It appears not. Just because the media have lost interest doesn’t mean that this absurdity has been undone. In fact, some inexorable process – that Yezza characterises as Kafkaesque – seems have been set going.

OK, I lied

Sorry, I know I promised not to mention it again but but David Davies, the Tory Shadow Home Secretary, has just stepped up* in a truly astonishing way.

He’s resigned from the Conservative party to stand in a by-election for his own seat, on a platform of opposing the “erosion of civil liberties.” Not just the 42 days but the database state and CCTV. Woot. The man is fast becoming my hero.

From the BBC report

BBC Political Editor Nick Robinson said it was an extraordinary move which was almost without precedent in British politics.

I’ve decided to list the Labour MPs of principle as well.
The 36 Labour rebels were:

Diane Abbott (Hackney North & Stoke Newington), Richard Burden (Birmingham Northfield), Katy Clark (Ayrshire North & Arran), Harry Cohen (Leyton & Wanstead), Frank Cook (Stockton North), Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North), Jim Cousins (Newcastle upon Tyne Central), Andrew Dismore (Hendon), Frank Dobson (Holborn & St Pancras), David Drew (Stroud), Paul Farrelly (Newcastle-under-Lyme), Mark Fisher (Stoke-on-Trent Central), Paul Flynn (Newport West), Neil Gerrard (Walthamstow), Dr Ian Gibson (Norwich North), Roger Godsiff (Birmingham Sparkbrook & Small Heath), John Grogan (Selby), Dai Havard (Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney), Kate Hoey (Vauxhall), Kelvin Hopkins (Luton North), Glenda Jackson (Hampstead & Highgate), Dr Lynne Jones (Birmingham Selly Oak), Peter Kilfoyle (Liverpool Walton), John McDonnell (Hayes & Harlington), Andrew Mackinlay (Thurrock), Bob Marshall-Andrews (Medway), Michael Meacher (Oldham West & Royton), Julie Morgan (Cardiff North), Chris Mullin (Sunderland South), Dr Doug Naysmith (Bristol North West), Gordon Prentice (Pendle), Linda Riordan (Halifax), Alan Simpson (Nottingham South), Emily Thornberry (Islington South & Finsbury), David Winnick (Walsall North), Mike Wood (Batley & Spen) (from the Independent)

I am very pleased to see my last-week’s hero Alan Simpson is in there in my new political heroes list. Plus a good few more. Blimey, a patriotic tear is rising in my eye. There is still some hope for the country.

* Apologies to the Wire for gratuitous use of Baltimorespeak. And, in case you’re wondering why no recent Wire blogs, it’s because I don’t want to do Series 5 spoilers.

Witch trials and some good news

Hat tip to Infidel753 for pointing to this news item on the BBC.

In Saudi Arabia , an illiterate woman was sentenced to death for witchcraft.

This story was credited to Human Rights Watch. It’s on their website.

The judges relied on Fawza Falih’s coerced confession and on the statements of witnesses who said she had “bewitched” them to convict her in April 2006. She retracted her confession in court, claiming it was extracted under duress, and that as an illiterate woman she did not understand the document she was forced to fingerprint. She also stated in her appeal that her interrogators beat her during her 35 days in detention at the hands of the religious police. At one point, she had to be hospitalized as a result of the beatings.
The judges never investigated whether her confession was voluntary or reliable or investigated her allegations of torture. They never even made an inquiry as to whether she could have been responsible for allegedly supernatural occurrences, such as the sudden impotence of a man she is said to have “bewitched.”…

Well, confessions extracted under torture seem to be internationally acceptable now, so don’t expect any complaints from the USA, Saudis…

The Human Rights Watch website is almost uniformly depressing reading. So I am going to mention the one item on that site that might make you pull back from going completely postal. (Please feel free to read the rest.)

California is about to repeal the law that allows the sentencing of children to life without parole. At the moment,

There are 227 inmates in California sentenced as juveniles to life in prison without parole. …. Forty-five percent of California youth sentenced to life without parole for involvement in a murder did not actually kill the victim. Many were convicted of felony murder, or for aiding and abetting the murder, because they acted as lookouts or were participating in another felony when the murder took place.

(Where there was an adult co-defendant, over half the children interviewed by Human Rights Watch got a more severe sentence than the adult.)

Other states are considering reforms or have efforts underway to eliminate the sentence, including Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, and Washington.

Ok, this is one small step, etc, but at least it is in the direction of more humanity, when the general impetus of the world seems to be to get ever less and less humane. So, nice one California and any other states that follow this lead.

Sorry, Rowan Williams

I have now been forcibly convinced that this blog blithely joined the rest of the UK – wow, does this mean we’ve finally grown up – in misrepresenting what Rowan Williams said  about shari’a law.

I am tempted to  blame the BBC, to let myself off the ethical hook. “I was just following the BBC story. They are supposed to be objective and accurate……” This is a lame excuse, of course, especially as the BBC story  did have a link to his actual speech. (I tried to read it and it was too boring after a brief skim.)

All the more reason to plug season 5 of the Wire with its (so far) great treatment of the role of the press in misleading us all.  (Maybe I should start listening to my own words, sometimes.)

Wire Series 5 on FX (UK) in July

Charlie Brooker and some of the cast try to express why the Wire is the “best tv show since the invention of radio,” in the Guardian’s guide section today.

I can’t argue with that.

Brooker is otherwise not quite as feeble as I am at expressing just how and why the Wire is the best thing ever aired although he does his own fair share of gushing like a teenage fan. The Wire actors are pretty good at expressing why the Wire is the best tv show ever.

Argh, July! FX, I would hate you for making me wait till July, except for the fact that running through the preceding series first has shown me so much that I didn’t appreciate the first couple of times. I thought the first few episodes of series 2 were a bit poor – by Wire standards. Seeing it again, I realise that it’s got enough of its own brilliance. And the acting… Omar just blows away whole scenes with a few subtle expressions.

Charlie Brooker says that he’s jealous of people who haven’t seen it yet, because they still have that pleasure to come. Maybe that thought will encourage me to wait till July but, hey, I live in a developed country in the 21st century – deferred gratification was never going to be one of my favourite ideas.

Another rambling rant

The Internet is obviously trying to become art rather than a sentient being (pace Kurzweil). It has taken to subverting preconceived notions of what it is. Mainly, so far it is just managing to refuse to be what you expect it to (like Firestats disintegration on this blog, the ongoing refusal of the Atheist Blogroll to notice more than 1 in 5 posts, Technorati’s deciding that links from the blogroll don’t provide authority – all topics already done to death here.)

But today, I noticed WordPress has started redefining what it puts in its list of “recent blog posts that link here” and listing posts that don’t link here. But are worth linking to. (And should have been read before, my bad.). Go figure….

Archeoastronomy has a really good post on Post-modernist Scepticism, sparked by another post – Happy Jihad on postmodernist “thought.” HJHop believes the humanities can be rescued from postmodernist bull. I would hope this is possible.

Has anyone ever tried to read Baudrillard ffs? Your head spins as you try to reconcile the fact that words from the dictionary are joined together using familiar syntax with the equally obvious fact that you can’t extract any meaning from the sentences.

The opposite side of the cultural studies coin is Umberto Eco, who has written brilliant deconstructions of things like wrestling as well as a novel that managed to be accessible at the same time as deeply thought-provoking on a dozen levels. (Name of The Rose.)

I think I am trying to say that I don’t know what post-modernism is in the humanities. As Alun pointed out, it’s a concept that only works in the visual arts, where modernism is a recognisable style. And even in the visual arts, it’s not exactly easy to identify, as the sort of pastiche we associate with post-modernism can just as validly be seen as a recent variant of modernism.

And it really does fall to bits in the humanities, if, as Alun suggests, it’s largely a matter of dumping the Enlightenment project and seeing pretty well nigh everything as culturally valid.

I suppose we can blame the cheese-eating surrender-monkeys for a lot of the postmodernist crap. (Sorry to any pragmatic French people. Just joking) Claude Levi-Strauss produced some beautiful social anthropology (with a few glaring misunderstandings) but his attempts at deconstruction turned out to be too seductive a model for a lot of French writers.

English speakers tend to expect not to understand French thought but to admire its intellectualism, to the point of assuming that it must be superior to our own earthbound efforts (Think Sartre compared to Bertrand Russell, as mid-20th century philosophers.) When you see the dog’s breakfast that some English-speaking writers can make when they stray into the realm of cultural interpretation, you can indeed see why.

In case you are wondering what the point of this post is (as am I) I think it’s to suggest that you read the Archaeoastronomy and HJHop posts. Plus, I am putting forward Umberto Eco as (sometimes) a model of what a sceptical and non-shallow humanities sensibility might look like. (With a nod to Levi-Strauss and a hat-tip to some British cultural studies writers – Stuart Hall, Mary Douglas, for instance) And the Wire, of course. Always the Wire.

Oh, the humanity.

Juking the school stats

This probably shows incipient OCD, but the UK primary school league tables have a bizarre fascination. Partly because of the fact that five schools were disqualified for cheating, among them two Roman Catholic schools. 🙂

However cheering this may be to anti-theists, I have to resist the temptation to make too much of it, as I suspect that cheating is built into the very nature of the enterprise.

Teachers generally hate the league tables, for far too many good reasons to repeat here. But here’s a flavour of teachers’ feelings. Interviewed by the BBC, Steve Sinnott of the National Union of Teachers said

“…League tables are beyond repair. Attempts to modify league tables only serve to emphasise their unfairness.”
And the National Association of Head Teachers said in a statement: “There is no doubt that at best, league tables of raw test data simply show where rich people live. ..

To get back to the OCD bit, and as an illustration of how the whole enterprise is shady, I ran the both the top schools and bottom schools list through Excel to get an average value for Special Educational Needs (SEN) pupils. SEN refers to children with physical and mental disabilities. You would imagine that SEN schools would be unfairly disadvantaged, but such schools are excluded from meeting the SATs targets. So the SEN % of pupils does not include those children who get specialist provision for disabilities. The percentage refers to SEN children in mainstream education.

Anyway, it appears that the average percentage of SEN children across all local authorities that have schools in the top or bottom leagues is 45.27% The lowest I could spot, in a quick scan) was Leicestershire at 10.6%. The highest was Warwickshire with a stunning 71.8% of its children classified as having special educational needs.

There are certainly league table advantages in having children classified as Special Needs. The more SEN kids an authority has, the more credit it gets for any improvements and, possibly, the better claim it has on some funds.

You can’t blame hard-pressed schools and local authorities for wanting to claim to have lots of SEN kids. All the same, there are many reasons for disliking the outcome. I’ll just spill out a couple before I bore even myself out of reading on.

Firstly. good old-fashioned social science and labelling theory. If you are a child living in Warwickshire, etc, you might feel a little odd if you lack an SEN label, but elsewhere SEN kids generally still remain in the slight minority. I can’t imagine that it does much for your educational self-confidence to get the label. (And I bet kids can still be as vicious to the kids they see as “thick” as they were when I was at school.)

With our kids getting all their details collected in national databases, an SEN evaluation, that may be prompted more by local educational policy than by a true assessment of a child’s capacities, might still be hanging around the kid’s records until they are old enough to apply for a job or a place at university.
Secondly, what a depressing picture of UK kids, with almost half of them judged to be unable to meet the government’s joyless and inflexible standards without extra prodding.

Thirdly,the SEN figures suggest how deeply the targets have cut into how we present and structure education. (Taking up a general point made by Ian Curtis in last year’s TV series The Trap about the corrupting effect of targets on the quality of public services.

(Frivolous aside. The “juking the stats” phrase in the title was of course lifted from the Wire, whose name be eternally praised. As it does with more or less any social issue, the Wire showed, in a handy easy-to-swallow tv show format, how the concern for SAT scores and stats can actually prevent effective teaching and learning. Watch Series 4. Again. Please.)

News on the Wire

Casual, even indiscriminate, blog searching came up the news that HBO have finally given the Wire Series 5 a release date in the US at least. (wahay, w00t, etc.) It’s supposed to focus on the media.

In the UK, FX is showing all series straight through from Series 1 and is then supposed to go straight into series 5, when it runs out of previous episodes. I make that about a year in the future in the UK, which you’d expect to be at least 6 months after the US. The HBO site seemed to show no signs of having any future series on the go at all so I was getting a mite worried.

I know I shouldn’t even think this, let alone say it, but some episodes of series 1 have been pretty poor. (Strike me down now, Thor.) Series 1 will morph straight into series 2 which was generally poor for most of its run. When I say “poor”, it’s a relative term. The Wire is still so far ahead of anything else that even its poor episodes are pretty gosh-darned good.

But put yourself in the shoes of someone (for example moi) who has been sounding off about the Wire being the greatest work of art ever shown on television, etc, for so long that people I know have even started listening to me and watching it.

And then I find myself shamefacedly having to say “Well, that one wasn’t a very good episode” or “You have to watch them ALL to really get into the characters and storylines” or lame things like that, that sound like I’m covering my back over boosting something that turned out to be a bit naff.

Rewatching series 1 for the third pass, it is indeed still stuck a bit too much in a “TV crime” genre. That is good. Nothing wrong with the genre as such. But, I have to admit there is more cliche TV crime stuff in the first series than you’d expect after you’ve been acclimatised to nature of the Wire series as a whole. The whole set of programmes just slowly edges its way out of the “crime” category and turns into genius.

Or maybe it’s just that I don’t like McNulty, who is the central character in the first series. His character is a bit too irritating. It’s rooted in the cliche lone-wolf Philip Marlowe “flawed investigator with integrity” mould. Series 1 was just finding its feet, so it too often took the easy way out. Someone decided that McNulty’s character was supposed to bring bad to all those around him as a result of his arrogance, or something. So the cast have to keep saying that, in case you haven’t picked up on it. I can’t say that I would have picked up on it, to be honest, but that doesn’t mean that repeatedly telling me that’s what I’m supposed to see constitutes character development.

Sadly, last night’s rerun milked the whole “officer-down” scenario to death. The corrupt and manipulative Commissioner Burrell turned out to be a tower of non-judgemental sympathy to Kima’s partner. Even the repellent Rawls was there to give out sensitive heartfelt manly consolation to a McNulty whose guilt was expressed by his hands being covered with Kima’s blood. Come on. Out damned spot and all that? He wasn’t even remotely to blame. (He even threw up in a bin because she’d been shot, which seemed a bit out of character for a homicide detective.)

When a TV cop show presents someone drenched to the elbow in someone else’s blood, followed by them doing a symbolic handwashing Pilate-thing, it’s time to start putting extra notches on your cliche gun.

(I guess this blog post must be an example of what is the Americans call “tough love”, by the way. I adore the Wire but I’m not letting it get away with self-indulgence……..)

If you have started watching the Wire reruns and don’t think it’s so groundbreaking, stick with it. Because it gets more and more subtle and complex and goes deeper and deeper into the way society works.

Plus, the McNulty character is barely in it after series 1 and a bit of the series 2. He must have been too busy being a digitally-remastered Spartan, for which much thanks.

Why don’t you just switch your television on..

…. and watch the Wire?

If you haven’t seen it and you are in the UK and you have Sky or cable, watch it now.

Series 1- Episode one should be on FX now. NOW unless it’s way past ten o’clock. In which case you can catch it on the repeats (possibly Sunday. Don’t as me, I’m not the TV Guide.)

If you have seen it, you probably want to watch it again a few more times anyway.

You’ll thank me later.

Charlie Brooker tries to get you to watch the Wire

Charlie Brooker has just struggled to do the Wire justice on FX. And failed. But you can’t blame him. No one can really do the Wire justice. All you do is end up saying “Best TV programme ever made” or “work of art”

He started out funny and fanatical. He was basically agreeing that it’s really boring listening to people banging on about such and such an American tv programme being great. But in any case, you can ignore them all because only the Wire was worth watching. And it’s “a true work of art.”
Then there were various talking heads, a few of whom were recognisable, saying “it’s a work of art” and so on. Someone said a freind from America had said it was the best thing that had been on TV since Abigail’s Party . Alexei Sayle said “Hi, my names Alexei and I’m a Wire-aholic”

The rest of the programme was pretty pesh. It even achieved the seemingly impossible and used clips in a way that made the Wire look corny and formulaic.

The interviews were so focussed on the British and Irish actors in the Wire as to have Brooker forced to misrepresent the plot. He introduced Stringer Bell (Idris Elba) as the leader of the Barksdale crew. Argh. This rides roughshod over a whole subplot, in which Stringer is manoeuvring his way through the ranks to take over. (Starting as the dumber but tougher Avon Barksdale’s sycophantic sidekick, he works in his own ideas about puttting the Barksdale gang on a standard commercial footing and goes for Avon’s crown.)

The talking head suggestions as to why the greatest TV series ever made wasn’t even remotely popular threw up the likeliest reasons as being that
(a) most people are too stupid to appreciate it,
(b) it’s very complex and cumulative so you have to commit to the whole thing or it’s too hard to follow and
(c) its cast is 70% black, so it would never reach a mass US audience. All probably true.
(Plus the extravagant use of cuss-words, I suspect, given that the Charlie Brooker trailer show had to blot out half the dialogue in its clips. It’s probably never going to be on mainstream TV. But, then, as one of the talking heads said, you want everyone to watch it but you also want it to kep it as your own secret.)

The main point here is that you can’t do the Wire justice. Everyone who loves it is awestruck. You just end up gushing or saying ludicrous things like “it’s your civic duty to watch it” as Charlie Brooker did at the end, “or else watch celebrity goose-wrestling on ITV6.”

Date for the Wire

Public service announcement:
(For Wire fanatics and potential converts)

It seems that 23 July is the date when FX starts showing all the existing series again. This news came courtesy of a Guardian comment on a post asking where to find decent TV.

FX begins a complete run of seasons 1 – 4 Mondays at 10pm starting July 23rd. Once they’ve done that they will launch staight into the 5th (and, sadly, final) series in 2008.
Posted by vertigowooyay on June 19, 2007 12:20 PM.