Sunday, January 06, 2008

Good morning, Baltimore

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Clark Johnson

I know the first episode of
The Wire's final season leaked the other day, but I waited it out until tonight. There's just something exciting and ephemeral about catching a show you love on its initial broadcast, especially in the TiVo Age.

Back on the joyously revived
Heaven and Here, contributor christycash kills it with this analysis of an all-too-familiar axe ground by several characters in the premiere the assertion that Baltimore's funding crisis (OT pay for police withheld to bandage a ballooning education deficit), lack of resources (cops driving clunkers), and, in the one Sun reporter's eyes, the "shit news town's" lack of reportable stories can be uniformly blamed on the fact that it's not a real city. Because real cities crap out budget surpluses halfway through their morning coffee, keep spotless ledgers and are always, always equipped to provide you with what you need to do your damn job. Funny, I know.

Since I grew up in the greater Bmore area (burbs to the death...not trying to front like I was neighbors with
Wee-Bey), relocated to Philly and, you know, work, I'm familiar with the inert, lackadaisical paranoia spurred by East Coast urban belt-tightening. (I have a feeling that "do more with less" will gestate into a resentful mantra, in more ways than one, this season.) But cash's point is that we shouldn't feel special for realizing that shit sucks, because everyone else on the planet is knee-deep in it, too:
McNulty had a line about how he wonders what it’s like to work for a “real” police department; eager beaver ladder climbing reporter boy had his own quip about working at a “real” paper. They see their situation as a kind of referendum on how shitty Baltimore is. But it seems to me that the cutbacks they’re dealing with are the rule, not the exception. They are interpreting a mass breakdown of urban infrastructure as local. Of course, when you’re in Baltimore or Philly or wherever you’re going to long to get out and get someplace where the trains run on time. But the trains don’t really run anywhere anymore.
Dead on. Keep an eye out for one Mr. David Simon in the comments section.

Apologies for the derivative XtheaterdorkX post title.

And fuck Herc, obviously.

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