Mark Bowden writes about The Wire and its creator, David Simon in the new Atlantic. Bowden finds the show a little bleak, and isn’t happy that Simon lambasted two of his pals in a public speech about his days as a reporter at The Sun:
This is the place of H. L. Mencken, of Frank Kent, of William Manchester. It’s like you can touch things that you can be proud of. I just have to do good work for its own sake…I’m basically happy, and it’s like the least ambitious I am in my life. Until …it gets sold out of town. And these guys come in from Philly. The white guys from Philly. And I say that with all the contempt you can muster for the phrase white guys. Soulless motherfuckers. Everything that Malcolm X said in that book before he got converted back to humanity–no, no, he was right in the first place. These guys were so without humanity. And it was the kind of journalism–how do I describe bad journalism? It’s not that it’s lazy, it’s that whenever they hear the word Pulitzer, they become tumescent. They become engorged…All they wanted to do was win prizes …I watched them single-handedly destroy The Sun.
One of those white guys is John Carroll, late of the LA Times. Bowden is appalled at Simon’s hatred of Carroll, but plenty of LA Times readers can remember that paper’s pursuit of prizes at the expense of local coverage. And as the final season of The Wire is allegedly based on Simon’s experiences at The Sun (one of story lines deals with a newspaper’s muckraking campaign on homelessness), Bowden got into a tiff with Simon while writing the story.
Matthew Yglesis posts about the show:
Fundamentally, I think his vision of the bleak urban dystopia and its roots is counterproductive to advancing the values we hold dear.
Commenters point out that Yglsis knows fuck all about inner city Baltimore and then Simon shows up to comment.