| Image by John Ellsberry OK, OK, we get it. David Simon's portrayal of daily newspaper journalism is only imperfectly accurate, informed by a backstory that includes Baltimore's economic hardships, while some people feel he's just an asshole and a liar. And viewership continues to sink. Got it. The Wire's fifth season has issues and has pushed many people's buttons--so much so that even The Onion can weigh in on the matter, treating a show that barely 1 million viewers watch with the same satirical blade as other American popular culture.
But there's disliking/hating the show in your out-loud voice and then there's outright inanity. Sun columnist Susan Reimer's Sunday, Jan. 27, piece titled "Couple likes Baltimore enough to move here", about two Houston residents who chose to retire in Baltimore in 2006, is a lovely story, really--until you get to this framing device:
- At a time in the city's life when Sunday night means The Wire and another black mark on its soul, at a time when even an ambitious football coach might rather be the No. 2 guy in Dallas than be the top guy here, Debra Thomas and Terry Shepard are a breath of air as fresh as that fall breeze off the harbor.
First of all, Jason Garrett deciding to stay offensive coordinator with the Dallas Cowboys might have something to do with the Cowboys' 13-3 2007 record, seven Pro Bowl players, and a young quarterback with the game and charisma to become a superstar and the Ravens' tremendously disappointing 5-11 2007 season more than anything to do with Baltimore as a city per se, but that's just a guess. Second, a black mark on this city's soul? Really? Not the 282 homicides the city racked up in 2007. Not the city having to hire 178 new public-school teachers from the Philippines because of a teacher shortage. Not a substance-abuse problem that claims as many lives as murder in this city.Not a city where the mayor doesn't even wait to finish out his term before bailing to run for governor. Not a city where property taxes are on the rise, while no singificant improvements in services or schools are apparent. Not a city where we haven't been able to hold onto a police commissioner long enough for him to have an impact on how police work is done. Not a city where there are so many leaks in the sewer systems that the Deptartment of Public Works can't keep up with them.
No, a television show is what is wounding this city's very being.
It's prose like that that makes you yearn for a copy-desk editor who'd take the crab out of crab soup.