I’ve been amused this week by a conservabot’s comments on The House Next Door about his perceptions on The Wire’s political leanings. David Simon himself steps in:
Did someone actually describe me as a “self-confessed” liberal? Self-confessed?
Since when did liberalism become something that requires confession? After the last six disastrous years, I would think that to have your political allegiances on the other end of the spectrum might be cause for some angst, shame and reflection. But even harboring such sentiment, I would not be so insulting as to call anyone a self-confessed conservative.
I won’t go into a long political diatribe about the content olf that particular email, its willful ignorance of the profound economic, social and political limitations at work in the West Baltimores of the world, places crippled by decades of deindustrialization, profound social deprivation, political marginalization at the hands of gerrymandering, racialist political parties, a prohibition-induced drug economy that has become the only meaningful economic engine and naturalized unemployment rates at over 50 percent for adult black males — including those who do buy into the system and make “choices” of a kind that would not not bring the judgment of trickle-down, up-from-the-bootstraps, i-know-the-game-isn’t-rigged-because-I-did-so-well-coming-from-the-suburb-I-came-from-motherfuckers down on their already burdened selves. I am sure there are plenty of people who want to debate whether all the characters in The Wire made all of the right personal choices, will find that they did not — Randy for example should have never taken that five-spot to deliver a message to Lex; damn his fourteen-year-old ass to hell — and will find a new way to calculate the degree of personal blame without regard to the two vastly different Americas that we have built for generations now. And I’m sure others will excuse all personal foible by citing political, social and economic conditions — something that The Wire has also resisted doing with its characters. The two sides can have at each other and argue to their hearts’ content. I am indifferent to the nature-versus-nurture pissing match. It doesn’t matter to people on the ground, anymore. It doesn’t matter to a boy in West Baltimore looking to a future that isn’t there. It is the stuff of lame ideologues, each trying to shape facts to fit story. Have at it.
But the next time anyone suggests that I have “confessed” to my political beliefs, they have an invitation to kiss my ass. I am on some issues conservative, on others middling, and on many matters way left of liberal. In Europe, I might be called a social democrat, maybe a green, or, depending on the country, a labourite.
In these United States, I am someone who has spent enough careful time in the other, marginalized America to be wholly contemptuous of anyone who equates raw, unencumbered capitalism — absent any other social or political framework — as even a poor excuse for how to run a country and take care of its people.
Self-confessed. Like I’m guilty of anything other than speaking my mind. Fuck you, asshole.