Open Letter — The Wire

Posted: October 16, 2010 in Film, Martin Keller
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[Posted by: Martin Keller]

I’ve been contributing to Dorkosphere since the summer, first doing a review and a news piece, but then wanting to do a column. Something I could come back to every week with a specific focus and something that would give me a deadline. This worked for over a month, and now I return without a new entry for the Action Stars column in over three weeks. I have offered assurances to the site editor that I would have something shortly, but my ability to write anything has been severely hindered. It’s not real life that has hindered me, you know, work and a girlfriend and obligations and things unforeseen. Nor have my hands been broken, nor my brain extracted. I have certainly been within reach of computers: I work at a library! No my inability to produce work, to be reliable, to put even the smallest effort into being creative has been usurped by one thing and one thing alone: The Wire.

An open letter to David Simon, Ed Burns and all the constituents of The Wire,

I’ve gotta tell you I both love and hate you, and the problem is this show. You see, The Wire, well, I love it. And as such, it has created this time marker in my life: life before The Wire and life after. I know there was a time when I had never heard of or seen it, and then there were whispers of it, but now it feels as though it was always there. It’s there when I watch any television shows, preventing me from being sucked into the vapid lives and stories of people and places I want to care about. Forget any cop or law show, those are ruined. Even shows that I regard highly, pale in comparison, Mad Men comes to mind. Because you did more than entertain me, you made me care. You made me care about the Boadies of the world. Someone I can’t forgive for Wallace’s sake, but who I will mourn silently. Why David Simon? Why?!

Why can’t I stop watching? This is my third go around. While watching the first time through, my girlfriend sat in on some of season four and then she was hooked. She said, “Can we watch it from the beginning?” That was all the prodding I needed. So once I finished, I turned back to the first page, excited to relive the story again, and this time with a companion, a first-timer no less. God what I would’ve given to be her. But now it’s round three and she’s along for the ride, and sometimes she’s driving. It’s Wednesday night, nothing to do, sitting in our apartment, “Whaddaya wanna do?” She thinks for a second, “let’s watch The Wire.” What can I do? Say no?

Got articles to write? Well that’s gotta wait at least until after the Brother Mouzone/Omar standoff.

Gotta get to work? Just after Omar’s day in court.

I’ve been late to work because of it. I’m midway through the fourth season and can’t stop. I come to work and instead of using my time writing about movies, I’m looking up Wire trivia on, reading the message boards: Who’s your favorite Wire character?; Best Wire quotes; Will there be a Wire sequel? Furthermore, the show has lead into an overall obsession with David Simon and death investigation and the social welfare of the country. I’ve been reading Simon’s book, Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets and next will be The Corner by both Simon and Burns.

I have abdicated my life to The Wire and I don’t feel bad at all. I want to feel guilty about all the other things, the missed articles, being late to work. But the guilt isn’t enough to make me change my ways. And having an accomplice only vindicates me, only propels me forward into the world of West Bawlmer, where I am surrounded by murderous gangsters and surly cops.

When I first thought to write this, I was considering a break-up or at least that we take a break, but I just can’t quit you.


Martin Keller


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