Now I’m wondering if I avoided ‘The Wire’ because its central themes — drugs, corruption, urban decay — were realities that I simply wanted to ignore. Instead of being haunted by a show like this, it was easier and safer to skip it entirely. Most people feel this way, I’m guessing; it’s the only conceivable reason why five times as many people would watch “The Sopranos” instead of a show that’s better in every way. See, when most Americans dabble in inner-city TV shows or movies for our ‘taste’ of street life, we’re hoping for the Hollywood version. We don’t want despair and decay, we want hope and triumph. We don’t want the zero-sum game of drug dealers killing each other, we want The Rock coaching juvie kids and turning their lives around in two hours. We want them to win the big football game, we want the movie to end, and we don’t want to think about these people ever again.
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15 September 2011