re-watching The Wire


A wire taps privacies; it transmits information that’s clear or opaque; it bears whole sentences or fragments; it can close a circuit that connects numerous points of contact; it’s a straight line that’s really a web. If a wire lets cops follow the drugs, everything stays under control of official entities. But, as Lester says, if it lets them follow the money, nobody’s in control. The wire will lead you into complex corruptions at every level of society. The Wire has its own tenacity of consciousness. It won’t let go of things, and every bit at least seems wired to some other bit. Sometimes it carries and connects coherent stories, sometimes not. It’s a dark essay on illusion and delusion. It tells us as often as we can stand to hear it that there are no simple answers, that much of the time we don’t really know to ask the right questions. It dramatizes, sometimes in the bawdiest byplay I’ve ever seen on TV, how we reveal our natures. A melancholy procession of images—city neighborhoods, industrial sites, people at work, street action, weathers—ends the series as it began, in instability, disorientation, uncertainty, and irresoluteness. It welcomes us again, if we need it, to the world of adults and adult-making.

more from W. S. Di Piero at Threepenny Review here.