Sunday, August 16, 2015

Show Me a Hero, and I'll Write You a Tragedy

Mr. Simon
"Show me a hero, and I'll write you a tragedy."
--F. Scott Fitzgerald

I was not at all interested in watching a TV series about a bunch of Black street thugs  selling drugs on the corners of Baltimore. My kids had to talk me into watching just two episodes. My older son had come home from New York for a visit, watched the first two episodes and refused to leave the TV room for the entire day, watching episode after episode and he made me watch "The Wire." 

The thing about "The Wire" was that it was very dark--not really entertainment--but it was also darkly funny, the funniest show I've ever seen on TV. 

So when I read about the new offering from the creator of "The Wire," David Simon, I knew I would have to see it, despite my misgivings. It's about Yonkers, New York, another place I have no interest in knowing about, and it's about the court ordered fight to build housing projects for the poor and affordable housing to which the white, middle class community objects.

The white, mostly Catholic, middle class folks of Yonkers see this not as an effort to help a struggling Black underclass, but as an effort of liberal Jewish judges and "Jew lawyers" to place dangerous, drugged out poor Blacks among hard working, White, middle class people, while the Jew lawyers go home to Scarsdale and Westchester, protected by distance and money from the havoc and crime and danger which will acoompany  the desperate, poor Blacks in the projects.

A city council member shows a poster at a meeting in which he points to images of drug sales in the projects and calls the whole notion of public housing for the poor a failed liberal idea, in which the burden of white guilt is forced upon the shoulders of White people of modest means, so the White people of substantial means can feel virtuous and safe.

And he has a point.
Hissoner, The Mayor

But the transcendent point belongs to the mayor: the judge has ruled and Yonkers has to be governed by law.

The judge is not the Pope, the defiant council member storms. We can fight this to the Supreme Court. But we've already spent $13 million dollars fighting it and even the Reagan appointed judges are telling us we will lose all the way to the Supreme Court, which is unlikely to even agree to hear such an open and shut case.

So there you have it.  This show is not, if the first two episodes are any indication, David Simon at his best. But David Simon, even when he's only 80% is so much better than anyone else, he's by far the best on TV or anywhere.  

Just another must see TV--add that to House of Cards, West Wing, Justify, Doc Martin, Call the Midwife and all the rest.  I'm not sure I'm going to have time for Downton Abbey, when it finally returns.  I'm not sure I'm going to have time to go to work, eat or brush my teeth.  What an age we live in.

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