Posts tagged "The Wire"

Another Week Ends: Dead Liberal Arts, Glorious Ruin, Cagematch: Hoffman-Phoenix, Victorians in Baltimore, Creative Anxiety, and Imputed Guilt (by Association)

1. Over at The Daily Standard, writer and lecturer Joseph Epstein asks, “Who Killed the Liberal Arts?” With pre-professional education and a degree of liberal-arts relativizing on the rise, Epstein finds a central problem with American higher education to be the same kind of achievement cult that recent films like Waiting for “Superman” have criticized. Epstein’s phrasing is particularly succinct:

Trained almost from the cradle to smash the SATs and any other examination that stands in their way, the privileged among them may take examinations better, but it is doubtful if their learning and intellectual understanding are any greater. Usually propelled by…

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The Beautiful Ugliness of HBO: A Conference Breakout

I don’t wanna just survive. It’s says in these movie writing books that every character has an arc. Understand?…Everybody starts out somewheres. And they do something, something gets done to them and it changes their life. That’s called an arc. Where’s my arc? 

-Christopher Moltisanti, The Sopranos

HBO’s wild success in premium television belies an underlying sophistication in everything from writing, to editing, to photography. Perhaps the network’s most striking accomplishment is how down-to-earth its characters and plotting tend to be, while still retaining their series’ impressively novelistic scale. HBO seems to understand how deep the human obsession with “arced” narratives of…

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Jimmy McNulty, Walter White and the Search for a Gracious God

There have not been many television shows as good as the HBO series The Wire. Some, such as Mad Men and Breaking Bad, are in the same league. Others would probably argue for Friday Night Lights (this is a great dispensation for television!). Whatever your poison might be, The Wire and I have spent a great deal of time together. Detective Jimmy McNulty is one of the heroes/anti-heroes of the series whose deft investigatory skills and genuine sincerity about his work are tempered by a high-functioning alcoholism, arrogance, deviousness, and a long line of broken relationships. He is the perfect…

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Institutional Cynicism and Humanist Affection in The Wire

It’s been said that we’re living through a golden age of television. The rise of cable and the DVD has freed the medium from age-old network constraints and catapulted it into a new world of creative possibility. If that’s true, then The Wire is the crown jewel.

The series wraps up this Sunday, and many people are already predicting that it will go down as a defining moment of American culture, pop or otherwise. I agree. The show succeeds wildly on so many different levels – which is a quite a thing to say, considering its staggering ambitions. Over its five…

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