Last Thursday saw the denouement of the Wire’s first series 1 on BBC2.
In case you been on Mars, the Wire is basically a cop show, but then so much more: The fact that it took the BBC five years to acquire & the BBC remains incapable of matching the Wire, is a pertinent wake up call, acutely illustrating how Government involvement is too often woefully deficient in terms of delivery.
The Wire is indeed perhaps the ultimate cop show but I want to call attention to its commentary on why contemporary democratic Government often goes awry.
Firstly though what separates the Wire from other cop shows?
In terms of the vernacular the Wire is 4 reel.
Set in Baltimore we get a glimpse of Americana that we rarely see on our media. This is the America of the dispossessed; those with minimal education or life opportunities, whom despite the flimsy welfare safety net, take the lethal survival route of drugs.
The paradox is that the series shows the futility of the Government reaction, which is militaristic suppression. As such the government instead of trying to address the causes of the drugs malaise, merely legitimises these enterprises, & creates a Governmentuninforcement infrastructure on top of the drug base.
One of the lights the Wire shines, is the evolution of a street drug cartel; the protagonists buy up a set of legitimate businesses, with their ill gotten gains, & through the retainer on their bought lawyer, create a rat nest of untraceable assets. Leaving aside political endorsements, this is what they don’t teach you in Business schools.
So after all the broo-ha ha what lessons does the Wire reveal?
Firstly I would say the Wire shows how thought provoking, compelling, insightful & relevant television can be made from inherently reflecting of the communities we live in, or drive by
Secondly the Wire questions the whole democratic process: We will end up contributing significant resources to Government & potentially this can change peoples lives for the better. Education is the absolute bedrock of this change, but unless opportunities/platforms are provided for us to help ourselves, the dystopian nightmare illustrated in the Wire will continue to prevail.
Not only does the BME community have to show prescient entrepreneurial lateral thinking skills, but we also have to acquire the necessary political capital to bring about the equal opportunistic nirvana we all wish to achieve.