The Wire and Philosophy

The Wire and Philosophy

by David Bzdak
     
 

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By many accounts, HBO’s The Wire was and remains the greatest and most important television drama of all time. Conceived by writers David Simon and ex-Baltimore homicide detective Ed Burns, this five-season, sixty-episode tour de force has raised the bar for compelling, intelligent television production. With each season addressing a different

Overview


By many accounts, HBO’s The Wire was and remains the greatest and most important television drama of all time. Conceived by writers David Simon and ex-Baltimore homicide detective Ed Burns, this five-season, sixty-episode tour de force has raised the bar for compelling, intelligent television production. With each season addressing a different arena of life in the city of Baltimore, and each season’s narratives tapping into those from previous seasons, The Wire was able to reveal the overlapping, criss-crossing, and colliding realities that shape—if not control—the people, institutions, and culture of the modern American city.

The Wire and Philosophy celebrates this show’s realism as well as its intellectual and philosophical clarity. Selected philosophers who are fans of The Wire tap into these conflicts and interconnections to expose the underlying philosophical issues and assumptions and pursue questions, such as, can cops really tell whether they are smarter than their perps? Or do they fall victim to intellectual vanity? Do individuals really have free will to resist the temptations—of gangs, of drugs, or corruption—that surround them? Is David Simon a modern-day Marx who sees capitalism leading ultimately to its own collapse, or is Baltimore’s story uniquely its own?

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
10/15/2013
Over the course of five seasons, David Simon exposed audiences to the seedy underbelly of the American dream. From corrupt politicians to failing school systems, this work, edited by Bdzak (philosophy, Onondago Community Coll.), Joanna Crosby, and Seth Vannatta (both, philosophy & religious studies, Morgan State Univ.), considers the philosophical underpinnings of The Wire. Like a police force investigating a crime, individual essays are thematically grouped into six distinct "cases," each analyzing an aspect of the Game (drug dealing and the fight against it). Philosophers compare the task of the Baltimore police department and public school system to Albert Camus's The Myth of Sisyphus, the character of Omar Little to Friedrich Nietzsche's Übermensch, and Kima and Snoop to the militant feminists who filled the ranks of the Black Panther Party. Of particular note is Slavoj Žižek's essay on the show's tragic vision. Much like the fates of tragedy befalling characters in Greek mythology, say these contributors, the players in The Wire are all at the mercy of a cold, indifferent force: the Game. VERDICT Fans of the show will find this philosophical examination both entertaining and edifying.—Joshua Finnell, Denison Univ. Lib., Granville, OH

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780812698237
Publisher:
Open Court Publishing Company
Publication date:
05/28/2013
Series:
Popular Culture and Philosophy
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
1,214,951
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author


David Bzdak is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Onondaga Community College in Syracuse, NY.

Joanna Crosby is on the faculty of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Morgan State University in Baltimore.

Seth Vannatta is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Morgan State University in Baltimore. He teaches philosophy of law, political philosophy, ethics, logic, and American philosophy. He is a former varsity volleyball coach and soccer coach and has written on the philosophy of sport.

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