As many of my friends know I’ve become slightly addicted to The Wire and wrote about it in my blog Telling Stories. So here’s more.
Although the show is about 7 years old by now it still has traction for me. It’s about a bunch of police (poh leese) in Baltimore who are forever trying to deal with crime in a city that appears to have been brought to its knees. One of the stevedores in Series 3 says something like ” we used to make stuff here but now….” as he deals with corruption (his own), drug and people trafficking and assorted crimes of disappearance (things and people).
Series 3 and 4 take us back to the drug dealers on the corners but 4 focusses on education and the 13 and 14 year olds. The up and comings. One of the former police turns to teaching – which looks like a horror story in its own right. It seems that the best way to teach these kids maths would be to use dope measurements and action projects (how many times can you run from the stash house to the customer in one hour sort of thing). This series has particular resonance for me as in a former life I taught young men who needed to decide between education and the gangs. In New Zealand there is hope of rising from the ghetto and to be fair our ghettoes are not so big. But it’s that frustration of seeing kids with talent and skill not able to see how to use that talent.
One of the kids I taught did escape – he became a rent boy in Sydney. Sigh. .
The horror of The Wire is twofold: corruption and ineptitude in the pohleese in spite of some wonderfully dedicated officers and the relentless killing of young black men, mostly by their own.
If you search you can find several lists of great quotes but I like this one by Prez (the new teacher) when he questions why teachers should give students the answers to the exam questions.