The creator of The Wire
remembers a young man whose life as a 15-year-old drug dealer in Baltimore was depicted in his book The Corner
"At first, he was content with the book we wrote about his world. By the time The Corner
was published it was something of an epitaph for people who were already casualties. Not just DeAndre’s father, but Boo, Bread, Fat Curt, his cousin Dinky, Miss Ella from the rec center. The book was an argument that these lives were not without meaning, that they, too, were complete human beings in the balance. He liked that someone — anyone — thought the people of Fayette Street mattered.
"In time, though, he confessed to hating the last line of the narrative, the one in which he is defined as a street dealer and addict at the moment after taking his first adult charge in a raid on a stash house on South Gilmor Street. There was a burden in that, and he grew tired of its weight.
"'That isn’t the end of the story,' he complained to me years later. 'You don’t know that the story ends that way.'"
PUBLISHED: Aug. 3, 2012
LENGTH: 6 minutes (1660 words)
What's wrong with the crime stats in Baltimore? "The Wire" creator David Simon on how to fix them, and how beat reporting is necessary to understand the problem:
"So if you’ve read this far, and you understand the actual dynamic in play, you’re probably saying to yourself: What’s the solution? In the past, the detectives and lawyers simply swept their mistakes under the rug, with neither side taking responsibility for the bad stats. And now, because the state’s attorney has prevailed in this contest of statistical gamesmanship, the police department clearance rate has been savaged and some bad cases are no longer being charged, yet at the same time, good murder cases aren’t going forward. Which is worse? And how can this be fixed?
"Well, it’s easy. And I’ll give you as long as it takes you to read past the next string of asterisks."
PUBLISHED: June 18, 2012
LENGTH: 18 minutes (4599 words)
An oral history of The Wire, 10 years after the show's debut:
"Michael B. Jordan (Wallace, Barksdale gang dealer): This is some real shit. It was real to the point where crackheads would come up and try to cop. I had fake money, and they would come over, and an exchange would go down. I would think they were part of the crew, and I’d make the exchange. Then security would come around and be like, 'No! No! No!' and break it up. I was like, 'Oh, shit! That’s really a crack-head! I’m sorry! I’m not really a drug dealer!'"
PUBLISHED: June 1, 2012
LENGTH: 27 minutes (6920 words)
Meet Martin, the I.T. guy who's helped everyone from drug dealers needing to dodge wiretaps, to restaurants looking to inflate their Foursquare numbers:
"If you've seen that episode of The Wire, you know principle behind Martin's system: 'Burners,' prepaid cell phones drug dealers use for a short time then abandon to thwart wiretaps. Prepaid phones have become so associated with drug trafficking and crime that New York Sen. Chuck Schumer wants to require an I.D. to buy one. (Martin said if I.D.s were required he could still run his business 'but I would probably charge triple because I'd have to make fake I.D.s')
"But burners can be a pain. For maximum security, phones need to be switched as often as possible—a top Cali cartel manager was once reported to use 35 cell phones a day. Martin's system makes it easy for a crew to switch all their phones rapidly."
PUBLISHED: Jan. 25, 2012
LENGTH: 7 minutes (1956 words)
I was on sabbatical when Jason got his hands on the iPhone prototype. An hour after the story went live, the phone rang and the number was from Apple HQ. I figured it was someone from the PR team. It was not. "Hi, this is Steve. I really want my phone back." He wasn't demanding. He was asking. And he was charming and he was funny. I was half-naked, just getting back from surfing, but I managed to keep my shit together. "I appreciate you had your fun with our phone and I'm not mad at you, I'm mad at the sales guy who lost it. But we need the phone back because we can't let it fall into the wrong hands."
PUBLISHED: Oct. 6, 2011
LENGTH: 7 minutes (1891 words)
There are few works of greater scope or structural genius than the series of fiction pieces by Horatio Bucklesby Ogden, collectively known as The Wire; yet for the most part, this Victorian masterpiece has been forgotten and ignored by scholars and popular culture alike. Like his contemporary Charles Dickens, Ogden has, due to the rough and at times lurid nature of his material, been dismissed as a hack, despite significant endorsements of literary critics of the nineteenth century. Unlike the corpus of Dickens, The Wire failed to reach the critical mass of readers necessary to sustain interest over time, and thus runs the risk of falling into the obscurity of academia. We come to you today to right that gross literary injustice.
PUBLISHED: March 23, 2011
LENGTH: 11 minutes (2923 words)
Coming off acclaim for "The Wire," David Simon takes his approach to New Orleans with "Treme."
PUBLISHED: March 17, 2010
LENGTH: 30 minutes (7536 words)
The critically acclaimed US television drama could not be made here. We have writing talent in abundance, but its output is controlled by a stifling monopoly—the BBC. Plus, an interview with "The Wire"'s creator David Simon
PUBLISHED: Oct. 21, 2009
LENGTH: 17 minutes (4485 words)
PUBLISHED: May 14, 2009
LENGTH: 6 minutes (1691 words)