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Conversation on “The Wire”: Narrative as Topography

The Macroeconomics of Dope

Mutually Occluded has some interesting things to say in regards to striking character developments in HBO’s remarkable The Wire. Street thug drug dealers smartly apply by-the-book macroeconomic principles to their product and organization, and the entire capitalist system of product/consumer/violence is called into critique. Discussion follows in the comments section (with some risk of the foretelling of plot).

The scene in question: The Wire (Season 2, Episode 12) – Macroeconomics and the Street from joneilortiz on Vimeo.

How I feel about this series its hard to even begin to express. I’ve wanted to write about it many times, but the aesthetic and conceptual power of it is difficult to encapsulate. It is the closest TV as medium comes to literature, especially the first and fourth seasons, a sweeping weave of lives and system criticisms, a lesson of unintended results at every turn.


All five seasons are worth watching, if only to trace the arc of this one small character, “Bubbles” pictured below(stunningly played by Andrei Royo, who almost absurdly I recently found out is an acquaintance of a good friend of mine, Ada Søby). But then again, there are so many characters here. It is as if they took Kurosawa’s two Hidden Fortress  bickering peasants (Tahei and Matashichi) and Lucas’s two droids, and expanded the entire narrative landscape into a one immense, faceted diamond of affects, laws and decisions. All without collapsing into some kind of ensemble indulgence of performances. It stretches out in time and dimension (something only television and novels can afford), allowing the very space of interactions to emerge.

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