Because I left my notes from David Simon's talk at work, and because I'm transfixed by John King's map on CNN, I'll have to save the brunt of my Simon post for tomorrow.
But here's a rush job of what he had to say:
Capitalism has triumphed over labor. Capitalism favors institutions over men. Institutions are Gods and Gods are flawed. Our fate, then, is in the hands of flawed, greedy Gods.
And, thus, Greek tragedy makes for better TV in this post-modern world than Shakespeare.
Also, journalism is in deep shit.
Those are the main lessons I took away from Simon's talk Tuesday at USC and they are the precepts on which has built his critically acclaimed series The Wire on HBO.
I'm a prospective fan of The Wire, but I have to admit that the 5 minute clip Simon showed was the longest time I've spent watching the program. So I won't have much to say about it.
For his part, Simon was extremely literate - especially for a former cops reporter - and the very picture of the angry idealist. He seems humble considering his success and witty despite his passions. He also claims Paths of Glory to be the only movie to successfully capture the nuance of politics - except for a few minutes of The Candidate.
He believes in the journalist's creed, Afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted. He also believes crumbling newspapers more often afflict the afflicted and comfort the comfortable.
He blames a lack of standards in the newsroom and a bad decision in the board room to give away newspaper content for free. Regional newspapers, such as the Baltimore Sun, his alma mater, are the most vulnerable to the changing economics and have already begun the long slide to ruin.
He feels a sense of betrayal and sees the newspaper as a pillar of society that, once it has fallen, leaves society vulnerable to those Gods of capitalism who stomp and kill with abandon.
And at an open bar, he chose to drink Corona beer.