I’m not much of a TV guy, unless its news, sports, or old movies. Something sticks in the craw, too, about giving even more money to the cable company for HBO, and so on. But long after the raves had stopped for all fives seasons of The Wire, my household came into temporary possession of the DVD set, and yes, just like everyone else, I became totally hooked on David Simon’s brilliant depiction of the seamy side of Baltimore, and the unforgettable characters on both sides of the law who roamed its mean streets. Omar, Stringer Bell, Dee, Bubbles, Lt. Daniels, and so on.
Meanwhile, outside the creative bubble, the more he has looked at his country, the more Simon has become distressed at the loss of the relatively progressive forces that once drove its economy, that created the richest land on earth. Capitalism has lost its way. Greed and individualism have triumphed, with a diminishing safety net for the losers left behind.
Simon’s anguish recently spilled out in an inspired, angry speech at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas in Sydney, Australia. An edited version of his outburst appeared in The Guardian and has been widely-circulated on social media. But I think it’s worth repeating here, for those who may have missed it. Even if you have read it before, I recommend another go. Simon’s fiery dissection of American society is even better the second time.
Of course, to think that what’s happening to the south of us is not working its way into Canada would be foolish.
Here are a couple of excerpts to whet your appetite:
“That may be the ultimate tragedy of capitalism in our time, that it has achieved its dominance without regard to a social compact, without being connected to any other metric for human progress.”
“The last job of capitalism – having won all the battles against labour, having acquired the ultimate authority, almost the ultimate moral authority over what’s a good idea or what’s not, or what’s valued and what’s not – the last journey for capital in my country has been to buy the electoral process, the one venue for reform that remained to Americans.”
Take it away, David Simon, who feels compelled to stress that he’s hardly a socialist, merely someone convinced that our current economic system has gone off the rails. Click below to read it all.