Ready… okay. Episode 1. I’ve got some thoughts on it. duh.
I want to start with a question that builds off Shoals’s post about the newsroom. I, for one, am pretty psyched to have the Sun and the newsroom as a big part of the plot. But I’ve always been the HH-er who likes the Carcetti plots and the politics plots, so it’s really no surprise that I welcome this one. It’s not that I don’t like the corner, it’s just that after this many seasons, the day-to-day drama of the same system doesn’t appeal to me as much as branching into the new world of the new season. The corner boys have my sympathies and my respect, but their world is way fucked up, and I like the plots that talk about how it got to be that way and how it intersects with the powers. So to get to my question. Some of the journalists’ dialogue is a little hard to take, but I think that’s just because it’s so familiar. I’m thinking particularly of the bit about evacuating people vs. evacuating buildings. That is like Copy Editing 101, and anyone who’s ever worked at a paper or a magazine knows it. So what I’m wondering now is how much of the cop or street dialogue is boilerplate to listen to for the people from those worlds. What have I been missing?
Second thing I want to say. McNulty had a line about how he wonders what it’s like to work for a “real” police department; eager beaver ladder climbing reporter boy had his own quip about working at a “real” paper. (He, by the way, is going to get really annoying really fast if he doesn’t do more than establish his character with neon signs.) They see their situation as a kind of referendum on how shitty Baltimore is. But it seems to me that the cutbacks they’re dealing with are the rule, not the exception. They are interpreting a mass breakdown of urban infrastructure as local. Of course, when you’re in Baltimore or Philly or wherever you’re going to long to get out and get someplace where the trains run on time. But the trains don’t really run anywhere anymore.
Third and last thing, riding my lady horse. My friend A. had a great point the other day re women and the show, relating to the sex slaves sting. Why, she wanted to know, was McNulty sleeping with one of those women played for laughs? Would you think it was funny if a white master had sex with a black slave in 1800? The little crack in this most recent episode about what a hotshot McNulty was reminded me of what she said. And irked me! It was written to get an appreciative laugh from male viewers and without any regard to the woman’s humanity. Enough with the boys club already.
Thinking of McNulty. I’m going to sign off with some reflections on Irish cops from Bonfire of the Vanities, which I’m reading for the first time. (so please no spoilers!) “The Irish were disappearing from New York, so far as the general population was concerned. In politics, the Irish, who twenty years ago still ran the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and much of Manhattan, were down to one seedy little district over on the West Side of Manhattan, over where all the unused piers rusted in the Hudson River…. Everybody moving up in the Bronx District Attorney’s Office was Jewish or Italian. And yet the Irish stamp was on the Police Department and on the Homicide Bureau of the D.A.’s Office, and it would probably be there forever. Irish machismo — that was the dour madness that gripped them all. They called themselves Harps and Donkeys, the Irish did. Donkeys! They used the word themselves, in pride but also as an admission. They understood the word. Irish bravery was not the bravery of the lion but the bravery of the donkey. As a cop, or as an assistant district attorney in Homicide, no matter what kind of stupid fix you got yourself into, you never backed off. You held your ground. That was what was scary about even the smallest and most insignificant of the breed. Once they took a position, they were ready to fight. To deal with them you had to be willing to fight also, and not that many people on this poor globe were willing to fight.”