Stomach on your nikes
Given the uneasy history between blacks and Jews in this country, I’m surprised Simon, a Jew himself, allowed the final season of his masterwork to hinge on a conversation between two powerful Jews. Granted, Levy was the ultimate token Jew on The Wire, as Pearlman was Jewish like Snoop was gay, but the implication was that everything ultimately gets hashed out behind closed doors by Jews. After Pearlman and Levy’s stand-off, I sent a text message to my brother marking the birth of a new generation of anti-Semites.
People hate Jews for a lot of equally inane reasons, but black America’s adversarial relationship with the Tribe is a little more complicated. Jewish ownership of things like apartment buildings, record labels and banks means Jews frequently stand between a black man and control of his own destiny. Whether or not this is technically true is beside the point; it’s happened enough that Jews are seen as holding back black progress. For a community (understandably) preoccupied with freedom, this is a big problem. Tall Israelis, they runnin this rap shit, and by extension, everything else.
Levy went against a lot of this logic. Conniving and smug as he was, he was actually an agent for freedom. His advice and counsel kept bosses out of harm’s way and vaporized sentences during damage control. Maury was every bit the gangster, advising String and Avon to get rid of liabilities, and every bit the hustler, given his hourly rates. Suddenly, every rapper (ok, mostly Jim Jones) couldn’t brag enough about Jewish lawyers. But Season 5 zoomed out a bit on Maurice Levy, to his detriment. He ends up functionally castrating Marlo to save himself.
Marlo, soon to have the $10 million from selling the connect on top of whatever kind of Halliburton paper he was already holding, and now the newest inductee to the real estate moguls of Baltimore club, has only two out of the three. Everyone knew Omar called him a bitch and never had to answer for it. A pair of lowly corner boys didn’t even know who he was. As we learned from Lil Kim back in ’98, the troika of money, power and respect is the key to life. What are you when you only have the money and the power? You are the kind of invisible asshole whose institutions reject credit applications and push back albums. You are the stereotypical Evil Jew.
This was apparently enough to push Marlo back to the streets. No black Bar Mitzvahs for that kid.