New Criticals

On the day of her arrest, David Simon released the following statement:

Both our Constitution and our common law guarantee that we will be judged by our peers. But in truth, there are now two Americas, politically and economically distinct. I, for one, do not quality as a peer to Felicia Pearson. The opportunities and experiences of her life do not correspond in any way with my own, and her America is different from my own. I am therefore ill-equipped to be her judge in this matter.

Here, Simon is acknowledging the deep, perhaps irrevocable, contradictions and schisms that exist in our society that create "two Americas," radically different worlds that, though separated by a few blocks or a few hundred feet, are light years apart in terms of the values that define what it means to be dignified, recognized, free. This is precisely the "truth" that is revealed by Major Howard "Bunny" Colvin in his efforts to create the "free zone" Hamsterdam, and it is why one social-epidemiologist who studied these areas of East Baltimore calls it "the Cyst." Whether the motivations for The Wire are descriptive or prescriptive, and whether our response is one of cynicism, activism, despair, or hope, it must begin and end with the harsh reality of this fissure, this wound, if our idealities are to even begin to face and possibly heal the divisions that exist between these two worlds.