ENG 226: Popular Culture

New "Atlanta Cheating Scandal Reignites Debate over Tests' Role" by Motoko Rich

****"Curious Grade for Teachers: Nearly All Pass" by Jenny Anderson (juking the stats)

"A Modest Proposal for Preschool Backstabbing" by Carina Chocano

 "The Gated Community" by  Rich Benjamin

****"Drug Policy as Race Policy" by Jennifer Schuessler

"Bad Education" by Jonathan Mahler (check out paragraphs #3, #4, and the last three)

"Hollywood's Class Warfare" by A.O. Scott

"America's Most Vulnerable" by Charles M. Blow

"For Detroit Schools, Mixed Picture of Reform" by Michael Winerip

"A Different Creature" by Bob Herbert

****David Simon's Finale Letter

****"Obama, the Wire, and Race in America" by Paul Campos

****Orlando Patterson's editorial "A Poverty of the Mind"

****"Behind the Laughter" by Bob Herbert

****"Revisiting Baltimore's Embattled Streets" by Hal Hinson

"Open Wide: Spoon Fed Cinema" by A.O. Scott

"Blacks in Retreat" by Bob Herbert

"One Classroom" by Susan Jacoby

"Escaping from Poverty" by Bob Herbert

 

David Simon Rolling Stone Interview

From Sean Woods. "HighWire. " Rolling Stone  5 Oct. 2006: 38‑39. 

Why is the city of Baltimore so central a character on the show?

The Wire had to be in a second'tier city. If you are from a place where people used to actually have to make shit and sell it to other people, those jobs are dead and gone. There are two Baltimores: the one that's being rebuilt and another that got left behind. And that's ‑what the show is based on: that there's an America that America doesn't need. Either the middle class is becoming affluent and voting up to their pocketbooks, or they're slipping into poverty. People are not ascending to the middle class, and that was what used to make the country great. I think that ten years from now, The Wire is going to be seen as soft on America.

 This season is a devastating look at the Bush‑era "No Child Left Behind" style of education.

 The man is a fraud. He was a fraud in Texas. He's a fraud nationally. It's hard to describe how dysfunctional the Baltimore school system is, except that the kids this season represent the honest truth: We do not need ten percent of our population. The economy is fine, and half the African‑American males in Baltimore don't have jobs. So what are we training these kids for? We're training them for nothing. We're training them for the drug corner, and they know it. The corner is the new Bethlehem Steel.


You have created the toughest homosexual character in TV history with Omar, a guy who robs drug dealers for a living. Why make him gay?

 We wanted to reflect the entire world. You might as well ask 'why we made the other thirty‑eight speaking parts straight. Omar is an independent operator, and he doesn't need to appease anybody in authority. Every character, except for Omar, is a prisoner of an institutional malaise that is distinctly American and very typically postmodern.

 But isn't the individual overcoming the institution a classic American dream?

 Yet these stories feel so much more real to me. How many individuals are bigger than the institution they serve? How many devour an institution? I've never seen anybody devour an institution. You know what matters in America? The share price, that's what fucking matters.