Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Goodbye Dublin Airport Links

with 6 comments

* Not in My Country: A Tale of Unwanted Immigrants. From Joe Sacco. (Update: link fixed now.)

* Don’t be alarmed, but the latest race-baiting Fox News controversy is nonsense. Not that it matters.

* Ta-Nehisi Coates: The NAACP is right.

* If the GOP takes back the House, can we look forward to the shutdown of 2011?

* Has science fiction lost its world-transformative mojo? More from MetaFilter.

* And old but good: Women and The Wire.

In one of the first season’s early episodes, McNulty tells Kima that all the good women police officers he’s ever met were gay. It is only in retrospect that this assertion seems like more than just characterization. Through poor old fuck-up McNulty, the writers were able to voice this wee-bit contentious idea without fear of reprisal. Maybe what McNulty claimed about female police is true—like I said before, positive images are not good politics. But The Wire gained my trust for exploring the reality behind everyday inequalities. Using flawed characters as a mouthpiece for unhip opinions is a betrayal of the show’s own tireless morality. Instead of confronting the gender politics of the Baltimore police, The Wire gives us Beadie Russell. A capable but dull port cop, Beadie plays a small part in the second season’s action before fading to black in the third season. In the fourth season she’s back and blonde and suddenly significant for her role in “saving” McNulty from “himself”. Cue the strings—if The Wire needs to read up on women’s issues for one reason alone it should be that the most anti-feminist parts of the show are usually the most cringeworthy. There’s more than a hint of the jealous-best-friend syndrome in the fact that McNulty being saved also involves him leaving high-end police work—what he does best!—for home life and an easy day-to-day as a beat cop, not to mention markedly fewer scenes. Don’t ditch us for a broad, McNulty! Look what they did to Randy!

(via zunguzungu, who also deftly takes down some bizarre anti-Shirley-Jackson snobbery).

6 Responses

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  1. There are contemporary or near-contemporary “world transformative” scifi authors out there – Margaret Atwood, Octavia Butler. But they don’t embrace the techno-utopia that so many modernist sci fi writers embraced, and they don’t embrace the regime of strict social control. I really hate this mode of essay writing (so easy to do, so intellectually lazy): take a few canonical texts and a rather arbitrary conclusion culled from those texts; compare those texts with a few arbitrarily selected contemporary texts; make a broad pronouncement about what it means for fiction/humanity today.


    July 18, 2010 at 11:10 am

  2. I agree on both counts. I felt obliged to link to it nonetheless.


    July 18, 2010 at 11:40 am

  3. That Sacco piece is fantastic. But the link is broken; had to google it.


    July 18, 2010 at 6:26 pm

  4. “I felt obliged to link to it nonetheless”

    why? just curious.


    July 18, 2010 at 9:59 pm

  5. Another highlight from the Jones piece, and a point that only really struck home the second time I read it, is how the “politics of role models” are behind us (and beneath the kinds of storytelling The Wire is capable of):

    “The Wire has female characters who are important to the show and whose depth extends beyond cookie-cutter cliché. The most obvious of these is kick-ass lesbian detective Kima Greggs, but she is by no means the only woman who can hold her own. On the side of the law, Greggs is flanked by the firm-but-fair assistant state’s attorney Rhonda Pearlman, while mass murdering androgynous gangster Snoop fits into no archetype I can remember. Addictive and incredible these characters may be, but an excuse they are not. Anyone who tries to pass Kima and Snoop off as a defence against the accusation that The Wire is gender-backwards is under the illusion that a portfolio of “strong women” makes something feminist. If that is true, I’m Lara Croft. If there was ever a time for the politics of role models, it has come and gone. As The Wire rightly recognizes, our attention should lie with the institutions that make us what we are—and often, what we are is vulnerable, complicated, and weak.”


    July 19, 2010 at 1:55 am

  6. “why? just curious.”

    Well, it was about science fiction and I’d had the tab open for a while. Trust me, I feel better now that it’s been blogged.


    July 19, 2010 at 2:50 am

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