Monday, December 04, 2006
Buckin n****s down cuz they think shit is sweet:
Ponder this insight:
"We all operate from certitudes of life," says [The Wire's Ed] Burns. "You can't be jumped. You have to be tough. It works on the corner, but doesn't translate to the other world." By that he means, a middle-class world where vulnerability, self-deprecation, and cooperation are sometimes considered virtues.
Exactly. The difference between civilized, bourgeois existence and the reality of a world unrestricted by such mediations is the central fact of the show, and it's why the Hall, the Port, the Street, the School and the Law can all recognize each other. Prez is willing to show vulnerability, compassion, etc., and those qualities make him bad police -- but they make him a good teacher.

Sometimes it's hard to place blame. Bubbles, for instance, genuinely cares about both Johnny and Sherrod. But both die, because, above all else, Bubbles cares about his addiction. Bubbles' Depo is the perfect parody of bourgeois aspirations: beyond the outer appearance of Bubbles' initiative, it's nothing but a hustle to finance heroin. Literally, the facade is stripped off, revealing the skeletal appearance of two creaking, stolen shopping carts. (And they feed off the detritus of civilization, down to the copper wire and scrap metal.) But should Bubs be teaching Sherrod or Johnny to get out of the game, or should he have done a better job of teaching them how to survive within it, like he does? Why is it Bubbles' job to instruct people, anyway? Because: all we got is us, in the end.

And sometimes the boundary is pregnable. Ask yourself: who are the two people born into the game who clearly aren't strong enough to survive in it? D'Angelo and Namond. Brianna tells us in season one, when D'Angelo is ready to flip and get out of the game, that D'Angelo reaped the benefits of his grandfather's hustle, and then her hustle, and her brothers' hustle. This family, she tells him, would be on the street. Brianna succeeds in the game because she knows to separate the benefits the game brings her from being corrupted by their values -- the consumerism, the ostentatiousness, the short-sightedness -- the traps that the bourgeoise lay for the bourgeois-aspirants. D'Angelo isn't as soft as he might seem: he is a killer, but the murder of his friend Wallace brings out the injustice the game has inflicted on him. (Remember the scene in jail when D'Angelo tells Brianna that he never forgot how she left him outside to get beaten up.) Namond is a different case. He's never happier than when he's playing his XBox or modeling his new throwbacks, all while Dukie starves, Michael is abused and Randy bounces through foster care. Wee-Bey and DeLonda know exactly what it takes to get to what they have, but Namond, having grown up with it, can't understand.

Namond, last night, finally admitted to himself that he's been play-acting. He's not Bey. He's not even fit for the corners. But the Other World holds nothing for him, either -- just like it didn't hold anything for D'Angelo. D'Angelo accepted that when he accepted his jail time and refused Avon's help. Namond is too young and too stupid and too weak. What makes him such a powerful character is knowing that he is a walking corpse.
--Spencer Ackerman
Didn't Bubbles try to get Sherrod enrolled at school? I think he sincerely wanted him to "get out of the game." As it became clear that it was too late for Sherrod to re-enter the classroom, Bubbles seemed to reason that Sherrod might as well learn the business.
Blogger The Special | 10:17 AM

You have a point. But after Sherrod comes back to Bubbles after his stint on the corners, the question, I think, remains. The one thing Bubbles never tried to do was end Sherrod's addiction, or Johnny's -- and that's what killed both of them, not the violence of the game but the suicide of it. This is what dooms Bubbles: because of what his is, he is in no position to save the lives of those he loves, and yet he convinces himself he is.
Blogger spencerackerman | 10:29 AM

The possibility of cleaning up does not exist to Bubs, so it never really dawns on him that he should encourage Johnny or Sherrod to do so.
Blogger Pooh | 4:51 PM

Oh, man, you guys have gotta see episode 50.
Blogger spencerackerman | 8:00 PM

Not cool dude. No HoD here...
Blogger Pooh | 11:28 PM