Wood Goblin wrote:I, too, often wished that David Simon would have made the show worse.
I don't think that's the point.
Zizek opines on the politics he sees bubbling under the series' surface rather than no its quality as a television show. He uses it to make an argument. Contrary devil that he is, he picks at the aspect that has been lauded more than any other: its realism. Though I would love to see a Brechtian episode of The Wire
I haven't listened to the lecture, only read the summary, so perhaps the Slate piece does a disservice to Zizek's critique. Maybe there's context or irony to his comments.
According to the summary, Zizek's primary critcism is that the show wasn't something else--namely, a pure critique of capitalist status quo. Simon is apparently a Marxist himself, but he's also an artist, and he never subjugates the art to a particular ideological or political stance. The politics bubble underneath the surface, but they're also organic to the setting, the characters, the story. Zizek wishes, it seems, that politics had been given primacy and that the show would have been more Utopian, more revolutionary. I disagree with this. That's how you end up with bad Socialist Realism and Christian Rock.
Also, this bit--"To successfully critique the capitalist status quo, Žižek argues, you must step outside of realist representations"--did he really say that? Without being laughed out of the room? Certainly there have been successful examples of successful critiques performed using non-realist methods, but the success is not contingent on the method of representation. Not even close!
Finally, absolutely nothing can be learned from Ayn Rand except for what bad writing looks like. It seems pointless to acknowledge that her books mount successful challenges of the status quo. You may as well compliment her for her penmanship.
Looking back at The Wire
, I think that the aforementioned Rooseveltian nostalgia gives the show much of its pungency, as it wishes for something that is impossible to return to (or may never have existed). Much of the charm and melancholia of the series comes from this position of bitter hopelessness.
By implication the show is more revolutionary than Zizek gives it credit for: by dwelling on the utter failure of modern politics to address the needs of a city and its people, and by demonstrating how complete is the scission of this politics from this supposed Golden Age of opportunity, it makes going back impossible.[/quote]