Hi there, I’m David Simon. You worship me. I know. You and your wife sat on your couch and watched all five seasons of The Wire in a few weeks. I know you were addicted. I could see your tongues drooling till 2 a.m. as you realized how brilliant I am. And you know how I saw that? You know how I know that? Because I am God. That’s with a capital G mate. God. And so are you, I think. Maybe you are. I’m still pondering that one.
What I did with The Wire has never been done before. I know that too. I know it’s the most under-rated (and possibly the best) T.V. drama in the history of the medium. You think I don’t know. For Pete’s sake man, I’m David Simon. I know what happened to the newspapers. I know the police beat I worked at the Baltimore Sun all those years ago. I know the crime rate. The know the names of all the cops on my beat. The knew the right judge to call. I know how backwards the educational system and how corrupt the police were and still are. I know that because I saw it. I put my feet on the ground. My ear to the ground as well. I made the calls. I did the following up that you won’t see right now on blogs or on television. I lived by the journalistic code so many speak about as if it also has a secret handshake. I was not perfect. I made mistakes but I cared. I always saw my story through.
And that’s where The Wire came from. It is an extension of everything I saw. Everything I experienced as a police reporter. I saw everything you want to know on those media outlets you look at and ask why? Why does it not work? I saw why. Why do the newspapers not sell? Why do bloggers think they can do my job? Why did the housing bubble burst? Why is there so much corporate greed? It is all connected my friend. Everything. From every last drop of honest sweat to every last drop of crooked blood that is released on the streets of Baltimore, to the Hills of Hollywood.
These stories are told and retold. Same town, different year, different name, same situation. Where there is money to be made it will be made. Where there is a product to sell it will be sold. Where ethics are to be upheld they will be broken and manipulated. Where careers are to be built they will thrive and then die. I tell you this because you are questioning the history and future of my beloved first career. Well, after having many years to question this myself, I am telling you not to worry. There are no Gods. There are no angels. There are just people trying to survive. Some stick to their guns. Some give it all away and ask for redemption. Some live in both worlds.
I knew for years I was leaving The Sun. I knew for years people were going to be axed. We knew the Internet was going to change things, but we did not know to what extent. You have to remember that the majority of us were English majors. We have a general phobia of technology. I’m still trying to figure out how to do email from my my smart phone. Half of the old crew from The Sun still don’t do email. Maybe it is a generational thing. Who knows. But with that said, let me leave you with this and let you put your tongues back in your mouth and finish the show.
I predict, there will be a new generation of new media journalists that will continue to carry the cross for folks like me. That is why I made The Wire. They will understand all of these new smart phones and tablets and social media gizmos. They will be the children of 9/11. They will not take no for an answer. They will demand the truth because they will be tired of eating and breathing lies. They might not be fed by the same corporate machine that put most of my pithy wordsmith mates in their cushy, lifetime careers. They will build new empires. And these empires will not be built with ink on paper. They will live in server rooms through cloud computing. Facts will be checked and the truth will always prevail. Maybe not as much sweat will drop, but the blood will still flow. That much I know.