June 16 is Bloomsday, the unofficial holiday celebrating James Joyce’s epic masterpiece Ulysses. The entire action of that novel takes place on June 16, 1904, and so on this date, Joyce lovers from all over the world celebrate in a variety of ways. Some go to public readings and performances while others travel to Dublin to reenact the events of the novel. Last year, a Twitter feed was developed to tweet the entire novel over the course of the day.
(Note: This is the first entry in my Summer Reading series. I will be reading David Simon’s two books, Homicide and then The Corner, and writing pieces on how those books establish major concepts that become crucial in The Wire. I invite you to read along with me as I go through these essential texts.)
By Peter Honig
As a teacher, I sometimes wonder what, if anything, my students will remember ten or twenty years after they leave my class. When those thoughts come to my mind, I console myself by remembering the lessons that still stay with me many years later.
I believe that one of the biggest misconceptions about The Wire is that it is a pessimistic show. I know this is an odd statement to make about a show whose creator named his blog “The Audacity of Despair.” It is also an odd statement to make about a show filled with violence and institutional gridlock. It is a show which presents us with not one but two quartets of young inner city men who end up with a total survival rate of 25% (more or less). But I still believe that it is ultimately hopeful and life-affirming.
(Every Friday, I will provide a Wire Link, a link to an article, clip, interview, or any other work about or related to The Wire. I will post the link and provide just a few highlights and comments in the form of “Burrell-friendly” dots.)
I am guessing that if you are reading this site, then you are also responsible for one or two of the half-million views of Funny Or Die’s “The Wire: The Musical.” The best way to kill a joke is to try to explain it, so I will spare the video from my analytic gaze. Instead, I will just offer my own favorite parts: