The Best of the Decade lists are everywhere.
Paste Magazine has a pleasing list of the 50 best albums.
And at the flimsier end of the spectrum, Vogue magazine was suddenly overtaken by a giddy moment of populism and decided to let you and me choose the ten best dressed women of the decade.
However, for my money, when it comes to lists pertaining anything of an artistic nature—best books, best films, best music, best television dramas, et al—from a social justice perspective, one work stands out among all the others, and that is the five seasons of David Simon’s The Wire.
Yes the Sopranos was brilliant, Roberto BolaÃ±o’s 2666 is a literary game changer, and Fernando Meirelles’ City of God was astonishing in its portrayal of Rio’s desperate favelas.
Yet, I can think of no other recent work of art—any kind of art— that so successfully gets to the multi-layered complexity of modern urban life and the interwoven nature of its strata. The Wire stands alone.
The truth is, I don’t think lawmakers should be allowed to vote on a single bill relating to issues of criminal justice without watching all five seasons. And, obviously, before they’re let near an education bill, Season 4, is an absolute requirement.
I could rattle on, but instead I recommend that you watch Bill Moyers’ interview with David Simon, recorded last April (Part 1 and Part 2). It’s clip filled and both men get right to the heart of the matter.
“You come at the king, you best not miss.”
For the next few days I’m in the last stages of reading students’ final projects (which are inspiringly good, by the way) and giving final grades, which means I’ve not been doing much in the way of original reporting.
But, never fear, I have a couple of good stories lined up for next week before we plunge into the holidays.