David Simon - An argument for the city

From AlterNet, an interview with David Simon, creator of The Wire and Treme.

This show, if we do it right, is an argument for the city. For the idea of American urbanity, for the melting pot, for the idea that our future can’t be separated from the fact that we are all going to be increasingly compacted into urban areas, though we’re different in race and culture and religion. And what we make of that will determine the American future.

I listened during the last election cycle to the rhetoric about small town values and where the real Americans live. I thought to myself, “I’ve never heard such bullshit in my life.” Rural America’s not coming back. That idea was lost with the Industrial Revolution. And yet with more than 80 percent of Americans living in metropolitan areas, there are still demagogues who want to run down the idea of multiculturalism, of urbanity, being the only future we have. We either live or die based on how we live in cities, and our society is either going to be great or not based on how we perform as creatures of the city.

I haven’t watched Treme at all yet, due to my inability to stomach the extra cost of HBO every month.  I’ll have to add it to the list.  If the quality is half as good as The Wire, it will be well worth watching.

4 comments to David Simon – “An argument for the city.”

  • I watched the first season and trust me – it’s not half as good as The Wire. Everyone I know who saw it was disappointed…I’m not even sure it got renewed for a second season. The Wire seemed to have a much better lesson (legalize drugs!) for cities than Treme (which was…New Orleans is great?).

  • Alex Block

    Even if there’s not a lesson, I enjoy Simon’s style of storytelling. I did enjoy Generation Kill as well.

  • Art Vandelay

    I think the endless pandering to the relatively few people who live in the countryside is a byproduct of the way election districts and the electoral college is set up.

    States with very few people (comparitively) get a disproportionate amount of leverage, and those people have been frightened by sensational “news” infotainment into believing the cities are seething hotbeds of vice and immorality.

    What we really need are electoral reforms that insure that when a majority of people vote for a president, s/he is put in office.

  • Alex Block


    That’s certainly true. Nevertheless, there is a conception amongst American suburbs that they are rural in nature (or at least in culture) despite the plainly obvious facts that they are metropolitan (and therefore urban) in nature.

    Jarrett Walker addressed some of this:


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