Wednesday, May 28, 2008

It's all in the game

"The Game still the game"-Marlo

This is one of my favorite quotes and what I say to people whenever they ask how things are going (they usually look at me funny).

"Game" is a theme that certainly plays a role in the whole show. From the dice game to the many times "game" is used to describe a situation with consequences bigger than winning and losing.

I think "game" gets at the heart of Simon's critique of American capitalism. On the one hand, there is a myth that if you're smart, work hard, get an education, do the right stuff- you will make it. You will win "the game." On the other hand, if you don't quite have it- there's still a place for you in this world. The idea is articulated by Simon directly in his introduction to Rafael Alvarez's _The Wire: Truth Be Told_.(1) These most American myths of opportunity and equality, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are based on the "winning" (or getting the participation award) of American life. These myths assume that the field is level. The Wire tells us "the game is rigged."

Of course, American cities (or America itself) don't have a patent on this myth, but according to Simon, at their best they represent "the ultimate aspiration for the American community... from rugged individualism to the melting pot." (2) So we will see how the concept of "game" gets played out over the course of five seasons.

(1)Rafael Alvarez, _The Wire: Truth Be Told_ (New York: Pocket Books, 2004), 5-6.
(2)Alvarez, _The Wire_, 4.

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