Friday, March 20, 2009

"Real Thugz" Make a Return!

The Wire is long over, but Sudhir Venkatesh has brought back his sounding board from the streets (as opposed to The Street) to take on the current economic crisis via open letters to Treasury Secretary Geithner. For those that missed it, Venkatesh wrote several great books on his experiences shadowing a drug dealer and gang leader in Chicago's public housing projects. Venkatesh now resides in NYC and has come to know several former members of that city's august underground. He watched the fifth season of The Wire with "The Thugz" as they liked to go by, and reported their reactions in the freakonomics blog. I would often bounce some reactions to these blog posts on my blog.

The first open letter suggests that the problem of the Treasury was not letting the losers lose. Apparently, capitalism is fun because we get to watch economic losers crash and burn in a public forum. By making every bank, good and bad, take TARP money, the treasury broke the first rule of the streets, "losers must die in full view." Maybe a little harsh, but then, so is the streets.

The second open letter is much more interesting. In this letter, the thugz argue that the folks still around now are "the killers" and they are worth keeping around for when the times get good again. Those that are a dime a dozen, have already jumped ship so the bonuses are only going to the most important people to keeping the business afloat.

So this is the Hip Hop Party that Michael Steele keeps trying to reach out to... It's going to be off the hook.

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