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The Wire, Season 5

Editor Gus Haynes with reporters Mike Fletcher, Alma Gutierrez and Scott Templeton in the newsroom of Season 5 of "The Wire"

Editor Gus Haynes with reporters Mike Fletcher, Alma Gutierrez and Scott Templeton in the newsroom of Season 5 of “The Wire”

“The Wire”, Season 5 (2008), the last season, is the one that looks at the media in Baltimore. It features the Baltimore Sun newspaper, where David Simon, the show’s creator, worked from 1982 to 1995. The police, drug gangs and city government from past seasons are carried into this one, but schools and labour unions are not.

Institutional dysfunction continues as a theme, but the critique is not as sharp. You are led to believe that, for the most part, there is nothing wrong that money and good leadership cannot fix.

It makes clear, though, that newsrooms constantly make choices about what to print, that class and race shape news decisions. Even when it is murder.

Unlike Season 4, there are no White Saviours and we get a Black point-of-view character of an institution other than a drug gang: Gus Haynes, city editor at the Sun. He even brings up issues of race on occasion.

There are plenty of Black characters, just as in past seasons. That is rare for television drama in the US, but most fall within a few stereotypes:

  1. Black leaders: corrupt
  2. Black middle-class: noble but boring
  3. Black poor and working-class: sunk in social pathologies

Take each in turn:

The_Wire_Nerese_Campbell

Nerese Campbell, city council president

1. Black leaders seek power as an end in itself, not to help the city, not even to help Blacks. If they are noble and do what is right, they do not get far under Black rule. Bad leaders stay in power by playing the race card: appealing to the supposedly blind race loyalty of Black voters and jurors. White jurors are seen as more fair-minded. The White mayor considers the public good in his decision-making in most cases, Black leaders in most cases do not. Season 4 was more balanced.

The_Wire_Haynes

Gus Haynes, newspaper editor

2. Black middle-class characters are mostly noble but boring:

  1. They have little to no moral complexity – they almost always do the right thing, like Bunk Moreland or Gus Haynes.
  2. We barely see their home life. We see Gus’s wife, for example, for like ten seconds, half-asleep, in a darkened room. We do not even know if he has children or where he lives. He magically appears on the human plane of existence at work and maybe at a bar or restaurant. That is White gaze all the way: it matches the racially segregated experience of Whites, not Blacks.

Kima Greggs and Lester Freamon almost break free of this:

  • Kima has her home life shown at length, but morally she is a straight-arrow.
  • Lester is morally complex in Season 5, but we barely see his home life, even though he is with Shardene Innes, the stripper from Season 1!
marlo

Marlo Stanfield, drug lord

Black poor and working-class people who are main characters are mostly sunk in social pathology – drugs, crime, disorganized families, etc – or recovering therefrom. None are just ordinary people. Even when they have a chance to escape, most do not – like when Marlo Stanfield in his suit returns to the corner. An idea as old as Jim Crow. Just ask Zora Neale Hurston.

See also:

Remarks:

This went to #1 in the US in 1971 on both the pop and R&B charts. Still great after all these years.

Lyrics:

Ooo
Each day through my window I watch her as she passes by.
I say to myself, you’re such a lucky guy.
To have a girl like her is truly a dream come true.
Out of all the fellas in the world, she belongs to me.

But it was just my ‘magination, running away with me.
It was just my ‘magination, running away with me.

(Soon) Soon we’ll be married and raise a family. (Oh, yeah)
A cozy little home out in the country with two children, maybe three.
I tell you, I can visualize it all. This couldn’t be a dream, for too real it all seems.

But it was just my ‘magination, once again.
Running away with me.
Tell you it was just my ‘magination,
Running away with me.

[Paul:] Every night on my knees I pray.

Dear Lord, hear my plea.
Don’t ever let another take her love from me.
Or I will surely die. Hmm

(Her love is) heavenly.
When her arms enfold me.
I hear a tender rhapsody.
But in reality, she doesn’t even know me.

Just my ‘magination, once again.
Running away with me.
Oh, tell you it was just my ‘magination,
Running away with me.

I never met her but I can’t forget her.
Just my ‘magination,
Ooo yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Running away with me.

Ooo, just my ‘magination running away with me.
She’s in my mind and hard to find.
Just my ‘magination…

APTOPIX College Community Shooting

Bullet holes left by killer Elliot Rodger, 2014

Posts on this blog in which two or more people are reported dead, listed from least bad to worst. Some posts were written during an event, so those numbers may be incomplete. Those without links were added for comparison.

Source: Wikipedia

See also:

Elliot Rodger

elliot-rodger

Elliot Rodger (1991-2014), an American mass murderer, killed 7 and injured 13 in Isla Vista, California, a seaside college town near the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB).

On the night of Friday May 23rd 2014, Rodger stabbed to death his two roommates and their friend.

He drove his black BMW to Alpha Phi, a sorority that he said was “full of hot, beautiful blonde girls.” He was going to kill them all, maybe burn down their house. He knocked. No answer. Three women were crossing the street just then. He gunned them down. Two died, one was blonde.

He drove through Isla Vista shooting people, shooting up I.V. Deli Mart, 7-Eleven and a pizza place – glass breaking, people running for cover, people falling and bleeding. He ran down seven people with his car.

The police gave chase, shooting at him. He crashed and shot himself in the head.

He was 22. The last eight years of his life, he said, had been a living hell of virginity, loneliness, jealousy and envy. The last three years were made bearable by getting ready for the day he would get even – with the female gender for not sleeping with him, with young lovers for being happy when he was not.

He was quiet, shy, would barely talk to you or look you in the eye. He kept to himself, seemed to have no friends, male or female.

Like many mass murderers he:

  • was narcissistic,
  • blamed others,
  • could not handle failure,
  • was bullied as a child and
  • planned the shooting.

His parents had no idea he was plotting mass murder, but they knew something was not right. A doctor had tried to get him to take Risperidone, which is given to people who are schizophrenic, schizoaffective, bipolar or autistic. Rodger refused to take it.

Under American law he had no trouble buying three guns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

Add to all that internalized racism. From his 137-page life story:

I came across this Asian guy who was talking to a white girl. The sight of that filled me with rage. I always felt as if white girls thought less of me because I was half-Asian, but then I see this white girl at the party talking to a full-blooded Asian. I never had that kind of attention from a white girl. And white girls are the only girls I’m attracted to, especially the blondes. How could an ugly Asian attract the attention of a white girl, while a beautiful Eurasian like myself never had any attention from them? I thought with rage. I glared at them for a bit, and then decided I had been insulted enough. I angrily walked toward them and bumped the Asian guy aside, trying to act cocky and arrogant to both the boy and the girl.

Seeing White women with “filthy” Black men and “low-class” Latinos also filled him with rage.

He killed two White women and five men of colour. The three he stabbed to death – stabbed! – were Asian men.

See also:

The Holocaust

jewish-genocide

% of Jews killed during the Holocaust

The Holocaust (fl. 1941-1945) is the name commonly given since the late 1950s to the genocide carried out by Nazi Germany under Hitler.

Also known as:

  • Nazi: The Final Solution (to the Jewish Question)
  • Jewish: the Shoah (Hebrew for “catastrophe”)
  • Yiddish: The Third Destruction (the First and Second destroyed the First and Second Temples of Jerusalem, in 587 BC and AD 70).

At least 9 million died. Using conservative estimates:

  • Jews: 5 million. A figure of 5 to 6 million can be arrived at different ways, so it is pretty solid. Holocaust Deniers have to account for how over half the Jews of Europe disappeared in the 1940s and showed up nowhere else. Hitler saw Jews as “vermin” bent on taking over the world through control of Western finance, labour, media, etc. Hitler, proud of his “process of disinfection”, said in 1945 that, “The world of the future will be eternally grateful to us.”
  • Soviet prisoners of war: 2 million.
  • Slavs: 1.82 million, mainly Poles. Slavs were “subhumans” who were taking up land where Germans could live. Hitler wanted to wipe out at least 65% of the natives in what is now Poland, Belarus and Ukraine by 1970.
  • Romani (Gypsies): 220,000. The Bohemian Romani language became extinct.
  • Mentally disabled: 200,000.
  • Freemasons: 80,000.
  • Spanish Republicans: 7,000.
  • Homosexuals: 5,000.
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses: 2,500.
  • Leftists: ???

There was no policy to wipe out Blacks.

640px-Rail_leading_to_Auschwitz_II_(Birkenau)

Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in southern Poland. Most of the big death camps were out in the Polish countryside.

Before they died, many worked as slave labour for the likes of Hugo Boss, Kodak, Siemens, Volkswagen and BMW. Others became subjects of sick medical experiments. None were turned into soap or lampshades.

About 811,000 Jews fled from 1933 to 1943, Einstein and Freud among them. Half went to the US, Palestine or Britain.

Left behind were millions of Jews in eastern Europe who lacked the money or connections to leave.

Anti-Semitism in Europe goes back at least a thousand years, but it had become markedly worse in the late 1800s. By 1881 Jews were being racialized: you were still considered a Jew no matter how assimilated or even Christian you were. Aryanists divided Caucasians racially into Aryans and Semites.

That allowed the racism Whites had used to practise slavery, genocide and colonialism overseas, and which now had the full support of science, to be turned in on Europe itself.

Add to that state power: In 1933 the Nazi Party came to power in Germany.

9085134_orig

The yellow star of David that Jews were made to wear.

The Nazi Party moved towards genocide step by step: it demonized Jews, defined by law who a Jew was, took away their citizenship and civil rights, kept track of them (with the help of IBM), moved them to ghettos, etc. But the decision on the Final Solution – complete extermination – probably did not take shape till late 1941.

Jews soon discovered, and Tutsis later found, that one of the shocking things about a genocide is how little the outside world seems to care. While most people did not find out till 1945, top people in Germany, Britain, the US and the Catholic Church, people like President Roosevelt and Pope Pius XII, knew – and did surprisingly little.

Hitler was not surprised: ever the student of history, he had the Armenian and Native American genocides before him as models.

See also:

Aryanism

RAND-1932-RACE

1932 Rand McNally map of the races of mankind. Aryans are in red.

Aryanism (fl. 1855-1945) is the belief that Aryans are genetically superior to the rest of the human species - the “master race” as Hitler put it. It is a White racism that is anti-Semitic, made infamous by Hitler, the Nazis and the Holocaust. It is the racism that the word “racism” was invented to talk about.

In 2014 “Aryans” has two main meanings in English:

  1. Hitler’s master race.
  2. The Indo-Europeans who brought Sanskrit and Hindu religion to India some 3,500 years ago.

To Hitler and other Aryanists they were the same people – because “Aryan” is the old word for Indo-European. Aryans were one of the two main branches of the Caucasian race, the other being Semites: Jews, Arabs, ancient Babylonians and so on. That mixes up language with race, but such confusion was common.

Common Aryanist beliefs:

  • Racial purity: Keeping the Aryan race pure follows from the belief that what makes Aryans so special is, at root, genetic. The current state of India, Latin America and eastern Europe as compared to western Europe and North America shows what becomes of Aryans who mix with the darker races.
  • Anti-Semitism: Since no one else is as good as Caucasians, it follows that Semites, as fellow Caucasians, are the biggest long-term threat to Aryans.
  • Nordicism: Aryans are found in their purest form in Nordics, the white people from northern Europe: tall with long skulls, fair skin and light-coloured eyes and hair. The top people of ancient Greece, Rome and India were Nordic. So was Jesus.
  • Slavs: Although Aryan, because they live in eastern Europe they have become so mixed with Asian blood from Huns, Mongols, Turks and others that most are racially degenerate, screwed up. Hitler went so far as to call them subhuman.
  • Progress: Only Aryans are capable of bringing human progress. Without them everyone else would either be stuck in the past or sunk in darkness.

Nordicism was a matter of dispute, especially in Italy, but it was not mere wishful thinking: based on what was known in the early 1900s, German scholars were able to seriously argue that the first Indo-Europeans – and therefore the early Greeks, Romans and Aryans #2 - were Nordic.

This Aryan stuff was not just some bizarro Nazi thing: It goes back to the 1800s, rooted in scholarship. Darwin talked about “Aryan stock”. As late as 1944 in the US, Rand McNally listed Aryans as one of the “races of mankind” (the 1932 map is pictured above).

Ancient Greece is still viewed through an Aryanist model created by scholars in the 1800s. That is why we think of the West as beginning with the Greeks, why they seem to have had such amazing minds.

Even Samuel Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations” (1996) is not a far cry from Aryanism: update biological racism with cultural racism and Jews with Arabs and you are almost there. Aryanism makes better sense than he does of why he divides the Christian world into four separate “civilizations”.

See also:

Hitler: Race and People

aryan-and-jew

German and Jewish girls compared, from “Die Judenfrage im Unterricht” (1937)

“Race and People” is chapter 11 of “Mein Kampf” (1924), the book where Adolf Hitler lays out his political philosophy, 18 years before the Holocaust. In this chapter he talks about how history is best understood in terms of race:

neues-volk

Aryans

The Aryan race, particularly that of Europe and North America, is the only one that brings civilization and progress to the world. All other races, like the Japanese, copy it and make unimportant changes to suit their taste. At best other races on their own can maintain fossilized civilizations that do not progress, but more often than not they sink back into darkness.

Throughout history, Aryans have taken over people of other races and bent them to their will to create civilization. Aryans create and direct, while others provide the muscle power (with the help of animals and, later, machines).

The secret of Aryan success is self-sacrifice. Where other races are sunk in self-interest, Aryans are willing to benefit their community rather than themselves.

Where Aryans often run into trouble, though, is mixing with other races. A superior race mixing with an inferior one is not only a sin against will of the Eternal Creator, it leads to mental and physical degeneration.

Just look at the sad state of Latin America, where Aryans freely mated with aborigines. Compare that to North America, where Aryans by and large have remained pure, becoming masters of the American continent.

916cbbc03ea6bb315f41ff5f83744c20

Anti-Jewish poster

Jews are not Aryans. They are monkey imitators. They cannot create a civilization or even a country of their own. They live off of other civilizations, destroying them from within like a disease. They make you think they are good Germans or good Frenchmen, but even when they convert, their Jewish character remains what it has always been down through the ages.

Jews are master manipulators, tricking others into doing what they want. They are full of lies. They talk of peace, justice and equality when what they truly want is to take over the world.

Jews came to Germany in Roman times as traders. Then bit by bit they became middle men then loan sharks then bankers to common people, then bankers to princes and kings. Now they control finance, trade, the stock market and the Freemasons. They control not just finance, creating class divisions – they also control the Marxist movement against it! On top of that, they control the press, shaping public opinion. They undermine Aryan religion, morals and culture.

Jews have weakened Germany so much that it lost the war in 1918. People need to wake up.

Judenfrage_Unterricht_3

German/Jewish “mongrels” from “Die Judenfrage im Unterricht” (1937)

But far more damaging in the long run than any of that, Jews are trying to bastardize the Aryan race through seduction of Aryan girls and women, through intermarriage and bringing negroes into the Rhineland.

For as long as a people remain racially pure and are conscious of the treasure of their blood, they can never be overcome by the Jew. Never in this world can the Jew become master of any people except a bastardized people.

Anne_Frank_by_BMML

See also:

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