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On Harvard Prof Mounts a Defense of Teaching "The Wire"

I think you have a really simplistic understanding of the what divides fiction from non-fiction. You claim that the Duke Center for Documentary Studies would take offense to the idea that upper class college kids could learn something from fiction, implying that documentary would offer a clearer and truer view of urban life.

But documentary is, in many ways, just as easily manipulated as traditional narrative. You've got a certain perspective (both ideologically and literally) and the ability to edit footage in order to elicit a certain response in both media. And though the expectation with documentary is that the events in front of the camera are not influenced by the filmmaker, a cursory investigation of documentary history will show otherwise. Even your own mention of "Jersey Shore" confirms that the documentary is frequently sensationalized.

Even more galling is your assertion that "The Wire" is simply made up. All fiction, to some degree, is inspired by the experience of the creator but, naturally, augmented dramatically so as to make it as entertaining as possible. But the extent to which this occurs certainly differs from work to work. To say that "The Wire" has as little to do with "truth" as, say, "Lost" is apparently off-base. Your analysis smacks of bitterness more than careful consideration.

Posted on September 17, 2010 at 11:45 am 0