One of the most important components of the critically acclaimed, thoroughly addicting series The Wire was its portrayal of the current circumstances afflicting those simply trying to survive in the inner-city. Loosely based on lead writer David Simon's experiences as a crime reporter for the Baltimore Sun, it is hailed for accurately depicting the toll violence has taken on poor neighborhoods and communicating the downfalls of failing to consider strong social policies while thoroughly embracing capitalism.
In addition to looking to his years spent reporting on the crime beat, Simon turned to the ancients of Greek tragedy to inform his construction of the tragedies of post-modern society. He told the Guardian, "Greek tragedy became one of the influences in terms of the tone and intent ... a framework for what we were doing with The Wire." Simon didn't frame anyone in the series according to a particular Homeric god or character, but the comparison between the capriciousness of government actions and the arbitrary power-wielding of the Greek gods is an apt one.
"We want to believe that we are in control of our lives. But when we
started looking at where America was headed politically and
economically, and Greek tragedy started making a lot of sense," he continued.
In the last lecture of a series called "From Homer to Hip Hop,"
local Greek scholar Mike Lippman and Hip Hop educator Tony Muhammad
will question if Greek texts have shaped the humanistic thinking of
Western culture. They will use The Wire to explore themes that
dominate Greek literature like honor, respect, family, love, and the
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role of women. The lecture will take place Saturday at the African
American Research Library and Cultural Center (2650 Sistrunk Blvd. Fort
Lauderdale) from 2 to 3:30 p.m. For more information call 954-625-2800,
or visit www.pageandstage.org.