Saturday, February 28, 2009

Listen to The Bunk

Maybe like you, I'm a big fan of The Wire, the greatest show on television. Many people, including Barack Obama, say that Omar, the gay stick-up man, is their favorite character. Maybe it's because he's cool, unafraid. Maybe it's because he gets to take the revenge against what the "bad" drug dealers do that society misses out on.

I think it's mostly just because he's cool, though. And the fact that he never put a gun on anyone who's not in the game.

I've always liked him, too, and he does get some great lines. For instance, his comment to Bunk while he's sitting in jail, "If I'd known I was going to be sharing quarters with these boys I probably wouldn't have robbed so many of them."

Still, it never pays to ignore Bunk Moreland, the conscious of the series, or one of them. In this scene Bunk challenges Omar's idea that the drug business, and particularly his part of it, isn't hurting anybody that matters. We know this isn't true. We've seen what happened in Hamsterdam, and what happens to Michael's mother, or to Bubs and some of his friends, but it's important to hear it.

So I'm not telling you that you shouldn't like Omar. What I am saying is that, like most things on The Wire, if you ignore the moral ambiguity even of your favorite character, you're really missing something important.


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