--David Simon and The Wire: In response to my post last month, Bob Andelman provided a link to his own interview with Simon from earlier this year. It’s definitely worth checking out, as Andelman’s questions draw expansive responses from Simon on what the show means within the broader context of television and (post)modern society. Two particular highlights: 1) addressing the issue of the show’s graphicness (“We’re not saying dirty words to be naughty… and we are not using any more violence than would otherwise be necessary to address the plot”); and 2) mentioning how the show’s budget has been both a survival strategy and point of pride (“…and we are always under budget. We always turn a little bit of money back in almost as a good faith gesture”). There is a potential spoiler for those who haven’t seen Season 4 yet (as I haven’t), so be careful when reading.
--China and the 2008 Olympics: I admit I’ve kind of punted on this idea (after posts here and here), and the primary reason why was my discovery of Human Rights Watch’s thematic page on the multiple human rights concerns leading up to the Games next August. HRW also wrote an article on November 6 (Journalists’ Day in China) concerning the country’s unwillingness to follow through on its pledge to allow media freedom for foreign journalists—a pledge that was part of its original bid to the International Olympic Committee.
I’d still like to occasionally note articles/commentary relating to this issue that I find relevant, and Get Religion’s analysis of how China will address religious freedom during the Games fits the bill. Given that government officials haven’t done so well with the foreign press lately, there’s also cause of concern on how they’re already handling this issue, especially when they’re using phrases like ‘detrimental to China’s politics, economy, culture and ethics’ as qualifiers. As Daniel Pulliam notes, it’s going to be up to the major media outlets to “stoop down and look under those rugs” as a means of holding China accountable.