When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

10 January 2008

Expert opinion

Sociologist and street-gang expert Sudhir Venkatesh watches the new season of The Wire with some retired thugs:

Ever since I began watching HBO’s The Wire, I felt that the show was fairly authentic in terms of its portrayal of modern urban life — not just the world of gangs and drugs, but the connections between gangland and City Hall, the police, the unions, and practically everything else. It certainly accorded with my own fieldwork in Chicago and New York. And it was much better than most academic and journalistic reportage in showing how the inner city weaves into the social fabric of a city.

Last year, I learned a lot by watching a few episodes of The Wire with gang leaders in Chicago. So, a few weeks ago, I called a few respected street figures in the New York metro region to watch the upcoming fifth season. I couldn’t think of a better way to ensure quality control.

"What do real thugs think of The Wire?" - Freaknomics Blog @ NY Times

Sudhir, who specializes in the underground economy, has a new book coming out called Gang Leader For A Day. His last effort, Off The Books, was one of the best nonfiction books I read last year.

And, of course, The Wire is the Best. TV. Show. Ever.

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