New York's media establishment may have decided that it loves the Wire. (Slate editor Jacob Weisberg was among the talking heads comparing the HBO drama to a great 19th century novel in the promo.) But David Simon, creator of the Baltimore-based show, doesn't return the regard. To be sure, Simon is generally bitter, holds a grudge and if you ask him what he thinks about Washingtonians, he'll say "fuck them." But the man reserves his real disdain for the East Coast Fantasy Island of New York. This is a 2006 link, but worth reprising. Baltimore blogger Eebmore transcribed a talk Simon gave at Eugene Lang College of the New School (famous alumni include: Ani DiFranco, Matisyahu, Sufjan Stevens and...Emily Gould!) and it's one of the best takedowns of New York we've heard. "You don't know shit anymore!" and then some, after the jump.
Since I'm in New York, let me say it: there is no city more vain about it's position in popular culture, more indifferent to other realities, more self absorbed than New York City. I'm mean, you guys have a lot going on and there are a lot of wonderful stories to be told, but you literally think you have the end thing to say... the enth degree to what to say on every single one of them; and Baltimore has ten times your crime rate, five times your rate of intravenous drug addiction, five times your rate of poverty. And yet, because all the Wall Street money went here in the eighties and the nineties on that great run... and there is no more hell in Alphabet City and Morningside Heights is being gentrified.
I mean, Manhattan is one big pile of money, and so you guys think you know urban America and you don't know shit anymore! I'm starting to get a little pissed off and I don't mean to be... [laughter]
When Homicide was published as a book, it was the only time they ever... it wasn't because I'm a great guy, it's because they let me in the homicide unit. I was really lucky. But, this book comes out, and the New York Times would not review it at first, because they said it was a regional book. The New Yorker actually did a long review and then they came back and wrote a little brief... but, we've always had the problem in Baltimore. ...
There is a tonality to how you guys accept stories... that cover of the New Yorker where, you know, where it's like New Jersey and then China... that, that is you and an awful lot of really fine story telling doesn't permeate, and what's going on in Baltimore is that we've been doing it so long and have so many hours of television under our belt that eventually enough people have found it that we can't go away anymore. But, um, there really is... it's very hard piercing the New York and LA axis, and it's very hard for anything to be good because everybody that is writing is writing what they know. What the hell do you know if...
I mean God bless Richard Price because he lives in Manhattan, but he actually crosses the river to go to Jersey City. That's why (indecipherable) is so good, because he left the fucking island; and I gotta say, you know, all the shows that look like LA and New York... I've gone off now. I've really lost it [laughter].
I mean, here is a fact... an honest to God fact: last year, there were more corpses on the three Law & Order franchises, which were all set in Manhattan... there were more dead people shown on that show than there were actual homicides in Manhattan.