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David Simon's Twitter Polemic In Defense Of The Wire's Legacy Is Worth The Read

David Simon isn't interested in simple partisan politics as usual. The author and writer is responsible for several different TV series, but his most well known works in television are "Homicide: Life On the Street" (which was based on his book "Homicide: A Year of Killing On the Streets") and "The Wire," which he created. While both shows focused on police forces, they also demonstrated some of the complexities and corruption present in law enforcement, neither condemning completely nor blindly praising police.

In 2018, on Simon's website – which he has titled "The Audacity of Despair: Collected prose, links and occasional venting from David Simon" — Simon penned a long diatribe about the New York Times' perceived gotcha-journalism in a 2018 piece revealing that then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had discussed invoking the 25th amendment to remove President Donald Trump. Simon argued that this was taken out of context and was barely news, noting that anyone in Rosenstein's position would naturally have to discuss invoking the 25th amendment or else they'd be negligent in their job. "In short, if they WEREN'T sitting in rooms, stressed, trying to chart their way around an ethical minefield and still do their jobs, it reflects incompetence or, worse, abdication," wrote Simon.

So when someone suggested on Twitter recently that "The Wire" was a conservative show, Simon took to Twitter to give a much more nuanced view.

Simon talks about holding two opposing views

In a recent Twitter thread about mass incarceration in which David Simon criticized those looking to abolish prisons, Twitter user @RowanKaiser tweeted something that really ticked off Simon. "The Wire remains the best piece of conservative art ever made," the user wrote. "David Simon has no idea that's true though." 

What Simon wrote, in response was a 30-tweet-long argument, in which he proclaimed that one can see the flaws in the prison system without seeking to abolish it.

"When a s***bird mangles an opponent's language into his own rhetoric, you can be assured of one thing, he's stuffing a strawman weak enough so he can wrestle with it," wrote Simon. "Two things can be true at once and in this case are." A lot of Simon's response was focused on the ability to hold multiple points of view. "Does this argue against committing to building socioeconomic equalities or better educational opportunities or other social programming, of course not," Simon continued. "And the resources achieved from ending the drug war and mass incarceration could well be redirected. But...In the end, as Fitzgerald told us, the sign of a first rate mind is the capacity to hold two — seemingly — contradictory ideas at once and see their value."

While many in the comments section praised Simon for his articulate response, not everyone was impressed. User @RowanKaiser, who Simon had been responding to, had some choice words for Simon in response, claiming that the writer had previously taken a problematic stance regarding the N-word, and harassed a trans woman. However, this Twitter user gave no sources to back up these claims.