The wire

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The wire

  1. 1. The Wire – a postmodern programme about a postmodern city?<br />Postmodern media<br />
  2. 2. The Wire – a postmodern programme about a postmodern city?<br />David Simon, co-creator, talks about the programme being postmodern because:<br />It is a a re-working of the conventions of the police procedural genre (cop show in very plain English<br />Conventional cop shows feature cops and criminals, are a straightforward battle bettween good and bad, where the cops are good and the criminals are bad<br />The narrative structures of conventional cop shows start with a crime being committed and end with that crime being solved and the criminals being brought to justice (e.g. Life On Mars / Whitechapel / Hawaii-Five-O)<br />He also talks about the city where the programme is set – Baltimore – and the forces that govern it as being postmodern – because the city has changed from being an industrial city which makes things into a post-industrial city where people live, but work elsewhere (and that population is declining) – all of this is like Wolverhampton<br />We can label this approach to postmodernism as AUTHORIAL POSTMODERNISM<br />The job today is to work out if Simon is right<br />
  3. 3. Theoretical approach<br />Lyotard – the postmodern era is one marked by the decline of grand narratives<br />Grand narratives such as religion (total explanations of life from beginning to end and beyond) are threatened by the rise of scientific knowledge<br />We no longer worship weather gods or the Roman or Greek gods because we know that if the weather is poor - we know the weather will improve<br />Whilst David Simon claims the programme as being postmodern, has he in fact created a grand narrative of ‘Everycity’? The programme is set in Baltimore, but could it be Wolverhampton?<br />
  4. 4. Topic prompt questions<br />What are the different versions of post-modernism (historical period, style, theoretical approach)? <br />What are the arguments for and against understanding some forms of media as post-modern? <br />How do post-modern media texts challenge traditional text-reader relations and the concept of representation? <br />In what ways do media audiences and industries operate differently in a post-modern world? <br />
  5. 5. Social grades<br />
  6. 6. The Wire<br />It is postmodern because it reworks genre conventions and narrative structures<br />It is postmodern because it documents the social changes of the postmodern and post-industrial era<br />It is not postmodern because it offers a grand narrative about the problems affecting all cities in the western world<br />It is not any more postmodern than the works of Shakespeare which also feature characters from the full range of the social hierarchy<br />

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