Re: Scholarship

1

"White boy, if he knew what he was doing, would keep them cops on Marlo just long enough to build a case -- then he would trade it to the feds to get what he wanted."

So true. But what do they think of Omar?


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 4:22 PM
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And, to this day, I have great regrets: I heard they played Blackbird, which I always wanted to hear...

On my island in the Sargasso Sea, I hunt hippies and sociologists with a knife of stone and a clear conscience.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 4:26 PM
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But what do they think of Omar?

The problem with that post was that these people had just tuned into the show for the first episode of the current season, so they don't know from Omar and they don't know anyone's backstory. I'd love to hear what gang members who've seen the whole series have to say, but by then they're probably more fans than commentators anyway.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 4:36 PM
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Fraternities as gangs. Hmm.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 4:41 PM
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Yeah, that was interesting. And making gang membership illegal was pretty disturbing. Hello, freedom of association.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 4:42 PM
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I adore the Omar prequel video.

My first neighborhood in Chicago was kind of gangtastic. Our bldg's handyman seemed to be the sort of precent captain for the GDs in our hood and he and his pals would hangout in our entryway, and, in one memorable month, the vacant apartment below mine. The good part, I guess, is that he had made it quite clear that the folks in the building were fully off-limits. It was other folks that made the mistake of walking down my street that they would knock down and rob.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 4:42 PM
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5: Chicago tried to pass an ordinance that made it illegal for more than 5 (or something) gang members to congregate in one place at any given time. State courts got rid of that before the police could even try to enforce it.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 4:48 PM
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His first book was unreadable, but luckily it was so heavily blogged that you didn't have to slog through the painful prose to absorb the substance. The same will probably be true of the second.


Posted by: Amber | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 5:00 PM
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I declare myself a Rogue Commenter, wandering roguishly through the intartubes, discovering oddments and endments that The Man was trying to keep tucked away! I am Rogue Commenter, Rockstar Commenter, looking askew at the everyday world! I am poet and outlaw! I am rogue and rapscallion!

PLEASE THINK I'M COOL PLEASE.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 5:01 PM
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His first book, American Project, or do you mean Off the Books (which I didn't think was so poorly written, and which was his second book)? In any case, Gang Leader For A Day is supposed to be written more colloquially.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 5:03 PM
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His first book was unreadable

Do you mean, needed editing? Or drew implausible conclusions? Or was incoherent?

I'm kind of interested in the topic, but will look to a library first in any event.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 5:03 PM
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Sorry, I meant Off the Books. It wasn't the lack of a colloquial style that put me off, though.


Posted by: Amber | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 5:05 PM
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JM, I think you might be trying too hard. Why can't you be more like Sudhir?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 5:08 PM
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Alternate 13: JM is the Maureen Dowd of sociology commentary.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 5:10 PM
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It is not written in American English (which is completely understandable, given his biography) and the prose has a peculiarly stilted quality. This is not to disparage his research, of course; it simply made the book difficult to read. A good editor might have been able to polish it up. The substance of it was fascinating, and his conclusions plausible, which made the style even more frustrating.


Posted by: Amber | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 5:12 PM
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Oh, stilted, okay. That makes sense, and could be tolerable, especially being forewarned. Thanks.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 5:15 PM
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It is not written in American English

On average, I find this is not a bit thing. But I don't know the particular book.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 5:19 PM
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not written in American English (which is completely understandable, given his biography)

Didn't he grow up in California, you East Coastist?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 5:19 PM
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9: Sure, why not?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 5:21 PM
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East Coastist

Now that is a badge to be worn proudly.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 5:21 PM
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Saying Off the Books is unreadable sounds bizarre to me. It's more readable than any popularization of science book except the ones that are so dumbed-down that they amount to alarmist nonsense. There are plenty of would-be mass-market books by sociologists that I failed to read because of their laboriously boring density of content, but not that one.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 6:09 PM
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You know, Sudhir is great and his work is too, but if he's a rogue sociologist I am the Queen of Romania.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 7:05 PM
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If you're Queen of Romania then you ought to be cleaning up Bucharest, because those empty Communist apartment blocks and old bullet holes in everything are kind of depressing.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 7:09 PM
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The Wire isn't that good! Why, there's a whole scene where they forgot to write dialogue so all the actors could say was "Fuck!"


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 7:53 PM
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if he's a rogue sociologist

Isn't that just a marketing ploy? It doesn't mean "rogue" in any traditionally used sense of the word. It's like calling the Freakonomics guy a rogue economist. It's an edgy word for people whose definition of normal is really, really narrow. It doesn't take much to be "rogue" in that context.

At least, that's what I tell myself as I despair about the degredation and impoverishment of my native tongue. Rogue, indeed.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 8:05 PM
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The Queen of Romania had something to do with a Rodin museum in Oregon. Ask Jesus for more information about this.

I used to know one of the Habsburgs in Portland. He had the famous jaw. His family had had a palace in Dalmatia, but had given up on recovering it.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 8:06 PM
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Whereas I, in fact, am one rogue motherfucker. Not like those weenie shits.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 8:07 PM
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In point of fact, 27 is true. Or at least an Emersonian figure is what I was imagine were I to discuss "rogue" members of a profession or field of study.

Come to think of it, rogue gets misued the other way around too, as in rogue nuclear states. Ha ha, aren't they roguish and cute with their little plutonium toys.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 8:16 PM
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What I would imagine.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 8:17 PM
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He was born in India. Again, there are no problems with the content.

I think my hatred of NYC and Boston and deep desire to move back to California prevent me from being a true East Coastist.

The 19th c. castles outside Bucharest are quite charming.


Posted by: Amber | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 8:21 PM
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Whereas I, in fact, am one rogue motherfucker. Not like those weenie shits.

Emerson is Raffles, the Gentleman Thug.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 8:25 PM
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He was born in India.

And I was born in Iran. Keep digging!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 8:30 PM
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All I can say is that the entire time I read it, I was reminded of term papers I helped friends with in college: friends who were not native English speakers. My standards for prose are pretty low, as I deaden my palate with tons of bad genre fiction.


Posted by: Amber | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 8:34 PM
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Isn't that just a marketing ploy?

Of course it is! It's just an irritating one.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 8:36 PM
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Effete darkish sorts tend to be gangsta wannabes.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 8:39 PM
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Do you really find this pleasant?

On that December 2003 morning, a week after Big Cat's death, Marlene Matteson sat with her thoughts and with a dozen other residents of the community in the back room of the Maquis Park Prayer and Revival Center, a small storefront church on Indiana Avenue in Chicago's historic Southside black community. She was not the only person in the room struggling to make sense of Big Cat's death. The others in attendance were unlikely to express great sadness for a gang leader who pedaled drugs and brought violence and instability to the neighborhood; but they, too, were touched by sadness, anger, and an uncertainty about what lay ahead.


Posted by: Amber | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 8:41 PM
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Let's admit it, Ogged: you've never even heard of things like Family Circus and Calvin and Hobbes. A poster boy for the acculturated foreigner, you're not.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 8:45 PM
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I just don't like the funnies, or whatever it is you honkies call them.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 8:48 PM
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The worst episode of Star Trek, in any of its incarnations, was about a space rogue.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 8:52 PM
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No one likes Family Circus. But we know it exists.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 8:54 PM
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But I don't like the funnies at all, so I don't know about any particular one. If American means of peasant stock with lowbrow tastes, then I suppose that no, I'm not much of an American.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 8:56 PM
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Plenty of Americans are snotty yuppies. But even they know about Family Circus.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 8:59 PM
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Because of their lowbrow peasant parents.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 9:01 PM
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Who subscribed to newspapers when they were children, yes, like most responsible citizens.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 9:03 PM
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And, like typical half-assed Americans, didn't point the kids to the real news.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 9:05 PM
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Don't Iranians chew qat and bugger each other instead of reading newspapers?

Cultural differences, folks! Inclusiveness! Tolerance!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 9:05 PM
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In the early stages of reading, children read the funnies, because the pictures aid comprehension, you see. They move on to the hard news by about second grade.

At least if they're my kid they do. The other kids in PK's class, don't even ask.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 9:08 PM
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children read the funnies, because the pictures aid comprehension

I'm an only child, so I didn't have any siblings with learning disabilities; I see that I've been unduly harsh. My apologies.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 9:11 PM
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I see. So you moved from learning the alphabet to full-on monographs, did you? Not only are you patrician, you're clearly a prodigy. Who knew?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 9:15 PM
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You could have asked.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 9:16 PM
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It's simply beyond my imagination to conceive of such superlative genius.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 9:17 PM
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It's simply beyond my imagination to conceive of such superlative genius.

I stagger, heartbroken.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 9:22 PM
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ogged broke the magnifying glass burning caterpillars, and then the newsprint was too fine for his inferior foreign eyes. He's just being defensive, B.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 9:22 PM
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Standpipe!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 9:23 PM
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The Queen of Romania had something to do with a Rodin museum in Oregon

Maryhill, in eastern Washington. The Queen was a friend of Sam Hill, who built it as a mansion, and she persuaded him to turn it into a museum. Along with the Rodins, it includes collections of chess sets and Russian icons, plus a replica of Stonehenge. Odd place.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 9:24 PM
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A Family Circus you will love.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 9:36 PM
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If Gonerill is the Queen of Romania, today must be Thursday.


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 9:39 PM
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From Di's link above: This one should definitely be posted in the likeability thread.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 9:52 PM
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Man, I linked to the Freakonomics post yesterday.

But let me say, having finished Season 2 of The Wire, it's not as good as Season 1. Some thoughts (with minimal spoilers):

(1) The actor playing Frank Sabotka is terrible. He has one facial expression and one tone of voice: Angry. Maybe two, if you count loud angry and quiet angry as different.

(2) The actor playing Ziggy is also no great shakes, although part of that is due to the ham-fisted way the character is written. (I'm comic relief for the dockworkers! I want to make a name for myself! I'm unpredictable and unreliable!) He's the poor man's Edward Norton as Worm in Rounders, but more gimmicky, less subtle, and less believable.

(3) The Brother Mouzone character is presented as the ultimate badass, a man no one dares try to kill. But this isn't the Wild West, with face-to-face quick-draw challenges in the streets. Why should it be any harder to pop a cap in Mouzone than it is in the next guy? Mouzone going up against Omar is presented as some kind of awesome clash of the titans, but it's really not clear what special skills or abilities either of these men has that makes him so deadly and feared relative to his peers. With Mouzone, the show took a turn away from gritty realism into myth and legend.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 12:12 AM
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Quiet around here, isn't it?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 12:13 AM
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not as good as Season 1

Season 3 is better than both.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 12:14 AM
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Way to manage my expectations.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 12:14 AM
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Geez, Apo -- I'm working late, and GB's in Japan. What's your excuse?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 12:15 AM
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Season 3 is better than both.

So I've been told, and I'm about to start it (as soon as I watch Shortbus, damn you, mineshaft). I actually thought season 2 picked up a lot for the last three or so episodes, when I saw all the pieces falling in.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 12:17 AM
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Also: Is that really what dock management software would look like on-screen? A picture of a ship with all the little containers on it, and when you unload a container, you see an animation of it going onto a truck?

If so, how can a two-dimensional picture display all the containers stacked in three dimensions on a ship?

I don't think this is nitpicking, since the software is such a big plot point.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 12:21 AM
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Christ LB, still at work? So am I, but I'm on a grave shift.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 12:29 AM
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Yeah, I've got something I've been dawdling on, planning to do it in my usual last minute burst of energy, and the burst of energy never materialized, while the task turned out to be a whole lot more laborious than I thought. I said I'd have a draft ready for tomorrow morning, and it looks as if it might take me all night.

(Annoyingly, I've got a job interview tomorrow afternoon. It'll be interesting staying awake for it.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 12:32 AM
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(I don't deserve any sympathy on this one -- I had plenty of time to get it done ages ago.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 12:33 AM
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Yeah, regardless, good luck, LB. I'm sure you'll do swimmingly.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 12:49 AM
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...after all, you're swamped! {zing! pow! phhbbllt! splat! to bed.}


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 12:53 AM
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Elbie, my sympathies, and good vibes for the interview.

59, et al.: I just, not five minutes ago, finished Season 3. It is awesome, though I was also thinking about something very similar to one of GB's complaints while watching the last couple. Though I think there might be answers to it, if you're willing to read the show charitably.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 12:57 AM
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I'm about halfway through Season 4 right now.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 1:08 AM
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I watched the first three episodes of season 1, and then got busy with other stuff. But it really does seem to be unusually good.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 1:17 AM
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Good luck with the writing project, LB. And with the job interview tomorrow. Incidentally, because of the work that I do, I receive regular postings for union-side labor law jobs around the country, including the area that I surmise is your own. If you like, I can forward these postings to you.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 1:23 AM
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Huh. Yeah, anything for union side labor law in NYC I'd be very interested in, although I'm not sure how attractive a candidate I am.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 1:25 AM
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I'll forward them to your linked e-mail address when I receive them.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 1:29 AM
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At least, that's what I tell myself as I despair about the degredation and impoverishment of my native tongue.

Ah, swoon. Let us be true to one another. As Alasdair Roberts sings on "Where Twines the Path": I can only buckle and watch in horror and listen to our language lose its former grammar.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 2:10 AM
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re: 77

'course it's possible/probable the language he (Roberts) is singing about, isn't the one you speak.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 3:13 AM
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Best of luck at the interview.


Posted by: Napi | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 5:24 AM
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Nice to see Venkatesh getting in on some of that "Freakonomics" money...he was mostly responsible for one of the best pieces in that book, and he is much more of a "rogue" in his research than Steve Levitt ever was.


Posted by: Perfectly G.D. | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 11:03 AM
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78: I actually spent the first eight years of my life in Scotland.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 11:10 AM
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I made very similar complaints, GB. (There's a Season 3 spoiler in that post.)


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 11:10 AM
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I don't really get why The Wire has to live and die on realism (besides the fact that it completely anticipated the NSA wiretapping scandal in Season 3); I like the operatic melodrama of the large plot threads: clearly, on the actual street, showing a hint of regret or humanity does not necessarily mean you'll be dead inside of a week.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 11:25 AM
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Season 2 did seem bit odd, a bit of an outlier, but I still liked it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 11:26 AM
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It's totally unrealistic in some ways (hey, did a street character just use the exact same phrase someone in the mayor's office used last week?) but it's established certain parameters of realism in its depiction of the mechanics of various enterprises, and a superhero hitman from out of town doesn't seem to fall within those.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 11:28 AM
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Well, but Omar is similarly realistic, and from my (admittedly comically limited) exposure to people who might have reason to think about such things, "superhero hitman" does track pretty well with the rep Nation of Islam types have.

One thing I think they do a good job of is showing how thoroughly inept with guns most of the corner kids are, and how somebody with even minimal ability to hit a target consistently -- especially if they're calm about it -- is somebody to be feared.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 11:32 AM
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"simiarly unrealistic"

I remember reading something someplace years ago about how there was a big problem in [some inner city neighborhood or other] with stray rounds hitting people on the upper floors of high-rise buildings, since people were firing up between tall buildings as a form of target practice; if you have an illegal street gun it's not like you're going to have much interest in going to a gun range.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 11:33 AM
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Golly, I liked season two quite a bit, but I'm a sucker for (1) unions and (2) that straight-forward tragic structure. A piece of petty jealousy leads to death and misery.

Hey! That was iambic. Totally tragic.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 11:38 AM
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Omar is similarly realistic

Dunno. I've seen Simon say that he knew people in Omar's line of work who did survive, although obviously Omar has a lot of panache. Maybe Mouzzone is similar; I don't know. But the showdown at high noon thing was obviously not like any of the rest of the show. I'm willing to forgive them a bit of fun.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 11:43 AM
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Oh I dunno, I think dramatically it's often like that; the guy's a sucker for nifty mirroring.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 11:46 AM
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I'm 4 hours into Season 3 now, and I absolutely love how Stringer is trying to run his meetings according to Roberts' Rules of Order. The best line so far is when he (or was it Prop Joe?) says, after a successful boardroom-style meeting, "For a bunch of cold-ass gangstas, you all carried this shit like Republicans."


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 11:43 PM
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#82: Word. But seasons 1-3 all in a single week? You're hardcore.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 11:45 PM
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Also, I guess it's just a Wire in-joke that the theme song gets a little more messed-up and unlistenable with each season. By season 5, I expect them to be banging it out on plastic bucket bottoms with a cattle auctioneer as the lead singer.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 12:13 AM
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93: I do like season 1's theme song the best so far, but I'm only now getting ready for season 3 (with the theme song quite in-mind).


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 12:27 AM
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"quite in mind".


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 12:41 AM
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Adverbial, ben. Thanks for the fix.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 12:50 AM
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Adverbial schmadverbial, you fucking anarchist.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 12:56 AM
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84: "(besides the fact that it completely anticipated the NSA wiretapping scandal in Season 3"

How's that?

39 is utterly false. Fighting words!

Okona was a typically middling lame first season TNG, and not remotely the lamest episode of that season, let alone that show, let alone of all of Trek; there are dozens of far far far worse episodes.

For TNG first season, this was lots worse -- Jonathan Frakes rightfully called it "racist crap."

And no other Trek is as bad as this.

Okona wasn't even in the bottom third of Trek episodes, let alone of TNG first season. What a weirdly unusual opinion.

Not to mention that young Teri Hatcher was very fetching.

"and a superhero hitman from out of town doesn't seem to fall within those."

I'm pretty darn sure that superheroes don't get surprised in their bedroom while reading magazines and get shot, but not killed only due to mercy. WTF?


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 10:45 AM
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Oh, and if you're going to read about the terrors of "Threshold," be sure to read this accurate page 2 summary.


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 10:48 AM
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98: according to recent revelations (there was a boingboing link I pointed to on my blog, but my blog being down I can't get to it) the reason the NSA program "had to" sidestep the FISA reports was so that they could put taps on new numbers (probably disposable cell phones) based on who those people had been in contact with (the whole communities of interest thing). In other words, they were dealing exactly the same problem the Major Crime Unit was facing in Season 3.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 10:50 AM
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"the reason the NSA program 'had to' sidestep the FISA reports was so that they could put taps on new numbers"

That sounds not particularly correct to me. There were a number of reasons I can list as to why they did what they did, and those are just the known ones. Just saying there was a "the" reason is wrong.

The datamining is the primary reason, in any case. Comparing the Baltimore City poh-leese and the NSA in their eavesdropping is like comparing ConEd with some kid with ten feet of wrapped copper wire and a magnet. If all the NSA had to worry about were a few dozen cell phones changing every day, let alone every week, hell, they could keep up with three interns.

Saying that the NSA program "'had to' sidestep the FISA reports was so that they could put taps on new numbers" is saying what they said in the first place, overtly, to explain the program. The point was why they couldn't keep up with the 'new numbers." Which is that they were putting together all these second and third and fourth order connections, and wanting to keep expanding the linked set of taps.

But maybe the link you're thinking of makes more sense than this explanation. And if it were "a" reason, rather than "the" reason, most of my problems with the statement would disappear.

Can you still describe anything on The Poor Man as "recent"? What's up with the whole being down thing, anyway?


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 11:04 AM
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Randy Moss somehow killed it.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 11:07 AM
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102: I think it was because Belichick cheated. If it comes back it should be www.thepoorman*.net.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 11:20 AM
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It's because we are all sinners in the hands of an angry God, who feels very strongly we don't need another Patriot fanboy site.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 11:37 AM
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101: Here is the link from BoingBoing.

"datamining" in and of itself isn't that meaningful a term; the data mining that they were doing involved going through call records and using these "communities of interest" algorithms to pick up unknown numbers that quote-unquote terrorists were using and have them automatically tapped. I'm sure there was misuse and so on, but that's the fundamentals of the program that they initially used to claim the FISA court was unworkable: you couldn't get prior approval to tap given numbers, because you wouldn't know what numbers you were talking about until the algorithm had already picked them up and tapped them. You also couldn't go through the cell company, as would be typical, because you wouldn't have numbers to give them quickly enough, especially if "terrorists" were using phones for one-time communication.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 11:42 AM
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Anyhow we hashed this out three years ago, Gary. My only point is that the problem they were dealing with on The Wire -- of prepaid mobile phone being used for very short periods of time -- is exactly the problem that was given as the excuse for NSA sidestepping the FISA court, and the legal issues involved were spelled out pretty accurately in Season 3.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 11:46 AM
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