Pop Culture, Theory & Essay

My Pittsburgh Problem

From young Wallace’s bewilderment when venturing outside of the city and hearing crickets for the first time to Chris informing Snoop that people from outside of the Baltimore/D.C. area probably wouldn’t be very familiar with go-go music, a constant theme from the HBO series The Wire was how isolated inner city Baltimore’s inhabitants were from the rest of the world. Although — if the atlas application on my phone is correct — they’re neighbors with Towson, Essex, Silver Spring, and others, they might as well have been stuck on the island from Lost, aware of their star-crossed fate but completely unequipped, unable, and ultimately unwilling to change it.

No character embodied this mindset more than Old Face Andre — a mid-level dealer who happened to fall out of favor with the ruthless and reptilian drug kingpin Marlo Stanfield. In a subplot so sad and predictable that it’s actually funny, instead of just packing up and leaving town, Andre thinks that moving from West Baltimore to East Baltimore will save him from Marlo’s wrath.

He was wrong.

I’ve watched the full series (at least) three times. (I watched it “live,” and I’ve also re-watched the entire series with each of my last two girlfriends; at times even delaying sex to continue debates about Bodie Broadus’ motivations and Bill Rawls closet homosexuality.) I also developed an appetite for any and all things The Wire, engulfing and devouring every message board post, interview, article, profile, and conversation I could. At this point, I’d confidently bet a day’s pay that unless David Simon happens to be your cousin, you don’t know anyone who knows more about The Wire than I do.

I always assumed that my infatuation with The Wire was somewhat due to my unique personal background. While the show may have been a bit too real for some who grew up in similar circumstances and too foreign for those who lived galaxies away from that world, I grew up in a gang-infested East Liberty but was shielded from most real adversity by my (married) parents, my private school education, and my basketball. This combination of familiarity and distance allowed me to recognize some of the characters and themes while staying (relatively) emotionally detached from it. I had friends who grew up in households as toxic as the teenage characters on the show, but the fact that none of that stuff went on in my house made it easier for me to adopt a bit of a sober, deconstructionist view when watching and speaking about it.

But, as I’ve come to learn, this was all bullshit. It’s definitely still true that my upbringing protected me from harm and implanted a certain appreciation for many of the themes present in the series, but the connection I had with the show had nothing to do that. It came down to one hard to swallow fact: I am Old Face Andre.

While every single one of my closest childhood friends have left Pittsburgh for “greener” pastures, I’m still here; leaving only for college and returning as soon as my degree and my basketball eligibility had been completed. I wish I could say that I made the decision to come back because I had a plan, a promising job opportunity, or even a girl I was smitten with, but I’d be lying. In reality, I always considered it to be an inevitability; a concretized step on a pre-destined path. I came back because I just couldn’t fathom being anywhere else.

I imagine you think I’m being hyperbolic, that comparing myself to a drug dealer so short-sighted and ignorant that he basically chose certain death over leaving Baltimore is a stretch, and you’re probably be right. With a limited education and an extensive rap sheet, Old Face Andre’s options were limited by a series of decisions — decisions either made by him or completely out of his control. Maybe he wasn’t actually in prison, but he was far from free, and considering his circumstances, moving to East Baltimore may have actually been his most feasible choice.

But while my situation is far from as dire as Andre’s, I can’t help but note the similarities between us. My choice to blog/write/edit full-time gives me real incentive to leave Pittsburgh, as most of the career-making new media opportunities that would best suit the type of work I do are found in New York City and Washington, D.C. Yes, it’s true that I don’t necessarily have to leave the Burgh to build the career I want to build, but staying would be like to deciding to walk to Cincinnati the next time I visit my family there. Sure, it can be done, but driving or flying (or, well, not going to Cincinnati at all) would probably be a better plan.

Mind you, this is no anti-Pittsburgh rant. While the tone of the last couple paragraphs may have implied that I think I’m somehow “better” than the Burgh, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, the city is undoubtedly better than me — talented, unpretentious, unflappable, and blessed with understated beauty. If the Burgh was a random babe at The Shadow Lounge or Savoy, she’d be out of my league, and I’d probably have a better chance with one of her less attractive cousins (Cleveland) or her extremely glamorous and extremely self-esteem deficient co-worker (Atlanta).

It’s just that…I don’t know. I don’t know what’s keeping me here. I don’t know why I didn’t even consider staying in Buffalo when done with school. I don’t know why I feel like I need to somehow be validated by Pittsburgh, like being successful somewhere else just wouldn’t matter the same way. I don’t know why this city means so gotdamn much to me, and I don’t even know if I want this feeling to change.

Despite my love for “The Wire,” I’ve always been ambivalent about Old Face Andre’s last appearance on screen. Captured by Marlo’s henchman and destined for certain death, he asks his soon to be murderers not to shoot him in the face so that he can have an open casket funeral. The request itself isn’t what stirs the ambivalence, though, as much as the tone he used when asking. He pleas the same merry familiarity that a person would adopt when asking the kid working the register at Giant Eagle to double bag his groceries. Not only is he completely resigned to his fate, it seems like he’s almost welcoming it; like he knows he doesn’t matter enough to even attempt to fight for his life.

I never quite felt that this particular scene worked as well as the rest of the show. I just couldn’t buy that a man in that situation would still be so casual, so jocular. But, perhaps he was just tired. Tired of living in fear. Tired of being haunted by Baltimore. Tired of the pathos. Tired of the self-imposed shackles. Tired of allowing himself to be manipulated by nostalgia. And perhaps his subconscious recognized that he was just ready for a change; something…anything not Baltimore.

If this is true, I understand.

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

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Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a contributing editor for EBONY.com. He resides in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes.

  • Krista

    I honestly don’t think The Wire was all that great.
    -flees-

    • Lady C

      You just didn’t see an episode with Omar in it, that’s all- completely enthralled with him! Reasons to watch:
      1. Excellent plotline, the characters make sense
      2. Weebey and Stringer hotness!

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5FR1LGsT7E TheAnti-Cool

      I’ve never even seen one full episode. And I don’t think Idris Elba is all that hot. Top that.

      • Imperfect

        “…And I don’t think Idris Elba is all that hot.”

        Blasphemy

        • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5FR1LGsT7E TheAnti-Cool

          He gets points for the accent but that’s it for me. Ole odd-shaped head ninja…Y’all can have him.

          • Iceprincess

            Idris elba is fine as sh*t! Period. Sexual chocolate at its best. Yuuuum!

            • miss t-lee

              Agreed.

            • Leila

              +1

        • Keisha

          +10000 He is the pure definition of sexy!

        • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5FR1LGsT7E TheAnti-Cool

          Well dang. I said y’all can have him. I don’t think he’s completely unattractive, he’s just not attractive to me.

          No need to take up the torches and pitchforks on my account.

          • http://wildcougarconfessions.co Wild Cougar

            I don’t get what the big deal about him is either. But I’m not attracted to old dudes who look like my uncle.

            • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5FR1LGsT7E TheAnti-Cool

              Ha.

      • DQ

        Top it? I can do that.

        I will see your “Haven’t Watched a Single Full Episode of the Wire” and raise you
        “I didn’t see the Color Purple until 2002, and only because I was forced”
        “I don’t think Love Jones is all that great of a movie”

        For those of you who would now like to fight me for my black card I would like to point out that I have been racially profiled, pulled over for DWB, enjoy fried chicken unabashedly, gave to the United Negro College Fund (though for some reason I’ve never actually met anyone that’s ever received a scholarship from them) and I campaigned for Obama in 2008… so we’re good right?

        • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5FR1LGsT7E TheAnti-Cool

          I am in no position whatsoever to fight anyone for their black card. And I can take or leave Love Jones except for the soundtrack. I still listen to that.

          But I will give you Celie Fangas for having to be forced to watch The Color Purple. I cannot count how many times I’ve seen that movie. It’s definitely in my top five.

          • Breezy

            Anti-cool and DQ…SAY WHAT?!?!??!
            Love Jones is all that.

            • Deviant

              Were they out of chips?

        • http://twitter.com/kjnetic King Jordan

          “I will see your “Haven’t Watched a Single Full Episode of the Wire” and raise you
          “I didn’t see the Color Purple until 2002, and only because I was forced”
          “I don’t think Love Jones is all that great of a movie””

          i see your:
          -haven’t watched an ep of the Wire
          -haven’t watched or read the Color Purple
          and i raise you…
          -watched bits and pieces of Love Jones (probably when it was on cable, flipping between that and MTV)

          lol. for what it’s worth, i have seen the Color Purple on Broadway, but not because i wanted to

          • DQ

            Yeah, that black card will be null and void before the day is over behind this. You better start quoting some Tupac lyrics or something.

            • http://twitter.com/kjnetic King Jordan

              tupac? what’s that, you mean Tupac Farakhann?

              *adds “has no Tupac cds, and maybe 2 Tupac mp3s in his library”*

        • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5FR1LGsT7E TheAnti-Cool

          See…Now I have to feel superior to everyone that hasn’t seen the Color Purple willingly and loved it from start to finish. Also, you are all racists. Sorry.

          • DQ

            I’ve seen Purple Rain. That’s close enough isn’t it?

            • rpp1986

              I lol’d . I love The Wire; hated the Colour Purple; have no intention nor need to see Love Jones and saw bits and pieces of Purple Rain.

              • DQ

                Wait a minute… you ain’t seen Purple Rain all the way through?

                Black card… hand it over.

            • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5FR1LGsT7E TheAnti-Cool

              I don’t want to have to do this but y’all are leaving me no choice.

              (flashes badge I made out of construction paper and glitter to make a citizens arrest)

              It’s for your own good so just come along quietly.

              • DQ

                Arrest? But I am black. I really am. Just the other day someone asked me at what college did I play football…

                http://gifs.gifbin.com/sw50sw8sw578.gif

                • MJoy

                  I would respond more to this post but I just can’t engage with people who don’t unequivocally LOVE The Color Purple, Purple Rain, and Love Jones. What is happening in the world??? All my life I had to fight!!!!!!!!!!!! You guys are crazy.

                  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5FR1LGsT7E TheAnti-Cool

                    Lmao!

                  • Breezy

                    LMBO!!!

        • Justmetheguy

          @DQ- I can top that my friend. I didn’t see Color Purple till LAST YEAR HA! I win

          I also thought Love Jones was mediocre at best. More of a chick flick that reminded women that they could fall in love with a black guy that was a “Renaissance Man” and gave them more expectations (which almost always lead to letdowns) smdh

          Also, not only have I not seen The Wire, but most of the underground artists they talk about on here don’t do much for me (Common, Talib, Lupe etc;) and I think the term “conspiracy theorist” is intellectually lazy and purposefully ambiguous. It sounds just as ridiculous as “the liberal media” imo #shruglife

          Oh yeah, and I voted for McCain…sike lol, I would never vote for a president that looks like a Q-tip, c’mon son lol

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5FR1LGsT7E TheAnti-Cool

            Sooo…I guess you just didn’t catch enough sht yesterday huh? lol

            • DQ

              You must not have either. Running around here as a woman denying that you love Idris Elba? Iz u crazee?

              • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5FR1LGsT7E TheAnti-Cool

                I’m a woman. So of course I’m crazy. Just not for Idris.

            • Justmetheguy

              @The Anti-Cool- Either I’m a masochist or you’re rubbing off on me ;) I think it’s both lol

              • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5FR1LGsT7E TheAnti-Cool

                I just love being a bad influence. lol

          • DQ

            You saw the Color Purple in the pseudo-post racial America brought on by Barack Obama’s election. And though this in itself has nothing to do with anything, I’m gonna go ahead and say My Late Color Purple View >>> Your Late Color Purple View based on it’s post racial-ness

            BTW I think “conspiracy theorems” are lazy attempts at analysis minus facts so you might actually be cool despite your post racial Color Purple viewing.

            • Justmetheguy

              lol @ Post Racial- That’s another laughable term. I love the movie Friday though and cringe at the thought of Tyler Perry movies, does that earn me any credibility back? lol

              Oh yeah, and I loooooove fried chicken, multiple flavors of kool-aid, and last but not least A$$ A$$ A$$ A$$ A$$ A$$….STOP (not too crazy about the song though lol) And I love Waka Flaka’s hit singles on weekend nights. Hopefully I’ve built up some negro equity now….lol

              • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5FR1LGsT7E TheAnti-Cool

                Friday is a classic. And you know this maaaaaaaaan.

                But I have hated that @ss song ever since I caught my five year old singing it as it played in the shop where he was getting his hair cut.

                Wait…Waka Flocka SquareHips has hit singles? Plural?

                • Justmetheguy

                  lol @ your 5 year old singing it, that makes me love it even more lol

                  Flaka has club hits imo. No Hands and Round of Applause (even O Leh Do It was a hit to me) #shruglife

                  Maybe I’m biased cause that fool looks like my lil brother lol

          • MJoy

            Damn… you’re kinda right. But I know my renaissance man will come! lol. Don’t sell the brothas short now.

          • The Law

            I believe I trump all:

            -Never saw Color Purple
            -Never saw The Wire
            -The best part of Love Jones was Nia’s Nipples (Yes, they deserve to be capitalized)
            -Don’t really like Tupac
            -Don’t really get into the underground cats

            BOOM!

            • The Law

              But I can recite lines from Coming to America on demand, so I get to keep my card, oui?

              • Justmetheguy

                @ The Law- Nope. Don’t pass go, go straight to jail after you hand over that black card lol. I would’ve let you slide until you said the whole don’t like Tupac thing. And Coming to America is more of an African classic than a black American one, so nope…won’t cut it lol

            • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5FR1LGsT7E TheAnti-Cool

              Wow. You win the thread but you lose your card.

              (plugs up the shredder)

          • BlueMoonDaughter

            can you please name 1 Black movie/show that you like? …and not a comedy please.
            A drama. One with some merit or meaning…

        • Royale W. Cheese

          Feeling you re: Love Jones. I think that’s when I started really hating spoken word.

      • http://www.todisspits.blogspot.com MicTheMessenger

        Chris and Snoop murking ninjas in the vacants.

        Watching the Wire, it actually felt good to see some bad guys win. In fact, they did such a good job of blurring the line of good/bad, i found myself cheering for people i probably wouldn’t in real life.

        • rpp1986

          That is why I really love the wire. There is no BAD guy and no GOOD guy. Everyone has flaws, like we all do in real life. It was good.

          • http://www.styleillusions.com WIP

            I’d have to disagree. There were some very bad guys.

            • http://www.todisspits.blogspot.com MicTheMessenger

              I think Marlo was crooked, but in the end i realized two things:

              A) It was almost ALWAYS business with him. He was as cut throat as any CEO on Wall street.
              B) In the series finale, when he bailed on that party, and jacked two dudes of their corner, i realized hustlin was in his BLOOD. It was his way of life, the thing that he’d be doing above anything else.

              Most of the politicians were more crooked than anybody. SHHHHHHHHHHIIIIEEEEETTTT.

              • http://uphereoncloud9.wordpress.com Wu Young, Agent of M.E.

                Marlo came off as pure dee evil. If they would have shown a scene with him sleeping in a coffin and having a skype session with Dick Chaney it would have worked.

              • http://www.styleillusions.com WIP

                Most of the characters were likeable. But at the end of the day, drug-dealing murderers using kids as protection are always going to be the bad guys. I didn’t find that line blurry at all, LOL.

                • Justmetheguy

                  @ WIP- I’m tryna ignore most of the posts about the wire since I still plan to watch it, but I couldn’t help but notice you saying that drug dealing murderers that use kids as shields were bad guys (I agree with that), but it’s just yet another example about how context can blur certain lines. Using a kid as a shield is NEVER understandable or acceptable, but drug dealing and murdering? While not desirable, and we should strive to avoid being either of those…eh, sometimes I can understand, and don’t find them that much worse than the average Joe or Jane lying and manipulating ppl to get what they want #shruglife

                  • http://www.styleillusions.com WIP

                    Theoretically, I agree because I believe in the Bible and sin is sin. In practice, I’d rather be lied to than shot. But that’s just me. :)

                    • Justmetheguy

                      hahaha! Nah, I don’t think those crimes are equal (part of the reason I’m not a Bible loyalist) but I do think that certain circumstances do make murder understandable (still wrong though). Good one tho lol

        • http://uphereoncloud9.wordpress.com Wu Young, Agent of M.E.

          Omar was actually the only cop or criminal that never strayed from his moral code. In my book anyway.

      • http://challyshares.tumblr.com Nei Jae

        Hmmm, how about this:

        - never watched a single episode of The Wire
        - never saw any parts of Love Jones
        - heard good things about the Love Jones soundtrack, but can’t name one song on it off the top of my head
        - thinks the show, Martin, was/is a waste of time
        - don’t eat hot sauce or any food with a synonym for hot in it
        - don’t eat foods that has body parts in it’s name (ie leg, tail, neck, back)
        - don’t know the lyrics of not one full rap song
        - just found out THIS YEAR who Eric B and Rakim are
        - heard Bonita Applebaum for the first time a few months ago.

        i could go on and on, but I at least want to keep my invitation to the family reunion…
        *sets card on coffee table and leaves*

        • http://www.styleillusions.com WIP

          Ma’am you have clearly violated the handbook. Your membership is hereby suspended.

          • http://challyshares.tumblr.com Nei Jae

            but my ability to put on a one woman Color Purple show playing all characters simultaneously should at least bump that up to probation, right?

            no?

            sigh….

        • Deviant

          *dials the Drop Squad*

          • http://challyshares.tumblr.com Nei Jae

            HANG UP THAT PHONE!!!

        • Justmetheguy

          @Nei Jae- Actually none of those were really that bad except the parts about the food you don’t eat. That’s might’ve sent you over the edge smh lol

          • http://challyshares.tumblr.com Nei Jae

            i kinda figured that :-/

        • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5FR1LGsT7E TheAnti-Cool

          Not even the early Martin though? I think I’m gonna cry.

        • dabigpodina

          WHATS WRONG WITH YOU?!

    • Manny

      I struggled through the second season, it was kind of boring.

    • http://wewereninjas.wordpress.com Jay

      My girl LOVES Law & Order. When The Wire was still airing we would constantly argue because I was always shitting on Law & Order. She still hasn’t watched more than 3 episodes of The Wire and doesn’t understand its appeal yet. Name one show… ANY genre that gives viewers the same amount of in depth attention to detail and great storytelling on both sides of the coin. There are no so called “good” guys and “bad” guys on The Wire. There is only life, reality, and cause and effect. Law & Order is one-sided… ALL shows are one-sided they are like “these are the good guys, root for them, and these are the bad guys.”

      • http://www.todisspits.blogspot.com MicTheMessenger

        +1

      • Bukky

        +1
        So well said.

      • Justmetheguy

        @Jay- I hear ya big dawg. I really do. But isn’t it possible to like The Wire AND Law and Order. Law and Order is a good show, especially considering it’s on cable and thus limited in what it can do. I do understand your point about it being the only show that shows both points of view. That alone is enough to make me wanna see it, because I’m big on creativity and innovation (most Leos are I guess). The best thing about me still not having seen it is that once I do watch it the ninjas that have seen it love it so much that they’ll be itching to talk to me about it, why it was so awesome, all the intricacies and subtle sh*t I might not have noticed etc; so it’s not like there’s an expiration date on it lol

        • BlueMoonDaughter

          “…law and order is a good show…”
          lol..Oh. I see why you don’t like The Wire now. You prefer predictable, cookie-cutter, mind-numbing shows & actually don’t know what a “good” show, movie, script is.

          .

    • Keisha

      WHAT?!?!?!? You should be tarred and feathered!!!

    • Justmetheguy

      @ Krista- Wow, now that is something that I really NEVER hear. I know there are others who either have never seen it but plan to see it, or have never seen a full episode but still may try to find time to catch up at some point (whether enthused about the heavy tone or not) but the people who watched it but didn’t think it was that good are few and far between. I would ask you why you didn’t like it, but it aint like I would have any points of reference to know what the h*ll you were talkin about anyway lol

      • http://www.styleillusions.com WIP

        Every episode isn’t enthralling, but overall it’s great TV. Some of it is pretty violent. The careless violence is distressing; almost intolerable where you don’t want to see anymore (speaking as someone who watched several episodes at a time).

        • http://wildcougarconfessions.co Wild Cougar

          This, I cannot get past the gratuitousness of it. Watched part of one episode and decided to pass. So much unnecessary evil.

        • http://uphereoncloud9.wordpress.com Wu Young, Agent of M.E.

          It wouldn’t have been the same without the violence. I read an article with David Simon speaking on the violence and he stated clearly that the level of violence was high to illustrate A) How much sociopathy is involved through the generations. The Greeks were ultra violent to start with. Avon, Stringer, and the older dealers used violence when needed. The younger dealers like Marlo used violence in such a wanton manner that it was just pointless. (Compare the ref at the basketball game who got punked by Avon who was just chewed out. CompareTthat to the security guard’s murder. ) B) Some points of authentic. His partner was a former cop who backed him on this.

          • http://wildcougarconfessions.co Wild Cougar

            Yeah, maybe, but I cannot deal. I don’t watch horror movies or cop shows for the same reason. Never got desensitized.

          • Eddie_Brock

            Maybe Simon included it out of necessity just to honestly portray what life is really like in “Bodymore”. When I lived there briefly, folks were getting killed and then having their bodies dumped in apartment complex dumpsters and set on fire to destroy the evidence. Turn on the news and I’d just be horrified. Going to bed hearing gunshots echoing was something I eventually learned to block out, which also disturbs me.
            And Champ, if you’re not happy in the ‘Burgh you’d pretty much hate Buffalo. I was born there and couldn’t wait to escape to a warmer climate with a better economy.

            • Justmetheguy

              @Eddie Brock- D*mn, that’s some wild sh*t man. Knowing there were burned bodies in the dumpster within a 20 mile radius of me would change my whole outlook on life. Glad you made it out.

              And you made the point I meant to make after reading this. This dude’s only city to compare to Pitt was Buffalo and he’s wondering why he moved back? Really? lol, who even visits Buffalo let alone moves there to actually live?! Even white folks don’t like it there lol

    • BlueMoonDaughter

      don’t think the wire was all that great?!? wth …
      The Wire is one of the best written, thought provoking, multi-layered and multi-deminsional dramas >>> EVER! The only show to illustrate – in detail – how the corrupt justice & political systems play a supporting/sister role in America’s issues of crime, violence, murder rate.. How & why the public school system is a crumbling and relic disaster… But you would have to watch more than 1 episode to be aware or appreciate all of these things.

      simply the Best! storyline and character development any tv show has ever had.
      …but I guess someone who lists Friday as one of their favorite movies wouldn’t know anything about story arch, in-depth/fleshed out characters, or a good socially & politically relevant script.

  • The Other Jerome

    I dig. After i graduated from school and came home to Detroit, i felt the same way…….. Until i visited Cali. Now that I’m here, i aint going back bro; unless the “big one” hits that is.

  • http://ccooper929.wordpress.com/ Chad C.

    As much as I love the culture, food, music, ladies, & sports that LA has, I can’t wait to leave the state and live in another location.

    The weird thing is, after getting my BA in Sociology-(criminology concentration-history minor), my three grad schools that I applied to are Southeastern Louisiana (Hammond), Mississippi State University, and Texas A&M University.

    I guess not too far away from home (at least driving distance). But I can’t wait to leave and enter a sociology graduate program

    …In other news, can we get some NBA analysis… #hornets/kingsfan

    • CNotes

      “As much as I love the culture, food, music, ladies, & sports that LA has, I can’t wait to leave the state and live in another location.”

      I left in 2001 and never looked back. : ) I think I appreciate Louisiana more because I don’t live there anymore. Oh, and hopefully you know how to cook, because you will not find food like ours ANYWHERE.

      • Justmetheguy

        CNotes- thanks for clearing that up. I definitely thought Los Angeles when I saw LA. I forget that also means Louisiana lol, I was a lil confused, but I was just gonna let it ride lol

        • CNotes

          LOL!!
          Technically, we are supposed to spell it La. instead of LA to show the distinction. But, you know we lazy. : )

      • Shelby

        +1 on the food. I take vacations just to go back to LA to eat.

      • http://ccooper929.wordpress.com/ Chad C.

        I’m glad I can cook. Whenever I’ll make the move, I have to remember to bring an extra set of luggage for all of my unique spices and seasonings.

        • Shelby

          It’s not even about being able to cook, though. The ingredients?! Not a lot of places even have crawfish tails (unless they’re frozen and from Taiwan or someplace). There are just some things you can’t find outside of da boot.

          But, it’s cool. Just get someone to FedEx you some things periodically. LOL

          • CNotes

            “Just get someone to FedEx you some things periodically”

            Exactly what I do. LOL!

  • http://iamyourpeople.com/ I Am Your People

    Am I the only one who has never seen The Wire? *sits in lonely corner*

    • http://ccooper929.wordpress.com/ Chad C.

      *pulls up another chair in the corner* Sadly, neither have I.

      Adding this series to things I need to watch when I buy a DVD player w/ recording capability

    • http://www.yourchildsmother.blogspot.com KMN

      I’ve never seen it either…so you are not alone

      #MJJ

      But I do want to see it…everyone i’ve ever talked to about the show are in lust with it…

      KMN

    • naturalista88

      No you aren’t *joins the group*.

    • lotusflower11

      Never seen it either. The club is getting bigger!

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5FR1LGsT7E TheAnti-Cool

      Nope. You truly are my people.

    • http://www.testorshia.blogspot.com Tes

      *pulls up a beanbag chair*
      So…is this a support group or just…? o.O

      • naturalista88

        I think this is where we sit so as to not be viciously side-eyed by The Wire enthusiasts *lol*.

        • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5FR1LGsT7E TheAnti-Cool

          Psh. Ain’t nobody worried about them.

          (hides behind you and Tes for no particular reason)

          • Ray

            Any extra seats for me? I haven’t seen it either.

            I will one up you guys and say I had no idea Idriss Elba was a cast member… sorry “The Wire” fans.

            • Ray

              Truth is, I didn’t watch it cos I didn’t have no damn HBO.

              Basic cable only, sigh.

            • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5FR1LGsT7E TheAnti-Cool

              Always room for one more.

              And thought that Idris WAS The Wire the way some folks talk.

    • Chanelle

      I’ve never seen this show so I will be joining you all in this corner. The sad part is it seems like a show I would be interested in but I just haven’t gotten around to watching. I’ve also never heard anyone mention this show IRL .
      We will receive these responses from the wire enthusiasts – Someone will tell us to do better (a bougie chick i suppose) and PJ will tell us he feels sorry for our mothers…actually champ might say that too.

    • Hawaii

      NO! And I can’t help but wonder if Champ has spoiled it for me??
      I imagine that I’ll watch it some day… with someone… I really like.

    • Royale W. Cheese

      I haven’t seen it either.

      • Iceprincess

        Mane yall tripn! Yall didnt used 2 watch the wire? How old are u guys? Wire wuz that sh*t. It came on during the same era as sopranos, weeds, sex & the city. Those were the best times for tv shows, i swear. Now all we hav is boardwalk empire….

        • Justmetheguy

          @ IcePrincess- I’m somewhat of a youngin, so when it came on I was still in high school and my mom REFUSED to pay for premium channels. It’s not like I just decided not to tune in…plus I didn’t realize that I insulted so many ppl by not having watched it til I moved up North for college (them country mofos I went to high school wit aint have HBO neither) and kept hearing everyone talk about how ridiculous it was to have never seen the show…#shruglife

          • Iceprincess

            Lmao! Welp!

          • Nerd Girl

            I was also in HS when the show began, but then in undergrad nearly every guy I dated was attached to the wire by the hip. When I FINALLY got around to watching it, I gave birth to a much coveted set of the complete series (+ added footage, yeahhhhh) on DVD.

            ***walks over to nurse dem ‘babies’***

        • Royale W. Cheese

          That was during my divorce from TV. After reality shows blew up, I kind of threw the baby out with the bath water and stopped watching TV altogether…and ended up missing some really good series. I’m still not that much of a TV watcher.

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5FR1LGsT7E TheAnti-Cool

            This is me.

        • http://twitter.com/kjnetic King Jordan

          30-ish.

          then again, i was never big on HBO/Showtime etc, so any series on those stations, i missed.

          however i did catch Don Cheadle’s new series at my homie’s house, i’ll probably “follow” (and by follow i’ll find ways to watch that i won’t mention here, lol) that series

    • nillalatte

      My name is nillalatte and I’m an alcoholic. Oops… wrong meeting. I mean I have never seen The Wire (opens bottle in brown paper bag and starts drinking).

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5FR1LGsT7E TheAnti-Cool

        Finally! Someone brought refreshments.

        (grabs bottle and takes a swig without even asking what it is)

        Been a rough week.

        • Royale W. Cheese

          lol @ refreshments.

      • Justmetheguy

        @Nillalette- Pass them chips! And at least you have an acceptable excuse, you’re white! lol, me on the other hand get nothing but looks of disgust and harsh judgments smh (because everyone keeps shaking theirs at me) :(

        • Deviant

          Being a lighter shade of brown is not an excuse.

    • Angel Baby

      Okay I’m not alone. :)

    • http://GenevaGirl.net Geneva Girl

      I’ve never seen an episode mainly because the men around me, my husband and father, were obsessed with it. It’s a weird excuse, but I just couldn’t handle their constant conversations about it. I’d actually love to watch it, we actually own it, but I know that hubby will not allow me watch it in peace. He’d go, “Let me pause this and explain what happens next.” He’d pepper with me with questions to make sure that I understood what was going on. He’d regale me with why he loves that particular scene. I would then have to kill him. It’s safer that I just don’t watch it.

    • http://runningwithhumans.blogspot.com/ dimaati

      I too haven’t seen The Wire. But it’s 247-258 in my Netflix queue so I’ll see…eventual.

      • Breezy

        Hi my name is Breezy and I have never seen the wire.

        *drags recliner to the corner*

      • dabigpodina

        I IMMEDIATELY WENT TO Netflix to find it….not there :( wonder if netflix has different shows available in different regions…Its a conspiracy to keep N & S negros apart.

    • Chanelle

      Its gettin a lil crowded in this corner lol

    • Justmetheguy

      @I Am Your People- NO you’re NOT! I have NEVER seen a full episode, and I feel overwhelmed by how many hours worth of watching I’ll have to do to be with the in crowd! We folks who live under a rock, or didn’t have HBO while the series aired need a support group so we won’t get hit with too many stones! Btw, you might’ve had the best comment of all yesterday lol. I think I’m about to go try to find that dolphin gettin brain clip (I wonder if that dolphin knew he was participating in homo sex?) lmao

      Also, as good as I hear the show is and as much as I do want to watch it (like all of it) I REFUSE to pay to see ANY d*mn thing these days so until someone lets me borrow the DVD set or shows me how to stream it online for free, I’ll be in this corner with the other 6-10 ninjas claiming to be part of the marginalized few negroes who have never seen this show. Hopefully we can appeal if our black cards are taken lol

      • Justmetheguy

        Posted this comment before I saw how many ninjas had already replied to IAYP. That corner really is crowded as hayull. lol, makes me feel a lil bit less like a sheltered heathen. I don’t know if I get any special treatment for at least wanting to see it (no matter how depressing it sounds from the reviews I hear). It is what it is….

        Am I the only one that feels like despite 2 days and 1500+ comments that yesterday’s discussion still wasn’t through? I mean, most ppl stop reading and responding after like 6 ET (went on a lil later yesterday) I happened to spend time responding to the countless ppl who addressed me and my thoughts, but I feel like I did it in vein at this point, because we kept beating a dead horse…I totally understand if people have had enough of that convo though. Too heavy, too hypothetical, too many variables (and for some too emotional) to really keep attemting to discuss, but certain commenters did ask me questions or make statements that warranted responses for me to completely ignore just because it was night time….but I would TOTALLY understand why most ppl would say “Oh h*ll no! I refuse to go back and read any more of that convo”

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5FR1LGsT7E TheAnti-Cool

        I don’t need a support group. I’ve gone without seeing The Wire this long, I think I’ll be okay.

        • Justmetheguy

          lol @ The Anti-Cool- Clearly I don’t actually know you, but from what you say it surely seems like your entire life is the epitome of the road less traveled lol, are you ever NOT the contrarian? I thought I was bad about that lol. Because as much as I think most religion is more harmful than beneficial I couldn’t make the jump to complete atheism (although I totally get it). I like to consider myself atheism lite (agnostic isn’t quite accurate) lol

          But seriously I love hearing your opinions cause you almost always feel the opposite of most ppl lol

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5FR1LGsT7E TheAnti-Cool

            Well, I’ve been called much worse than a contrarian by people that actually do know me so I’ll take that as a compliment.

            It seems I’m always on the outside or the “wrong” side of something. Sometimes by conscious choice but mostly cause of the way I’m wired.

            I was raised Baptist by a very God-fearing grandmother so I didn’t come to my unbelief lightly. And I could be totally wrong. I won’t know till I meet my maker. Or not. lol.

            • Justmetheguy

              @TAC- Yup, I feel you. Contrarian is a compliment often times. It means you think for yourself ALL the time. Some people do take it too far “How do we really know that gravity exists” lol, but for the most part it forces ALL of us to think about the things we’ve just accepted without giving too much critical thought. I won’t go into my feelings about the concept of God and the similarities between most people’s concept of God and Santa Clause (watch somebody put some words in my mouth and hate me for saying that) because that’s another post for another day. Again, I still do believe in God, just not in the same way that most ppl that are believers do

      • http://www.styleillusions.com WIP

        Buy a couple episodes on iTunes. It’s not expensive.

        • Deviant

          Is it on Netflix? I think that’d be a cheaper route.

          • http://www.styleillusions.com WIP

            It is. I think I bought it because I decided I hated Netflix and I’d probably want to watch it in the future.

            • Deviant

              I caught the entire set on sale at amazon for like $80 one year. But that’s because I’d seen it. Someone who’s never seen it may not want to spend that money but Netflix is $8/month and you could probably knock out a season or two per weekend if you’re not busy.

              • Justmetheguy

                @Deviant- Yeah, 80 bucks ain’t happening..also I got a complex relationship with netflix movies that I can’t just click play on, but I can’t talk about that online lol. I’ll find a way to watch it though. I’m slowly developing more and more of a will, so it’ll happen

            • Shelby

              After hearing all this talk about it on this site for the past few years, over the holiday break I decided to watch a few episodes on HBO on Demand on Xfinity (my Netflix said they’d have to send me the DVDs for some reason).

              Well I gave it like 2 1/2 episodes and I just didn’t see the point. I’m not a big TV fan (outside of HGTV/Food Network/GSN) so something has to catch my attention and quick. The Wire didn’t do it for me in those first few episodes. But I may give it another try one day…

    • Keisha

      I am ordering you all box dvd sets RIGHT NOW!!!

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5FR1LGsT7E TheAnti-Cool

        Just give me the money you would spend on that boxed set, please and thanks. :)

      • Imperfect

        …Well since you buyin…

    • http://twitter.com/itztrizz617 Tristan

      I guess we gon have to start lapping up in this corner…I have seen a couple episodes but i just never got into the wire. I tried to find it on Netflix and couldnt and i just took a knee on it altogether

      • Justmetheguy

        @ Tristan- Yeah, most of the shows I end up watching don’t start from hype, they start from someone around me watching them and me watching the show with that person so I can ask questions when I get confused. As a matter of fact it’s similar to music for me. Certain songs I realized later that I only liked because of the type of things I was normally doing at the time when the song was out and when I heard it. Certain music just reminds me of good times in life, so I inevitably love the song(s). TV is not quite the same but similar. Context matters. But yeah, if no one can answer certain questions or experience it with me, chances are I’ll lose interest because it starts feeling like a chore. I’m not much of a TV or movie person though. Not that I don’t enjoy the good sh*t, it’s just that I’m far from a connoisseur of ANYTHING on tv other than sports, as typical as that may sound lol. That’s why I really laughed out loud at your phrase “took a knee on that one”. I’m sure most of the non sports fans didn’t get the reference lol

    • DQ

      *Raises hand*

      Yeah. Me. I haven’t watched it either.

      *Looks around*

      In a second, this corner is going to take up the whole room.

    • http://challyshares.tumblr.com Nei Jae

      *joins the corner crew*

      I brought snacks!

  • Step_AI

    I always thought that when I finished college I’d move back home…then in 2006 I woke up and said I’m moving to Dallas, TX sight unseen. Now I only go home twice a year. When I’m there and it’s time to get on the plane back to Dallas, I always tell myself there’s no place like home.

  • Leila

    Loved The Wire! I still tell people to this day who haven’t seen it that it was the best series on tv.

    I left home (Rochester, NY) immediately after finishing to school. I relocated to DC and stayed for 4 yrs before returning back home. But it wasn’t the same. All of my childhood friends left and the only person left was my boyfriend. After living in a big city, I couldn’t adjust back and ended up moving again (to the west coast). Even now, I consider DC more my home because that’s where most of my family and close friends live.

  • Lady C

    Dang, feeling like it’s time for change on the heels of those controversial rape comments? You apologized. It’s a case of the humpdays, let it ride. Maybe it’s time to book a quick weekend vacation. Relax. Relate. Release.

  • naturalista88

    I am always thinking about leaving Chicago, but then I get to thinking about how I would probably fall apart if I was to leave. By no means am I incapable of taking care of myself; it’s just that I am so close to my immediate family I wouldn’t really feel comfortable moving away from them. Having to grow up w/a drug addicted mother and a grandmother being worried into her grave by her children really brought me & my siblings together, and I really enjoy how we are so close knit. I know I should probably move away & make new friends, have new adventures and all that good stuff, but it would just feel unsettling to just up and leave. No amount of phone calls, Skype, or any other methods of communicating would cure the homesickness I know would follow.

    • http://blackgirlmd.wordpress.com blackgirlmd

      that’s one thing I noticed about Chicago. The ppl born there stay put. They don’t move nowhere lol.

      • Iceprincess

        Dats because chicago is the best city in america. (Sorry, big apple, we still luv u). Its fly as hell. Theres just a natural swag that chicago has that cant b duplicated. It has everything ny has (skyscrapers, food scene, shopping, museums, ect) but cleaner & wit a cool midwest attitude. Theres also an old school glamour about the chi. They will break out the full lengh minks in a heartbeat in the wintertime! Lol. F*ckn great city man, i tell ya…

        • Justmetheguy

          @Blackgirlmd- Yeah, it’s one of those cities. Certain cities are just like that. Philadelphia is the exact same way. I’m sure there are more, but that’s the one I know FOR SURE is the antithesis of a transient city. Ninjas in those two cities really forget that there’s a world outside of their city. I think that type of loyalty and pride in one’s city is pretty cool, but I be d*mned if I ever stay put in one city with a country and a world so big and awesome, but it’s cool that I can go certain places and really feel a different vibe that comes with the place having locals with a lot of hometown pride (even if most of them are sheltered and biased towards anything local) lol

        • cynicaloptmst81

          I’m from Baltimore.

          And I hated Chicago…thought it was dirty.

          *shrugs*

          Maybe I had the wrong tour guides…only saw downtown and the South Side, lol…

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5FR1LGsT7E TheAnti-Cool

            Chicago is dirty. Pissy too sometimes. But it still has a certain beauty. Not the South Side though. I don’t even mess with the South Side.

        • Deviant

          You are wrong. And since I’m superior in decision making, NYC was/is/and will always be the best city in these here United States of North America.

          • Iceprincess

            #teamchicago

      • naturalista88

        Eh, a few of them leave & go to either Indiana or dry ass Ohio *lol*. The one thing I love here is the diversity; yeah yeah there’s diversity everywhere, but to be able to get on a bus and literally go from a Polish enclave to a Middle Eastern/Asian neighborhood in a few stops is absolutely amazing and wonderful. Also, there is nothing like sitting along the lakefront during the summer; I would always suggest that to the tourists that asked for activities to do when they came to eat @ my old job.

        • http://blackgirlmd.wordpress.com blackgirlmd

          But…. its mad segregated! I loved it there, but I kept telling my friends. “You know life doesn’t have to be like this.”

          You should be able to live in whatever neighborhood you want (and get into any club you want), without worrying about discrimination all the damn time.

          I agree its a cool city tho. And I never met a person who moved from Chicago to Ohio and was happy about it lol.

      • http://challyshares.tumblr.com Nei Jae

        Yes they do. They move to Memphis. *shurgs* Who knows why….

    • http://www.todisspits.blogspot.com MicTheMessenger

      Hey Naturalista88, i feel you. I’m from the crib too (Harvey world!!!). But i left for college. Never went back home for the summers, only the holidays cuz of work and stuff. But in hindsight i realize that if i woulda stayed there, I wouldn’t have the mindset i have now (and i mighta caught a bullet). I moved back after graduation to look for work. I ended up in Dallas. I still miss the Chi like a mug, but i don’t if ima ever make it back even with my family being there. Still got a passion to help people there, but if i ever go back, I AM NOT raising my kids on the south side.

      • http://www.todisspits.blogspot.com MicTheMessenger

        Oh, and as far as the culture of Chi, I LOVE IT. But I despised the conditions of m neighborhood. It made me who i am, but i knew from jump that i didn’t fit.

        • naturalista88

          Totally understandable. I too get dismayed & angered @ the ridiculous crime occurring here. Just last week a guy from my old neighborhood was killed while his job was getting ready to close up. It was so sad cause he was a real cool dude who had a great personality. Sometimes I think to myself, “Girl, why you wanna stay in a place like this??” but like I said, my family means so much to me & I know it would be hard for me to really detach myself & get comfortable in a new area. One day I’ll do the unthinkable & leave, but for now I’ll stay put.

  • Mdanielle

    I actually started watching the wire because of this blog and how much you and all of my friends talked about it. I’m towards the end of season two but I love it so far!!!

    I’m from Houston, it’s home I love it, all of my closest friends are there and as I’m on my journey to law school, I’m going to be gone for the next 3 years but I plan on and see myself returning to Houston. I don’t know why, I’ve been to other cities and countries and fell in love with them but nothing feels better than being home. Guess I’m a sucker for nostalgia.

    • Royale W. Cheese

      No joking…every single person across the USA who I’ve heard make a comment about Huston absolutely hates Huston.

      • Keisha

        I’m from Houston, but moved away after college. As soon as I get a job there, I’m headed back. If I got a call tomorrow, I would leave everything I own and be on the road. There really is no place like home. :-)

      • Shelby

        I say this with e-love – cuz I follow your comments and typically agree with you.

        But you need more people. LOL. I LOVE Houston and people that say they hate it just need to get out more. I’ve lived in a few places – ATL, Dallas, L.A., and did a brief stint in D.C. and Houston is the best. I love it.

        • Royale W. Cheese

          “But you need more people. LOL.”

          :) You can never have enough people, that’s true. Maybe the consistent anti-Huston comments are an indication that my peeps aren’t as diverse as I thought.

      • Sula

        Yup, I will have to disagree. As someone who lived in the U.S for 11 years (back home now: the call of “home”), I absolutely loved my adopted hometown of Houston. And I have never met anybody who didn’t like living in Houston. It’s hot as hell and driving distances will murk your spirit, but it’s still an outstanding place to live.
        I have roamed around the US and lived in many places but Houston is def my American hometown.

    • miss t-lee

      I love Houston. My sister and other family live there, as well as my two best friends. They all want me to move, but it won’t happen…LOL!

      • DQ

        I worked in Houston for 2 summers. Loved it. Loved every single part of it. If this MegaMillions thing ever works out I’ll be buying a home out there at the end of some big winding road… and it won’t be all a dream either.

        • miss t-lee

          Go for it!! :)

          • DQ

            Actually I’ll probably set up shop in Missouri City or Sugarland (has Houston annexed those yet)? Why these places? Cause as much as I liked 3rd Ward, if I win Megamillions I will have a legal obligation to be fancy.

            • miss t-lee

              Not sure about the annexation…lol My auntie used to stay out in Sugarland. It was nice at one point, haven’t been out there in a hot minute. You should check out Cypress or Katy if you’re really wanting some suburb type ish. It’s a long ride from the action #doe.

              • DQ

                Katy is a plane ride away from the action. That’s too too far.

                • miss t-lee

                  bwahahahhaha.

  • Imperfect

    I have never seen 2 minutes of the Wire, but I’m totally with you on this one!
    You didn’t consider stayin in Buffalo because you it’s unfamiliar…or at least less familiar than Pittsburgh.
    You could have never made it to where you are if you stayed in Buffalo. I wish I could say I loved my city, but I don’t. It’s a plague.

    I think we (anyone who’s never lived away from home) all start to wonder how things might be different, if things were different.
    I know I feel stifled. Like I’m in a box I’ve outgrown. But still, I’m unwilling to move…but my life situation’s different from yours.

    This post depresses me…

    • Mena

      This is why I left my state as soon as I got my M.A. And when I say left, I mean packed a friend’s car 20 days after i crossed the stage and moved without a job, left. I didn’t want to wonder what could have been. Trust, there is a bit of arrogance moving the way that I did. I knew that I was bigger than what my state had to offer and decided that if I stayed I would always wonder about my potential and how I felt about my self worth. Maybe I was being dramatic but in the end, i made the right decision. I moved to DC. What’s funny is that, now when I go home, it gets harder for me to leave and I know that I will return one day to raise a family.

      For anyone feeling that they can do better than what their area can offer, I say bounce. It is hard but I would always regret not leaving. I also, and maybe this is just me, felt that people who stayed home knowing that there were better opportunities in their field in another area were too afraid to take that step and didn’t really want to follow their dreams. People think that there is nothing worse than failing and I feel that there is nothing worse than not trying and never knowing what could have been.

      • Imperfect

        I think it’s awesome that you were able to do that. That’s so much easier said than done, though.

        • Mena

          I was lucky in that I was at the age where i had nothing to lose. In other words, I was thoughtless about the whole thing. Like I told myself “I can always come back home”. If I did this now, almost 6 yrs later, I would crap my pants. Some things are just easier when young arrogance is in full effect.