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Edward Snowden’s Opinion of ‘The Wire’ Season 2 Is Traitorous Nonsense

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Slade Sohmer

By Slade Sohmer on May 29, 2014

Edward Snowden is a complicated figure. Despite what NBC News’ social media folks want you to tweet, he doesn’t exactly fit into black-and-white hashtags of #PATRIOT or #TRAITOR. But can we all at least agree that this, from the Brian Williams interview exclusive, is a horrible opinion that should change the way we look at him and his actions forever?

That’s the beauty of the internet, is that we’re no longer tied to our communities merely by physical connections. Right now I’m watching a show, The Wire, about surveillance, which is— I’m really enjoying it. Second season’s not so great.

Some quick, but important, thoughts:

1. Is this what Snowden’s up to all day, sitting in his skivvies watching reruns of a decade-old show in a hotel room in Russia? Because I’ll take a government job right now and leak some classified shit if it means I can hang out all day watching old shows I missed on the first run.

2. Only an amateur would watch The Wire and say it’s “about surveillance.” It’s like calling Walmart “that place to buy Halloween candy.” As I’ve written, the sixty episodes that make up the five seasons of The Wire paint the most stunningly in-depth portrait of a modern American city. It’s a better sociology class than anything on which you’d spend college tuition money.

Series creator David Simon brings us inside the Baltimore he knows from his decade-plus at the Sun newspaper, from his days researching the journalistic novel “Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets.” The Wire isn’t a Chamber of Commerce effort: It shows us Baltimore’s stats-juking and incompetent police department, its corrupt yet ultimately powerless political leaders, its crumbling school system, its decaying working-class unions, its corner-cutting journalism, its bleak street corners, its wholesale systemic failure. It shows those of us who think of Baltimore as the Inner Harbor and Camden Yards what life on the other side might look like. Surveillance? Hardly.

3. Which brings us to the main point: Season 2. Clearly the most polarizing of seasons, you can tell a lot about a person depending on whether they like “The Docks” or not. Simply, without S2, there is no show. Season 2 is the set-up, the smuggle and the struggle. Whereas S1 shows us an American life fought on the corners, this illustrates death of the blue-collar American dream on the docks. On a superficial level, we see the whiter shade of “means to an end.” But on a deeper one, S2 succeeds in expanding the scope of the narrative arc, billowing up a thick cloud of despair and hope and pragmatism in the face of a rigged game that suffocates almost every major character trying to make a better life. And, c’mon, look back at it: D’Angelo’s jailhouse fate, the Hot Shots, Brother Mouzone’s appearance, Frank and Nicky and Ziggy Sobotka’s working class futility, Omar’s testimony in a tie, Stringer and Donette gettin’ busy … Snowden, what is wrong with you?

We now return you to your previously held convictions about whether or not Snowden is a #PATRIOT or #TRAITOR. Thank you for your time.

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