I once took an undergraduate course on The Wire, widely considered the greatest American television show ever, in which I learned more about urban politics, crime, and public health than I did in other courses actually devoted to those subjects.
US president Barack Obama, clearly a fan of the HBO show, apparently sees it as a similarly useful paradigm for these issues. Obama’s office has released a video of the president sitting down with The Wire‘s creator, David Simon, to discuss his series and some of the political issues it navigates, including the war on drugs and criminal justice reform. Watch here:
Simon, a former police reporter for The Baltimore Sun, sought to create a TV show that explored some of the things he had witnessed directly. In the show’s five seasons, he confronted many of the serious political and social issues of American cities in the 20th century (not just in Baltimore, where the show took place).
The video is, of course, a marketing stunt by Obama’s communications team, allowing the president to talk about these heavy issues in an engaging way. But that doesn’t take away from how fun it is to see the leader of the free world go into fanboy mode (his favorite character is Omar).