Thugs Watch The Wire

Don't read this unless you're caught up on this season's The Wire episodes.

Sudhir Venkatesh gets his hands dirty with some real-life thugs who watch The Wire.

Shine and I walked back into the apartment to watch episode 8. The rest of the crew was already assembled. Many had served up plates of catered food and were opening their fine domestic beers.

The viewing was uneventful until, “BANG!” Omar fell to his death. Kenard, the shortie from Michael’s street crew, had laid claim to the bounty.

The place went crazy. Omar is dead! Long live Omar! Kool-J threw a bag of pork rinds in the air, causing Shine to rebuke him with: “Hot sauce don’t come out of the carpets, boy!” Orlando woke from his semi-comatose state, crying, “No! No! They took my boy! First Butchie and now Omar!”

Tony-T was the most visibly shaken. “It can happen to any of us, just like that. You think you’re going out to buy some chicken and Pepsi, and the next thing, some kid wants to make a name for himself by taking you out.”

“We got to tell Flavor,” Shine said. “I know he’ll go nuts when he hears this.” Shine left the room to call Flavor on his cell phone. The rest of the Thugs began making side-bets.

“I say Michael kills Marlo,” Orlando said soberly. “That young [man] is going to take over.”

“Nope,” said Tony-T. “Avon. Avon, Avon, Avon. He’s got a deal with the Greeks, and they’ll take out Marlo. You watch: Avon is coming back! That’s my boy!”

Amidst the speculation and wagers, Shine returned. He had a fresh beer in his hand and he was shaking his head.

“Flavor’s in some real trouble now,” he said. “That boy should have laid low, and instead…”

“He went after Pootchie, didn’t he?” Kool-J yelled. (Everyone in the room evidently knew about Flavor’s troubles.) “Just say it! I’m right, ain’t I? Flavor went after Pootchie, didn’t he? I knew that son of a b—h couldn’t just hide out, keep quiet. That’s all he had to do! Jo-Jo was going to get arrested in a week — I told him that.”

Shine nodded and then explained: Flavor was so upset about the coup d’etat orchestrated by Jo-Jo that he decided to go after Jo-Jo’s girlfriend. But on the way to her place, he stopped off at a strip club, where he ran into some of Jo-Jo’s guys.

“They beat the s–t out of him, but that n—-r got away! I guess he left this trail of blood; he’s hurt pretty bad. But he’s in his car, still running.”

“I say Flavor goes after Jo-Jo,” Orlando said. “That [guy] can’t wait. Impatient m—-r f—-r.”

“No,” said Shine. “I think he’s shaken up. I think he’ll call his brother, Richie, stay at his place.”

“Hell no!” Tony-T yelped. “He’s going out like John Wayne. Guns firing.”

Stringer Bell, these guys aren't. Among the many not-believable characters in the series, Stringer Bell stood out. I always thought that someone as smart, calm, and far-thinking as him would not stay long in the Game. He'd realize that he'd have a much easier time making money by legal means with a fraction of the risk.  But David Simon needed a diabolical "capitalist" genius criminal.

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You have been so explicit

You have been so explicit and involved in your story that if a person that's not watching The Wire was reading...well...he/she'd be at lost as I am in this long phrase.
beer of the month

After watching the entire

After watching the entire series finally, I went back to read Venkatesh's whole series on "thugs watch the wire". I was thoroughly impressed at the total and utter lack of insight on the part of the "thugs". Their predictions were so off the wall and improbable, it was unclear they were watching the same show.