The Wire vs. Baltimore: Can fiction help us understand real-world crisis?

Cultural critic Alyssa Rosenberg and journalist Lanre Bakare on how The Wire is informing observers' understanding of the real-life crisis in Baltimore.
Detective William "Bunk" Moreland confronts corner boys in season three of The Wire. (The Wire/HBO)

Cultural critic Alyssa Rosenberg and journalist Lanre Bakare join Shad to discuss how The Wire is seeping into discussion of the real-life crisis in Baltimore. The two debate whether fiction helps or hinders our understanding of the conflict unfolding in the Maryland city

The long-running drama by journalist-turned-showrunner David Simon delved deeply into the world of policing and drugs in Baltimore. Many observers, including news media, have turned to Simon and The Wire for context and cultural insight on this week's eruptions. References abound on social media

Should observers be wary of this collision of worlds? Or is well-written fiction useful "intellectual synthesis"? 

Note: This segment also features a clip from Oscar-winning film director Barry Levinson.


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