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读书笔记 the wire


David Simon

“The Wire is a Greek tragedy in which the postmodern institutions are the Olympian forces. It’s the police department, or the drug economy, or the political structures, or the school administration, or the macroeconomic forces that are throwing the lightning bolts and hitting people in the ass for no decent reason.”


does not the same hold for capitalism as such? Its ultimate impetus is likewise not to satisfy existing demands, but to create ever new demands so as to facilitate its continuous expanded reproduction.

cashless society,这是2012年的文字,太阳底下没有新鲜事啊

The stages in the predominant mode of money seem to obey the Lacanian triad of RSI: gold functions as the Real of money (what it is “really worth”); with paper money we enter the Symbolic register (paper is the symbol of its worth, worthless in itself); and, finally, the emerging mode is a purely “Imaginary” one—money will increasingly exist as a purely virtual point of reference, of accounting, without any actual form, real or symbolic (the “cashless society”).

这其实是给David Simon那段引文的解释回答,希望David Simon看过。

It is the self-propelling movement of Capital that runs the show, that provides the key to real-life developments and catastrophes. Therein resides the fundamental systemic violence of capitalism, much more uncanny than any direct pre-capitalist socio-ideological violence. This violence is no longer attributable to individuals and their “evil” intentions, but is purely “objective,” systemic, anonymous. Here we encounter the Lacanian difference between reality and the Real: the former is the social reality of actual people involved in interaction and in the productive process, while the Real is the inexorable, “abstract,” spectral logic of Capital that determines what goes on in social reality.


Brecht, whose motto is “change the system, not individuals”: “Mr. Muddle thought highly of man and did not believe that newspapers could be made better, whereas Mr. Keuner did not think very highly of man but did think that newspapers could be made better. ‘Everything can be made better,’ said Mr. Keuner, ‘except man.’


In the world of The Wire, the crucial question with regard to this relationship between the legal order and its transgression does not concern the status of drug dealing, etcetera, since it is clear that the legal system itself generates much of the crime it fights. The central question is more insidious and unsettling: what is the status of the (utopian) acts of resistance portrayed? Are they also merely a moment in the totality of the system? Are the individual acts of resistance on the part of Snot and Omar, Freamon and McNulty, also just the obverse of the system that ultimately sustains them? If so, then the answer is obvious, if counterintuitive: the only way to stop the system from working is to stop resisting it.

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