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Newspaper Recaps DePauw Address by The Wire Creator David Simon

April 9, 2009

David Simon 2.jpgApril 9, 2009, Greencastle, Ind. — "(David) Simon, who spoke last week to a ballroom full of students and other Wire fans in the student union at DePauw University, is a judgment machine," writes Stephanie Salter in the Terre Haute Tribune-Star. "But he isn't haughty; he's angry, and he often includes himself and people like him in his indictments. He is also wickedly funny and quite fluent in his second language -- sarcasm. A good example is the title of Simon's talk in Greencastle -- 'The Audacity of Despair: The Decline of American Empire and What's in it For You.'" (photo: Meredith McGrady/The DePauw)

Salter provides a summary of the April 2 address by Simon, a former crime reporter for the Baltimore Sun who has gone on to author Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets and create critically acclaimed television programs such as The Wire and Generation Kill.

Salter writes that Simon "admitted to the audience that the title was 'a goof' on Barack Obama’s The Audacity of Hope. His aim, however, was to prompt the room of young people -- most of them part of the 35th annual Undergraduates Communications Honors Conference -- to think about our current state of affairs in a less passive way than have generations before them."

Simon told the students, "Since you’re about to inherit this broken version of America we’ve dropped on you … what you really have going for you on this despairing view of America is, you’re allowed to get angry, you’re absolutely allowed to get angry."The Wire HBO Boxed Set.jpg

Obama has claimed to be a fan of The Wire, and Simon campaigned on behalf of the Democrat. Simon told the DePauw audience, "We've been building this America for 30, 40 years... (and) when somebody has a simple solution or somebody tries to say it's about electing the right guy or it's about passing this one law," citizens need to realize that real fixes won't take place overnight.

The message of The Wire, Simon declared, was that as Americans, "We can't even recognize our problems, much less solve them anymore."

According to Salter, "In Greencastle, Simon was exhausted but 'hyped on coffee,' having driven through rainstorms from Cincinnati, where his plane from New Orleans had arrived too late for a connection to Indianapolis. He and his film crew had wrapped up shooting on a proposed new series for HBO at 6 a.m. in Louisiana. The series is set in the early months after Katrina."

Access the full text -- "From police beat reporter to socio-political sage" -- at the newspaper's Web site.

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