Tuesday, October 02, 2012

On Treme

Things that burn me:

1) Getting mail addressed to "Mr. and Mrs. I. Dotytron."  I literally SEETHE.  I'm sorry, I don't have a name or identity any more?!  WTF?  The surest way to get me to irrationally dislike whatever missive you've sent me via post is to address it like that.

2) The fact that no one watches Treme.  I've made no bones about the fact that we are die-hard Treme fans in this house.  Really, if The Wire wasn't such a huge thing I wouldn't even care that people pass by Treme.  It's the fact that there are legions of rabid Wire fans and no one knows Treme that gets me.  I think it has a lot to do with the subject matter - studying post-Katrina New Orleans is not as "cool" as studying drug dealers.  The subculture down there isn't as tied into popular culture's fetishization of urban, ghettoized black masculinity.

Here's the thing: it's easy to love The Wire.  The packaging is all set up for you!  And the civics/socio-economic lessons in The Wire, while perhaps ground-breaking at the time, in contrast to the nuance of Treme are incredibly pat.  The observations are nowhere near as keen (case in point: the youth drug-dealers using chess as a metaphor for how they're "pawns" in the towers drug trade is incredibly trite and to me, is sloppy writing).  Treme is even MORE David Simon than The Wire.  Instead of the narrative device of each season exploring a different societal aspect, what you have is incredibly deep, rich, layered characters living their lives in a town that is emblematic of all that is beautiful and deplorable in America.  Because of this, you really get to inhabit the world of Treme, in a much deeper way than you were allowed to in The Wire.  So yeah, it's not "cool" in the same way to be following New Orleans public defense lawyers and bar owners and councillors, chefs, and musicians, but the social commentary is no less incisive for it.  Every time we watch an episode, we turn to each other and say, "I love this show."

So yeah, of course, all the chef-insider business and all the musician insider business is tailor-made for me and the Dotytron and our respective interests, but I defy you to watch the recreation of a second-line tribute to a fallen musician with the sounds of the Rebirth Brass Band swelling in the background and not be moved.    What's not to love about a culture with a second-line?!  A culture with jazz funerals?!  It's a beautiful thing and y'all are missing out big-time.  Don't even get me started on the women of Treme.  Fierce, strong, stalwart, steely.

3) How busy I am right now.


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