Music. Movies. Hoops. It’s why we are here. It brings us together. No matter the degree of disagreement we can still come to the table and have a conversation within those realms. Start coloring outside of those lines and things get a bit more dreary, or at least they have been lately.

It doesn’t help that some of the leading voices are starting to become too entrenched on their high horses. Sometimes you just have to separate an artist from their work, regardless of the entertainment venue. Sadly, my dealings with David Simon have driven this point home.

Jokes are getting slaps. (Four was the least amount of words I could spend on that subject. You’re welcome.) Fentanyl is taking out family-friendly Foo Fighters. Players are taking COVID stances, which leads to politics. Fucking politics. It’s always been in sports. So many examples, from Jesse Owens to the latest episode of Winning Time to Kareem’s comments on LeBron.

Looking further into basketball, well, I’ll let MMH’s own Abdul Malik tell it:

“The NBA is becoming the front line for the most stupid elements of the American culture war…But I would never have guessed Enes Kanter Freedom and Kyrie Irving, whose one-two punch of outright racism and extraordinary shortsightedness has opened the door for us to witness the slow drag of the NBA into the pits of cultural hell, where the weaponization of majority Black athletes—something white liberals are not excluded from, by the way–becomes an opportunity for the abscesses of American political office to suddenly become basketball experts and further reactionary agendas best described as ’fucked.’”

How do we unfuck the world? How can we show what we see, what we hope we can change with just a little bit of help? How do we form that focused consensus that really builds a community? We have to start with more civil conversations, even if we are dealing out ‘harsh truths’ that are really, just like, opinions man.

There is a multi-front war amongst the stupid elements indeed. Have no doubt. Anyone who thought white people or liberals were excluded is either willfully ignorant, in denial, or a big part of the problem. Still, it’s never who you guess, and beware of meeting heroes. Which brings me from hoops to cinema, and the dreary, “fucked” nature of David Simon’s recent discourse—in his work and in dealing with the public.

David Simon and George Pelecanos on the set of HBO’s ‘The Deuce’, via Maclean’s

Simon has become a character. Albert Lambreaux (played by Clarke Peters) is Big Chief of the Guardians of the Flame, the man who returned to build his own home after the storm, be damned what them children think. Lambreaux explains earlier that he’s a grumpy old sumnabitch but don’t hold it against the rest of the locals.

I remember smoking one and watching the Treme shop set up back in the day. Grandma was one of the first nurses to help open West Jeff hospital and she wasn’t going back to the city to live alone. College could get “fucked” as it were. Things weren’t exactly going my way at the time and some alcohol needed drinking. I did, and still, relate to Simon’s gruff. I too am the resident asshole far too often. Just ask Malik on “June 27th” or “November 18th”.

See, conversation. The self-anointed “Angriest Man in Television” just can’t hold a conversation anymore. He takes everything as a slight as he drunkenly attacks the Twitter comments from some Manhattan bar. Or so he said. He does have some set rules though.

It’s a good thing more people know his work than him. We can have a conversation about his features with The Baltimore Sun and his books, Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets and The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood with Ed Burns, which spawned the NBC series Homicide: Life on the Street (1993–99).

Then he got to throw together The Corner (2000) mini-series for HBO. Low-budget. Grimy. But that’s why it’s good.

Then came The Wire… but maybe not quite the money and acknowledgment that Simon thought he deserved. He’s talked about what a sixth season would have been, about his season looking at immigration even further. But people didn’t watch it until it was gone.

Still, Simon got to run with Treme, Generation Kill, Show Me A Hero, The Deuce, and The Plot Against America. He is telling his story through television perhaps because he is just too prickly to have a civil conversation.

Which, again, we need more of. It’s hard to be on the same side as the constant cynic. It’s akin to the boy crying wolf. It’s hard to go along with what they are saying even if they sometimes actually have a point.

Someone point David Simon to a project that helps him artfully show what’s wrong with the world. This Hollywood shit finally went to his head, even if he does stick mainly to the East Coast.

His screaming from a social media barstool is doing more harm than good. It’s like arguing with an idiot. Someone watching from a distance cannot tell the difference. It applies to lots of attitudes, even those angrily riding those high horses in the ivory towers of high brow legacy showbiz.

David Simon has it in him to delve deep into what he cares about. He has the ability to make beautiful art. Like too many out there, he’s choosing to run his mouth on Twitter instead. And that’s a damn shame.