With The Wire final season premiere approaching rapidly (the episode is already on HBO OnDemand and the first two are on BitTorrent), news outlets everywhere are covering and reviewing the show. My favorite article — because it’s something different and critical for a change — is a profile of David Simon by Mark Bowden in the Atlantic Monthly. He starts out slow with a comparison of fiction and nonfiction in telling stories:
Fiction can explain things that journalism cannot. It allows you to enter the lives and motivations of characters with far more intimacy than is typically possible in nonfiction. In the case of The Wire, fiction allows you to wander around inside a violent, criminal subculture, and inside an entrenched official bureaucracy, in a way that most reporters can only dream about. And it frees you from concerns about libel and cruelty. It frees you to be unfair.
But then you get to the part describing Simon’s vindictiveness and how it has shaped him, which adds some depth to the earlier fiction/nonfiction comparison. Worth a read.
Also of note is that the full text of The Believer conversation between Simon and Nick Hornby has been put online.