The Moth Chase

Elevating the Art of Procrastanalysis – Academics wasting time on pop culture

Respectfully…I know how they jail…

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At the Foot of Canal Street

Guys tossed sandwiches over the wire and laughed like they was feeding zoo animals. And we fought over those sandwiches, moldy as they was.

— Kevon White

What an elaborate and rewarding episode! There was so much going on in this episode that I will make a few stray observations this time around.

I absolutely love all of the Wire cameos and references. Not only with the reference to “Hamsterdam,” but also the appearance of ‘Prez,’ Bubs’s sponsor, and, of course, ‘Slim Charles,’ who this time around is playing another fairly ferocious killer by the name of Kevon White.

I thought the scene between him and David Brooks’s sister and mother was exceptional. It is a striking counterpoint not only to the scene between Albert and the insurance clerk, but largely between most of the denizens of New Orleans and whatever other foreign, bureaucratic, or legal obstacles they seem to encounter. Notice that the encounter opens with a simple request by Ladonna, “Look at us.” This plea for recognition, initially ignored, turns into a violent slamming of her hands upon the table—so violent that it even catches the lawyer by surprise. Ladonna continues, “You look at us, goddammit! This is my mother. David’s mother.” Finally, she states simply: “Help us.” What is most interesting is White’s reaction: “Aight.” With this simple word, he acknowledges and recognizes them, the situations, his actions, and everything else that goes with it. Of course, we do not know if his story is true (although it sure sounds like it), but we do notice how he does not make any sort of recourse to legalese or loopholes. He does not find a way to ignore them or withhold recognition, he does not point to a distinction between floods and storms. Instead, he attempts, in his own way, to help them.  The juxtaposition between this accused killer and all of the elements in place to help our characters is striking and I do not think it is accidental. What is even more striking is that White immediately withdraws the entire act when it is to be assimilated into the broader systemic structure. As he says: “[This] conversation never happened.” Of course, the apparent justification is that he does not want to take another charge of the whole thing, but as a viewer you cannot but help wonder whether the point is precisely that the sort of recognition and acknowledgement that clearly occurs in the broader conversation precisely can only exist outside the confines of the systemic structures in place around our characters. It is striking how complex this whole scenario is.

I was also fascinated by the Sonny storyline—especially his influencing “the Texican” bouncer to come to New Orleans. I think the whole Sonny storyline is becoming quite interesting. Of course, there are the obvious themes that everyone loves to hate about him and Annie: she’s too good for him, he’s a poseur, uncaring, etc. We see an interesting dynamic this week: we realize he is from Amsterdam, not a native. We also see that he is definitely out of his league amongst New Orleans musicians…even when he’s in Texas. We also see that he realizes this. What’s interesting, however, is his attachment to New Orleans…so potent that it is infective. I am fascinated by the character of “the Texican” and I think the Annie/Sonny plotline will obviously come to a head, since she’s on the way up and he’s staying in place…

Until next week,


Written by Martin

May 4, 2010 at 9:08 am

Posted in Treme

Tagged with , , , ,

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