Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The Wire: Tv Show, Modern Art, Class at Harvard?

For 50,000 dollars a year, you can send your kid to Harvard University. If your child takes 8 classes a year, that is $6250 per class. The Wire DVD box set costs $125. Harvard wants to burn your money. They now offer a class on The Wire. This class is set up by William Julius Wilson, renowned social scientist. This is to understand the plight of the urban life and the troubles that beset those folks. This will be at Harvard University's beautiful campus with leafy trees and pretty squares.

If William J. Wilson wanted students to understand the plight of urban folks and the troubles they face, he could send them a whopping 1 mile down Mass Ave and have them walk a block or two off that busy st and start asking questions. Professor Wilson once had balls and was not so lazy as in 1989 he sent a PhD student into the ghetto of Chicago to interview poor youths. This journey eventually lead to amazing discoveries of crack cocaine dealing gangs, their economics and odd ties to their negihborhood by Mr. Sudhir Venkatesh. No, that would be too real. Let's sit back and watch a fricking tv show, which is a former cop beat writer's take on urban life. Yeah, that is wicked real.

Harvard is not alone. Duke and Middlebury offer classes on The Wire. Not in the art or film departments, but in the sociology departments. This is what passes for college education now. Six thousand dollars for a class that you could experience by watching a $125 box set with roommates and talking about each episode over some beers. Here's what the syllabus will be: watch episodes, write a 500 word essay on story arc or some facet of the show, have section discussions, then a midterm paper, repeat previous cycle for 6 more weeks, then write a final paper. Hear that sound: that's John Harvard spinning at lightspeed in his grave.

No comments: