That was fast

By Juliana Adelman

1_mcnultybunk_252Hardly finished a year and The Wire is already history.  Or at least fodder for media studies.  See the new Continuum list.  The book, out in December, ‘examines The Wire’s place in popular culture’.  I’m intrigued by the title of the lead essay, ‘Baltimore before The Wire‘.  Does this assume that the tv series is a historical text representing Baltimore at a particular time?  I guess I’ll find out in December.

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3 Responses to “That was fast”

  1. David Evans Says:

    Having read many reviews and comments about ‘The Wire’ in recent years I decided I would have to do something about seeing it for myself. So, I bought a boxed set of the 13 episodes of the first series (on eBay for the princely sum of £11.50!).
    My impressions of the first episode left me very confused. I felt that I might have been watching a very good film – if only I could have understood more than an occasional word of what was being said. I was able to understand enough words to know that a form of English was being spoken, but it was not a form that I could comprehend. So much of the vocabulary was foreign to me, and the syntax and grammar were equally incomprehensible. I wondered how I could possibly manage to get through the remaining twelve episodes.
    It was while I was attempting to view the second episode that inspiration struck: I remembered that most TV programmes offer an option to show sub-titles. I switched on the option for English sub-titles, and was able to enjoy the rest of the series in comfort.
    In addition, I was able to gain a knowledge of what I might describe as a dialect that could be useful if I ever visit Baltimore and want to make my Irish-English understandable to the natives.
    The abiding impression of the ‘dialect’ is that it has a remarkably short vocabulary, and an even shorter vocabulary of swear words – just two, in fact, ‘f..k’ and ‘motherf….r’.

  2. puesoccurrences Says:

    he he he…Yes, even my sister (American) used the subtitles for an episode. Ireland might just top the charts in creative swearing, Americans pretty much stick to the basics.

  3. Kevin Says:

    Ah yes, but did you know that George Pelecanos, one of the co-writers, recently criticised people for using the subtitles, claiming (hilariously) that “It [subtitling] kind of reminds me of scenes from that comedy Airplane!, when two black guys speak, and subtitles appear on the screen.” (


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