Vince Beiser talks to David Simon today in Tablet Magazine, endeavoring to get the man behind the HBO series The Wire and Treme (whose second season premieres Sunday) to amplify and clarify a remark he made last November at the Jewish Federations of North America General Assembly in New Orleans. “Simon raised the hackles of many of the 4,000 assembled machers,” Beiser recounts, “by upbraiding them for not doing enough for poor urban blacks, who he said, in calculatedly agit-prop phrasing, were suffering ‘a Holocaust in slow motion.’”
Was Simon’s deliberate envelope-pushing nonetheless appropriate? Do Jewish charities have an obligation to prioritize poor urban blacks over better-off Jews? And, sure: Is Maury Levy, the drug dealers’ attorney in The Wire, a fairly created character? (Simon says yes; I say no.) Different readers will come away with different answers after they let have let Beiser and Simon have their says.