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I'm finally starting The Wire. Oh boy.

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On ‎5‎/‎12‎/‎2016 at 5:21 PM, Roman said:

I'm finally starting The Wire. Oh boy.

Omar Little was one of the best super villains on television.

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 I don't think I'd call Omar a villain. Definitely an anti-hero. I mean when it came down to it you rooted for Omar, because he was a thug Robin Hood but he just gave away free drugs that he stole as opposed handing out gold.

Now that I read that sentence it doesn't make Omar seem nearly as heroic as I'd like to think. When it comes to the wire everyone is cast in shades of gray.

James

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16 minutes ago, J.H. said:

 I don't think I'd call Omar a villain. Definitely an anti-hero. I mean when it came down to it you rooted for Omar, because he was a thug Robin Hood but he just gave away free drugs that he stole as opposed handing out gold.

Omar had a code, but it was just as much a code of convenience as it was a "code of honor."

Omar gave away the drugs he stole because he didn't want the burden of moving the weight himself and because it bought the vigilance and kinda sorta the loyalty of the crackheads. 

If the crackheads ratted out Barksdale dealers for stick-ups from the Little crew, they knew a free fix was incoming and Omar's people got paid and were usually one step ahead of the dealers they robbed thanks to the street gossip, so it was a symbiotic relationship between the junkies and the Littles..

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Omar is the closest thing to a hero on that show.  He's the least morally ambiguous character on the show, while everyone else lied to themselves about how corrupt they actually were.  I'd agree Stringer was the biggest villain, he's might be the most reprehensible character in the history of television.  Marlo, Avon, Prop Joe, etc.were monsters, but they played the game the way it was supposed to be played.  Stringer was coloring way outside the lines of "The Game."

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2 minutes ago, supremebve said:

Omar is the closest thing to a hero on that show.  He's the least morally ambiguous character on the show, while everyone else lied to themselves about how corrupt they actually were.

I'd argue that Omar's code was there to make him respect the person he saw when he looked into the mirror.  He profited intangibly by giving away free drugs.   Otherwise why not just destroy the product?

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1 minute ago, J.T. said:

I'd argue that Omar's code was there to make him respect the person he saw when he looked into the mirror.  He profited intangibly by giving away free drugs.   Otherwise why not just destroy the product?

Not what I'm saying at all.  Omar was Omar, and never pretended to be anyone else.  The court scene was basically his mission statement.  "I steal from drug dealers, shoot people, and I don't give a fuck how you feel about it."  The difference is that Levy, the police, and even the drug dealers believed that their form of profiting off of the drug trade was somehow honorable.  Omar knew that there wasn't any honor to what he did, so he was honorable about who he was.  Almost everyone else on the show was willing to betray their character to get the job done, Omar knew what he was and wasn't going to compromise his moral code even if it meant his death.

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Both of you have perfectly valid points and that's what makes Omar such a great character. What I wonder is what he endured as Young Omar to make him the person he was -- the facial scar and the scars on his torso never being explained is intriguing. And probably really, really awful. The fact that he has any moral compass at all, however off-center it may be, seems amazing.

EDIT: Another thing, and something I always thought about, is that he had to have sold some of the drugs just in order to survive. You can't buy Honey Nut Cheerios off of giving fiends free blasts. Yeah, he stole the money, but he had to have spaced some of the drugs off to Butchie for profit in a way of distancing himself from the actual sale. 

EDIT II: If Omar DIDN'T sell some of the drugs he stole and just gave them away, half of West Side Baltimore would be dead. 

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1 hour ago, supremebve said:

Not what I'm saying at all.  Omar was Omar, and never pretended to be anyone else.  The court scene was basically his mission statement.  "I steal from drug dealers, shoot people, and I don't give a fuck how you feel about it."  The difference is that Levy, the police, and even the drug dealers believed that their form of profiting off of the drug trade was somehow honorable.  Omar knew that there wasn't any honor to what he did, so he was honorable about who he was.  Almost everyone else on the show was willing to betray their character to get the job done, Omar knew what he was and wasn't going to compromise his moral code even if it meant his death.

Being honest with yourself about yourself and being honorable are two different things.  Omar was comfortable with who he was and how he got down.  Giving zero fucks does not make you a knight but it does make you true to the game.  At least you're not like Avon assuming that you are a Rockefeller in waiting until the world catches up to you and legitimizes drugs and you aren't Stringer who actually likes being dirty.

I just think people use the word "honor" and "justification" interchangeably with him.  I also won't presume to judge him on why he gravitated to his particular lifestyle, because we all know from The Wire that the Life usually chooses you rather than you choosing it.  Only people with the option of saying no, just say no.

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As someone whose just binged watched the entire series in like 2-3 weeks, I will say two things:

Levy, I don't think ever saw himself as honorable. The smartest person in the room? Certainly, which makes Omar calling him out on his shit the best.

Stringer didn't like being dirty. The dude was holding meetings inside a funeral parlor where Slim Charles was recognized like Congress was in session. He was just a dude who wanted to be a drug dealer with the façade that it was the same as business or something formal. He was using first day (the day after you get the syllabus) in Intro to Economics class terms to help run the Barksdale organization. He tried to make it as least dirty as humanly possible. However, his street attitude from his days with Avon and all the other boys flared up and that was his downfall. Marlo was the one who liked being dirty.

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Stringer wanted the business to run efficiently, not humanely, bro.  At the end of the day, he knew he was selling suffering in a vial but hey, it was in demand and made a profit and if he didn't make the money someone else would.

He definitely enjoyed the things that being a top tier drug dealer afforded him and he knew he couldn't enjoy those things making legit money or being a legit business owner.  Avon's goal was to eventually transcend the life; Stringer enjoyed the life as it was.

Stringer liked being dirty. Marlo liked doing dirt.

 

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4 minutes ago, Elsalvajeloco said:

As someone whose just binged watched the entire series in like 2-3 weeks, I will say two things:

Levy, I don't think ever saw himself as honorable. The smartest person in the room? Certainly, which makes Omar calling him out on his shit the best.

Stringer didn't like being dirty. The dude was holding meetings inside a funeral parlor where Slim Charles was recognized like Congress was in session. He was just a dude who wanted to be a drug dealer with the façade that it was the same as business or something formal. He was using first day (the day after you get the syllabus) in Intro to Economics class terms to help run the Barksdale organization. He tried to make it as least dirty as humanly possible. However, his street attitude from his days with Avon and all the other boys flared up and that was his downfall. Marlo was the one who liked being dirty.

Stringer was the dirtiest person in the entire series.  For someone who didn't like to be dirty, he sure seemed to always be doing the dirtiest things.  Avon was a gangsta, and he understood what that meant.  Stringer is the dude who thinks he's better than Avon, because he wears a suit, goes to college, and tries to get into legitimate business.  Avon did all types of shit, but all of it was in the game.  Stringer was the type of dude who would bump into you, because he's not paying attention.  Instead of apologizing like a normal person he'd try to convince you it is your fault.  The entire show is about people playing dirty games, but Stringer was the only one outchea trying to pretend he was clean.  He's the worst.  I have much more respect for Marlo, Avon, Omar, Snoop, Chris, Slim Charles, Bodie, Monk, Michael, Poot, DeAngelo, etc.

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14 minutes ago, J.T. said:

Stringer wanted the business to run efficiently, not humanely, bro. He definitely enjoyed the things that being a top tier drug dealer afforded him and he knew he couldn't enjoy those things making legit money or being a legit business owner.  Stringer liked being dirty. Marlo liked doing dirt.

 

Spoiler Alert:

That's what was his demise. He was trying to go legit so bad (even as far as doing something without going to Levy first). He just didn't know that two things would cross paths and that would spell his end.

My point is what supreme is kinda saying. He "tried" to be clean versus someone like Marlo was out here stacking bodies and didn't care about the reasons for it. I would never say Stringer wasn't dirty. Stringer was doing dirt whenever Avon was locked up. Everything else was ran through Avon. Left to his own devices, Stringer Bell was a fucking moron. Looking at the meeting he had with Levy after Clay Davis did the long con on him. Levy is how white people think of people like Stringer. Too clever for their own good and using faux street smarts to pretend their smarter than everyone else.

When Marlo got out, Levy tried to extend that same "olive branch" of being a business man to him. You see how that worked out? If Stringer had that option (going to jail with Avon and Wee Bay vs. being a made business man) that was passed to Marlo, he would have met everyone in that room twice and talked about his samurai sword collection at his house.

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16 minutes ago, Elsalvajeloco said:

Spoiler Alert:

That's what was his demise. He was trying to go legit so bad (even as far as doing something without going to Levy first). He just didn't know that two things would cross paths and that would spell his end.

My point is what supreme is kinda saying. He "tried" to be clean versus someone like Marlo was out here stacking bodies and didn't care about the reasons for it. I would never say Stringer wasn't dirty. Stringer was doing dirt whenever Avon was locked up. Everything else was ran through Avon. Left to his own devices, Stringer Bell was a fucking moron. Looking at the meeting he had with Levy after Clay Davis did the long con on him. Levy is how white people think of people like Stringer. Too clever for their own good and using faux street smarts to pretend their smarter than everyone else.

When Marlo got out, Levy tried to extend that same "olive branch" of being a business man to him. You see how that worked out? If Stringer had that option (going to jail with Avon and Wee Bay vs. being a made business man) that was passed to Marlo, he would have met everyone in that room twice and talked about his samurai sword collection at his house.

If you gave Stringer truth serum and asked him if he was a criminal, he would have said no.  He had no idea who he was as a man, and took it out on others.  Avon, Marlo, Omar and everyone else knew exactly who they were and played the game accordingly.  Stringer had no idea who he was and was essentially a failure because of it.

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Based on his last bonding moment with Avon, he would have said "Yes, but hear me out!'. Everything Stringer did had to come with a caveat. If he didn't know or honestly didn't think he was a criminal, he would have not tried to make that transition so hard. It's like Escobar when he buys the tie off the dude in the first season of Narcos before trodding into an assembly meeting. You know who you are. Most importantly, everyone knows who you are or will learn in the immediate future. I think Stringer's identity problem came into play with him not knowing that other people had the same ability to treat him like he was treating others and the Barksdale foot soldiers. The same way he was talking elastic vs. inelastic products and forcing people to listen to that bullshit, he was eating up Clay Davis' bullshit by the bowl with a shiny spoon because Davis is a better bullshit artist and that's his profession. Same with Levy. At the end of The Wire, those dudes are free and able to continue profit off of dumb people and drug dealers. Many times, falling under the same category.

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I think I would place Marlo, Levy, The Greek and Clay Davis ahead of Stringer on the despicable Wire heels list. Marlo was evil in human form, man. He had that security guard killed for legit no reason.  Stringer always had a reason, even if it was a shitty one.

Bubbles is the top face and I won't hear any arguments about that one.

I'm not sure how I would rank my favorite characters, but I can narrow it down to a top 6: Bodie, Bubbles, McNulty, Bunny, Omar and Lester.

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I would agree with that, but Marlo had a shitty reason for killing that guy too. He wanted that guy to back down, and he didn't because he wanted to just do his job.

I would add Partlow to that list. 

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16 minutes ago, Elsalvajeloco said:

I would agree with that, but Marlo had a shitty reason for killing that guy too. He wanted that guy to back down, and he didn't because he wanted to just do his job.

If there was someone else in the scene I would say it was to protect his image, but no one else saw it AND he got the last word in (a great quote, at that). I guess he did have a reason, but it was simply personal enjoyment.  Stringer was a complete dick, but Marlo was something else entirely. 

Edit: Yeah, I would probably add Chris and Snoop ahead of Stringer on the despicable heels list.  At least with Chris, you had that under-the-surface (something terrible happened in his childhood) story and you never got the sense he enjoyed his work. Marlo seemed to relish in it.

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20 minutes ago, Elsalvajeloco said:

I would agree with that, but Marlo had a shitty reason for killing that guy too. He wanted that guy to back down, and he didn't because he wanted to just do his job.

I would add Partlow to that list. 

I disagree, those guys are murderers and own the fact that they are murderers.  Stringer was a murderer and tried to convince himself and everyone else that he wasn't a murder.  Marlo's entire business model was based on intimidation, he couldn't let anyone get away with defying him.  Avon and Stringer built their business the same way, but when the going got tough Stringer tried to negotiate.  When Avon was locked up, Stringer tried to negotiate his way back to the top, then threw temper tantrums when people didn't agree with him.  That isn't the game, the game dope game is all about muscle.  Everyone knew the rules with Avon, Stringer was just making shit up as he went along.  Stringer is Roger Goodell.  He thought he could play football without anyone getting tackled, Marlo, Avon, Chris, etc. knew the only way to win the game is to tackle and tackle hard.  It isn't pretty, but that is the game they all chose.  

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Ok.. no. Stringer is the more complex character, but that doesn't make him worse than Marlo simply because he doesn't understand who he is. What a character thinks of himself is really irrelevant when we are judging his actions. Not to say Stringer wasn't a great heel, but there were some really evil dudes on this show who either A. killed more people or B. negatively affected more people.

I would like to make an addition to my more evil than String list: Marlo, The Greek, Clay Davis, Levy AND the black cop who preyed on the community/broke kids fingers/was a general asshole.

Honorable mentions: Wee Bey, Chris, Snoop.  I'm not sure where to rank the foot soldiers, I guess, but at least Wee Bey had a redemptive moment in season 4.

 

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4 minutes ago, supremebve said:

I disagree, those guys are murderers and own the fact that they are murderers.  Stringer was a murderer and tried to convince himself and everyone else that he wasn't a murder.  Marlo's entire business model was based on intimidation, he couldn't let anyone get away with defying him.  Avon and Stringer built their business the same way, but when the going got tough Stringer tried to negotiate.  When Avon was locked up, Stringer tried to negotiate his way back to the top, then threw temper tantrums when people didn't agree with him.  That isn't the game, the game dope game is all about muscle.  Everyone knew the rules with Avon, Stringer was just making shit up as he went along.  Stringer is Roger Goodell.  He thought he could play football without anyone getting tackled, Marlo, Avon, Chris, etc. knew the only way to win the game is to tackle and tackle hard.  It isn't pretty, but that is the game they all chose.  

That doesn't disqualify you being a villain though. Just because you own up to being a racist doesn't make you a good person for recognizing that. The thing is Marlo's model ain't the first of its type and certainly won't be the last. Alpo Martinez was a ruthless motherfucker, but he wasn't the first and surely wasn't going to be the last of his kind. Once they took away Chris and Snoop (in essence the same way Baltimore detail helped take away Avon's infrastructure), Marlo had to start over from square one on the corner. Incompetence killed the Barksdale organization whereas Marlo's intimidation racket almost unraveled on several accidental occasions (Chris and Snoop are driving around with evidence in broad daylight).  Even if someone like Marlo does build back up, now they have more than enough intel on him especially compared to when they thought he was just some dude who might be a Barksdale acquaintance/low level enforcer type.

 

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While we did have a Wire thread - no one was using it so I am creating a new one.

That's the old one (which I will close).

I am closing this just until I get the other posts moved in - then feel free to have at it again

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When you really think about it, the Greek and by connection Spiros are probably the biggest heels in the game because they're international and you really don't know WHAT the fuck they've been doing. Forced prostitution is on a level on the immorality scale with murder to me, and maybe above it. 

And yeah we should probably just move this to the Wire thread if it still exists

EDIT: Oh man, what about the corrupt FBI guy played by the old dude from Oz? He's supposed to be legit AND he's letting them do their thing. That's just as bad as the players like Levi and Clay at least. 

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