I haven’t finished The Wire yet, but I am reasonably confident that the best piece of dialogue in the whole series occurs pretty early on in the very first episode, where a detective is trying to persuade a judge to cut some corners. “This is a republic of laws” says one. “This is Baltimore” replies the other,and shuts the conversation down. It’s part of the ambiguities of the series that I can’t remember who in this exchange was playing the cynic and who the idealist. It could just as well have been either. They’d swap roles anyway within five minutes.
Now go and read Glenn Greenwald on the sanctity of contracts in American law, with reference to
- (a) rich people’s pension plans and
- (b) poor people’s pension plans.