Sunday, February 10, 2008

Well That's Mighty White of You

Unlike most of The Wire's dedicated viewing public, I've never been enamored with Detective Jimmy McNulty

Some people love his compulsion to speak truth to power and his unrelenting focus on making the Baltimore Police Department live up to its ideals.

I don't.

Not because those are bad qualities, but because of the way "McNutty" (shout out to Bubbs) accomplishes his goals.

He's arrogant, he's unreliable and he's selfish. Not only is it clear in how he conducts himself in his private life, but in how he interacts with his fellow police officers. He doesn't consider the world from any point of view but his own, he always believes that his priorities are the only important ones.

That's mighty white of him.

On the latest episode of The Wire it's clear Jimmy boy feels his ill-planned scheme to create a fake serial killer is falling apart. So of course, a stand up "po-leese" like Jimmy acknowledges his eff ups and tries to figure out another way to attack the problem.


Instead, Jimmy lashes out at Lester Freamon, the only other police officer to be completely involved in his harebrained scheme. He blames Lester because the investigation isn't moving fast enough; he blames Lester for misleading him about how much manpower would be needed to capture Marlo. He even has the nerve to call Lester a "supervisor's nightmare."


Never once does he acknowledge that maybe his whole plan was just stupid, never once does he assume responsibility for miscalculating what the police department's response would be to his increasingly perverted serial killer.

Sound familiar?

I know it did to me. Ever time I watch Jimmy in action I'm reminded of the amazing arrogance of many white people. In many different situations in my life I've come face to face with that very arrogance. Personally, I attribute this to the white privilege that is prevalent in every aspect of American society.

And it made me think about the race for the Democratic nomination.

It's clear in how Billary and their surrogates have handled the challenge by Obama that they are firm believers in white privilege. Their reaction to his increasingly viable run for the Democratic nomination has been steeped in a belief that they are entitled to eight more years in the White House just because they want it.

When the Clintons accused Obama of playing the race card after they tried to use his race to scare off white voters, it was arrogance. When they trotted out Negro leader after Negro leader to question Obama's blackness, it was arrogance. Bill's quip about Jesse Jackson after Obama's South Carolina primary win, and Hillary's chiding of Obama for failing to shake her hand before the State of the Union address demonstrated that arrogance.

The Clintons operate under the belief that when they want something, the world should shape itself to that desire. There are no rules that apply to them, no other concerns that are more important than their own. No one is justfied in calling them on their bullshit. No one has the moral authority to question anything they do.

Just like Jimmy.

That's mighty white of them.


Anonymous said...

Frankly watching McNulty has made this entire season a downer.

It is impossible to take anyone seriously who is known to handle his day job with a bottle of Jameson's and vents off to statues of Lord Baltimore.

Now BUNK on the otherhand....there is a real murder police.

Big Man said...

I agree completely. Now that Bunk has limited his interaction with McNulty, I've grown to appreciate him much more.

I was telling my wife that what Bunk is doing by going back over all the murders, is a perfect counterpoint to what McNulty is doing with the fake serial killer. Bunk is saying that he's going to break this case regardless of the circumstances by just putting in the extra work. McNulty is saying that he's only going to solve this case if everybody gives him what he wants.

It's a perfect contrast.

Raving Black Lunatic