hazelk: (wallace)
[personal profile] hazelk
Wire vids are sadly few and far between and Wire vids that don’t spoil for seasons I haven’t seen yet even more so but Pursuit of happiness, a Season One D’Angelo study by [livejournal.com profile] cappylicious is a fabulous exception to the rule
The vid like the show it takes its time setting up the game, introducing all the pieces. The payoff finally cuts in with the first chorus and a scene that on first series watch seemed no more than a little light humour about gangster vanity. D’Angelo takes his time deciding what to wear, lovingly cutting the shop tags off designer shirts and jeans, taking a boyish pleasure in unpacking new timberlands from their boxes. It’s not wrong to want things. In America it’s practically constitutional and it isn’t just material things that D’Angelo luxuriates in. What he really wants is more personal. A girl like Shardene who understands him, a big brother/uncle like Avon to joke spar with and who looks out for him, a little brother like Wallace to look out for himself. A mother, although she doesn’t appear until later in the vid, to care about him. These are not wrong things to want. Except that this is a no sum game and in this world happiness is paid for in other people’s misery. In the next verse D’Angelo sells his soul with a telephone call to the devil he knows, setting in motion first Brandon’s death, ultimately Wallace’s and a whole photomontage of bodies named and nameless along the way. Their images intrude, slowly at first but rapidly crowding in until there’s no escape. No “I’ll be good” that can undo what’s been done.

In the second season D’Angelo is explicitly linked to The Great Gatsby and the futility trying to bootstrap second acts from American lives. In hindsight maybe the shirt scene foreshadowed that connection but D’Angelo is no James Gatz yearning from outside in. If any character is a candidate for The Wire’s Gatsby I’d say it was Stringer Bell but that’s a whole other post. D’Angelo Barksdale, by contrast, was born into privilege or close enough to it that if there’s any character from classic American literature he resembles I think it’s Edith Wharton’s Lily Bart. Any further explanation would need another whole other post and my time has run out but think about it. Think about the orgiastic crossover possibilities. The Towers of Mirth.
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hazelk: (Default)

May 2012


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