All in the Game At Harvard

The New York Post reports:

“The Wire,” HBO’s gritty series about life in the Baltimore ghetto, is about to become a course at Harvard.

The announcement came at a panel discussion at the school featuring several of the show’s stars, according to the Harvard student newspaper, The Crimson.

The class will be taught by sociology professor William J. Wilson, one of the best-known African American history professors in the country, who has made no secret of the fact that he is a huge fan of the show.

“I do not hesitate to say that it has done more to enhance our understanding of the challenges of urban life and the problems of urban inequality, more than any other media event or scholarly publication,” Wilson told the audience before poking fun at himself, “including studies by social scientitsts. [sic]”

Yes yes yes. A thousand times, yes. I say this as someone who thinks the show is astoundingly brilliant (not a particularly unique opinion, I admit), save for parts of the fifth season, but I’d be hard pressed to come up with another piece of entertainment that is both wildly entertaining and rife for endless academic discussion.

Apparently Harvard’s faculty wasn’t the first to acknowledge that HBO’s masterpiece deserves this sort of treatment: there have already been classes on The Wire at Duke and Middlebury.

Jesse Singal

Jesse Singal is a former opinion writer for The Boston Globe and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. He is currently a master's student at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Policy. Follow him on Twitter at @jessesingal.