The Wire creator David Simon on "America as a Horror Show"

Above: The Wire creator David Simon suggested that Tom Perkins sell his $300,000 wristwatch and use the proceeds to open a couple of drug rehab centers in Baltimore.

From Bill Moyers' essay, Advice to Plutocrat Perkins: Time to Shut Up!:

“I don’t regret the message at all,” [Tom Perkins] said. “Anytime the majority starts to demonize the minority, no matter what it is, it’s wrong and dangerous and no good comes from it.”

[in this Bloomberg TV interview] Perkins also said that he has family “living in trailer parks,” but bragged like some cackling James Bond villain that he owns “an airplane that flies underwater” and a wristwatch that “could buy a six-pack of Rolexes.” That watch, on prominent display during the Bloomberg interview, is a Richard Mille, a charming little timepiece that can retail for more than $300,000. At that price, a watch shouldn’t just tell you the time, it should allow you to travel through it, perhaps back to the Gilded Age or Versailles in 1789, just as the tumbrils rolled in. Here in the office, our $85 Timex and Seiko watches have crossed their hands over their faces in shame.

That Richard Mille watch triggered TV producer David Simon’s comment on Moyers & Company that it should be sold and used to open drug treatment centers in Baltimore, the city where Simon was a crime reporter and which served as the backdrop and central character of his classic HBO series The Wire.

Notable Replies

  1. I don't think David Simon is actually suggesting that police should take Perkins' watch by force and give the money to drug addicts. He's using the watch as one example of how people at the top are now so many orders of magnitude better off than people at the bottom that they might as well be living in a completely different plane of existence.

    A couple of generations ago a "financially successful" CEO might have made ten times as much as the average worker. Now the number is somewhere north of 300 times as much as the average worker. Just because people want to push that ratio back toward where it was for most of our country's history doesn't mean they want to "make it impossible to attain any sort of financial success."

    You may not understand why the vast and ever-growing chasm between the rich and the poor is a problem, but wealth is a very real measure of power. The means to influence this country's economy or political process is falling to an ever-shrinking number of ultra-rich people: even if the bottom 50% of all Americans rallied together for a common goal they could be outspent by a handful of Wal-Mart heirs. That's bad for Democracy and it's bad for the long-term prospects of our country.

  2. When I was a small boy my mom got tired of me not cleaning up my room, and finally took all the toys off the floor and put them in garbage bags in the basement. If only I had known that saying "this is like when the Nazis invaded Poland!" was a trump card I could use against her in my temper tantrum.

  3. The moment someone with a net worth of > $100 million is actually murdered by a mentally stable person whose net worth is < $500 and who declares the reason for the murder to be class-based, I'll take this class warfare bullshit seriously. Until then, I'm pretty sure you and your watch and your big house can handle it. Fuckin' crybaby.

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