Length: 3:09; 1:34
Access: YouTube (clip 1; clip 2)
Summary: [Trigger Warning: these clips use extensive profanity and racial slurs.] In the first of these 2 scenes from HBO's The Wire (season 1, episodes 1 and 3), D'Angelo teaches Bodie and Wallace how to play chess. He likens each chess piece to a member of the gang hierarchy, illustrating the stratification structure and his consciousness of it. For example, the king is at the top of the hierarchy and allowed to do what he wants, the queen moves where ever she wants and gets work done, while the pawns protect the king. Like the upper class within a rigid capitalist structure, there is also little mobility within the structure: "the king stay the king" even though he "doesn't do shit"; "everything stay who he is" ... unless "they are some smart ass pawns" and can climb the hierarchy. In the second scene, the characters discuss value and production within capitalism. While enjoying a fast food lunch, Wallace suggests that whoever invented Chicken McNugges must be extremely rich because of their popularity, but D'Angelo explains that the worker who invented chicken McNuggets "is just some sad ass sittin' in the basment of McDonalds thinkin' up some shit to make some money for the real players." This reflects Marx's labor theory of value, which explains how capitalism is structured to extract value from the workers (the true source of value) and funnel it into the hands of the owners (i.e. "Ronald McDonald" or more accurately, the stockholders). When Bodie responds "that ain't right", D'Angelo says "Fuck right. It ain't about right; it's about money" and explains that whoever invented the McNuggets is still "working in the basement for regular wage thinking of some shit to make the fries taste better." Both clips illustrate D'Angelo's consciousness of the class system, and its inherent injustice. Viewers may also be interested in the restaurant scene from The Wire that examines cultural capital.
Submitted By: Paul Dean