Let’s be honest, David Simon is an exhausting follow. The Baltimore reporter-turned-creator of The Wire, Treme, The Deuce, and the upcoming The Plot Against America is completely, totally brilliant, but he’s also verbose to a point of self-parody. We used to find it charming, but now we’re one “fuckmook” away from smashing that “unfollow” button. The man just can’t not engage with his trolls. That said, if someone’s going to make uninformed attacks on the city of Baltimore, there are fewer responses we want to see than that of Simon’s, who’s spent his entire life writing about the city’s systemic issues both as a journalist and a TV writer.
On Saturday, our messy president began spewing bile in the direction of Rep. Elijah Cummings, calling Cummings’ Maryland district a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” where “no human being” would want to live after the politician sought to criticize the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border. It didn’t take long for Simon to respond.
“If this empty-suit, race-hating fraud had to actually visit West Baltimore for five minutes and meet any of the American citizens who endure there, he’d wet himself,” Simon tweeted in response to Trump’s screed. It didn’t stop there, either; Simon appeared to respond to just about every MAGA chud trying to defend the president, emphasizing the degree to which Trump cares nothing for the actual complexities of the city’s struggles, the likes of which Simon famously unpacked in The Wire. “It means the president, if he stepped out of his limo and found himself suddenly a racial minority, would wet himself on that fundamental alone. The humanity of those he encountered could not matter to him; only their lack of whiteness and his discomfort. So he won’t come.” Later, he added, “He’s simply used the city and its struggles to chase a Congressman who is black and has criticized him. Trump, a racist deserving of much criticism, can abide neither. He cares nothing about the problems, their complexity, or Baltimore.”
Simon wasn’t the only Wire alum to stand up for the city. Dominic West, who starred as rebellious detective Jimmy McNulty asked in an e-mail to The Guardian what “a lonely, hysterical neurotic who uses hand cleanser all day understand about a vibrant community like Baltimore?” He added, “Martin Amis said of Fred West the serial killer that he was a ‘colossus of mendacity’. It’s an apt description of Trump.”
Filmmaker John Waters, another Baltimore alum who’s long found ample inspiration in the city, also spoke out against Trump’s comments. “Give me the rats and roaches of Baltimore any day over the lies and racism of your Washington, Mr Trump,” Waters said in an e-mail to ARTnews. “Come on over to that neighborhood and see if you have the nerve to say it in person!”
And then there’s the Balitmore Sun’s own blistering response:
In pointing to the 7th, the president wasn’t hoping his supporters would recognize landmarks like Johns Hopkins Hospital, perhaps the nation’s leading medical center. He wasn’t conjuring images of the U.S. Social Security Administration, where they write the checks that so many retired and disabled Americans depend upon. It wasn’t about the beauty of the Inner Harbor or the proud history of Fort McHenry. And it surely wasn’t about the economic standing of a district where the median income is actually above the national average. No, he was returning to an old standby of attacking an African American lawmaker from a majority black district on the most emotional and bigoted of arguments. It was only surprising that there wasn’t room for a few classic phrases like “you people” or “welfare queens” or “crime-ridden ghettos” or a suggestion that the congressman “go back” to where he came from.
All this is to say is that, should you tire of Simon’s relentless use of insults of like “gibbering, submenial troll” and “useless taint,” there’s no shortage of other defenses from people who have a history with the city. Simon’s, though, might be the best entertaining.