as students know, i'm not exactly the most voracious reader. that said, i locked onto the corner with the sort of guiltily intense interest with which i listen to shirley manson* and courtney love. set in baltimore, the corner is sort of half-ethnography and half-soap opera, written by baltimore sun reporter david simon and ex-homicide detective edward burns.
after reading their journalistic account, i pumped the ethnographers in my department for information. was it accurate? why wasn't sociology this intriguing? they said it had something to do with where, whether, and how the information was gleaned and/or completely fabricated (e.g., how do they actually know that she lit up a kool on the front steps of the stoop?).
ANYWAY, if you know the book, i believe that i dined this friday at the place young DeAndre worked boilin' crabs. perhaps unsurprisingly, a young gun and his entourage tried to punk me in said establishment. the fellow set his drink on my table, barking all manner of offensiveness to his boys at the bar and his girlfriend via cellphone (and, hence, via my face) . i felt like a competing mammal defending my turf, as a rival urinated/established dominance over the territory that included my half-dozen steamed garlic crabs. i was cool (hey, i'm just visitin', and too harmless to be anything but cool these days), though i paid cash and got out of there quick.
baltimore has some major issues, to be sure, but it is truly a great and beautiful american city. i took time from the meetings to journey to fells point, where david simon's late, lamented homicide was shot. john waters also returns to baltimore just as faulkner did to oxford, mississippi. if you haven't read and/or seen the corner and the charm city, both are highly recommended.
* btw, i'm deluded enough to believe that had i remained in madison and connected with butch vig and shirley manson, playing guitars and writing lyrics for garbage, and (let's be honest here) being the only dude in the band with actual hair, we'd be bigger than u2 by now. if i brought tor in on bass, it would be extra large and chili pepper funky. garbage + uggens = anthemic with a beat.