'The Wire's" Most Profound Scene: Cutty's Decision To Leave The Game

'The Wire's" Most Profound Scene: Cutty's Decision To Leave The Game

"He a man today."
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For a scene to be called the best scene in the best show of all time, "The Wire," it has to be something special.

For context, Dennis "Cutty" Wise is an ex-convict former "soldier," an enforcer for a drug organization essentially responsible for killing people that his superiors wanted dead. He developed a such a strong respected reputation during his time that he was immediately sought out by Avon Barksdale while both were in prison. As rumor had it, he was arrested when he called the police from the scene of a murder he committed.

Upon being released, however, Cutty wants to do something else. However, for an ex-convict that didn't graduate high school, options for employment are limited. Although he tries to do landscaping work, the local Deacon, a religious community figure, suggests he get his GED. Not interested and with options limited, he starts working as an enforcer again for the Barksdale Organization.

Cutty immediately shows his competence with each and every operation he performs for the organization. However, in one instance where Cutty and another enforcer, Slim Charles, are hired to kill a rival dealer, Fruit, Cutty clearly has the kid in his sights, but cannot pull the trigger, giving the kid the opportunity to run away.

From this incident, it's clear that Cutty's conscience will not allow him to be an enforcer anymore. In a meeting with Avon where Slim Charles and Cutty, they discuss why Fruit survived the operation. Cutty admits his shortcoming:

Cutty: "I couldn't squeeze the trigger. Couldn't do it, man."

Avon: "Why not?"

Cutty: "Wasn't in me, I guess."

Avon then offers Cutty another role within the organization, standing on a corner and dealing drugs. But Cutty refuses.

Cutty: "No, man, I ain't making myself clear. The game ain't in me no more. None of it."

Avon: "But you don't got shit else, you know what I'm saying? So what you gonna do?"

Cutty: "I don't know, but it can't be this."

This, to me, is the most pivotal scene in not only Cutty's character development but also one of the most important in the show. The entire character arc of one of the most memorable characters in the show, Stringer Bell, is his attempt to leave "the Game" of drug dealing. Clearly, the Game is all-consuming in the lives of the people in it.

Several die when they try to leave. Several die when it's even suspected or rumored that they snitched and talked to the police, and it says something that it takes someone of Cutty's level of respect and stature within the Game to pull something like this off.

For Cutty, this decision meant potentially losing everything. Although the Game wasn't in him anymore as an enforcer, and although it was toxic for his new moral code, leaving the Game meant incredible financial and economic uncertainty. Cutty lived with his grandmother for most of the series. Leaving the Game meant embracing incredible anxiety.

But Cutty becomes one of the few positive beacons of light and hope in "The Wire." He reforms himself by running a gym for community kids and getting them off the corners and away from the Game, with the help of the Deacon. At one point, he takes a bullet for a kid trying to get him off the streets, and in a memorable scene in Season 5, Cutty tells a kid having trouble holding it together on the streets, Dukie, that "the world is bigger than this," giving him hope.

And Cutty's decision to leave the game, despite how hard it is, is inspirational not only for people in situations like his, but for everyone. It takes a lot of courage, strength, and resilience to accept that something you've been doing your whole life, something you know very well and are good at, isn't for you anymore. To embrace change and start completely over at square one is the last thing most people want to do, yet Cutty saw it as the only option.

It's sad that it takes Cutty's level of spiritual and moral reckoning to enact this change in life, but his story shows that we're all capable of reform. It's just hard and uncertain. For an ex-convict without a high school diploma, what was he supposed to do? Where could he go next?

"I don't know, but it can't be this," has stayed as one of my favorite lines from the show. It is a rejection of the current state of affairs, and no, Cutty's life from there wasn't perfect, and he experienced various failures and sufferings in running his gym, but this decision in this scene put him on a path to change his life. That is something that everyone has to admire.

After Cutty leaves, Slim and Avon discuss Cutty's situation and his decision to leave the Game, and at this point, it speaks volumes that even Avon, the head of a drug organization, respects Cutty's decision profoundly.

Slim: "He was a man in his time, you know?"

Avon: "He a man today."

Cover Image Credit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckcbl9nxb34

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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Sociolinguistics Series: Part 50

Language is a powerful tool.

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It's part 50--halfway to 100! I'm so glad to still be here writing! In this section, we will talk about Dr. Shikaki's findings on how Palestinians view the state of Israel.

25 years ago, 85% of Palestinians supported a two-state solution. 10 years ago, this number decreased to 70%. Dr. Shikaki believes this was due to an increase in the prominence of Islamism in Palestinian society during the second intifada; Islamists were opposed to the two-state solution. In the most recent survey, the December 2018 one, only 43% of Palestinians supported the two state solution.

In 2000, American President Bill Clinton met with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and PA Chairman Yasser Arafat at the Camp David Summit to come up with a solution to the conflict. It ended without an agreement, but in December of 2000, Clinton once again proposed a resolution: the Clinton Parameters.

The content of the Parameters basically allowed Israel to annex settlements while Palestine to take 94-96% of the West Bank, as well as Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. There were other guidelines regarding territory, refugees, security, and the end of the conflict. Essentially, the West Bank would have been split up by Israeli roads and settlements--which is kind of the reality today.

Both the Israeli government and Arafat accepted the terms with reservations, and Arafat wrote to Clinton a letter asking for clarifications on the terms. Clinton and Dennis Ross, an envoy of the Parameters, publicized that Arafat had refused to accept the terms; they painted Palestinians in a negative light, saying that Israel wanted to accept the peace negotiations but Palestine did not.

American Lawyer Robert Malley was at the Camp David Summit and oversaw parts of the Clinton Parameters. In 2001, he said that three myths had come out of the failure of both negotiations, and that these three myths were dangerous to any future peace processes if people kept believing in them.

These myths are as follows: "Camp David was an ideal test of Mr. Arafat's intentions," "Israel's offer met most if not all of the Palestinians' legitimate aspirations," and "The Palestinians made no concession of their own."

He said that these three statements were not true but very heavily publicized by America and Israel after the negotiations failed; rather, there is more nuance to each of these issues, and America and Israel have just as much responsibility in the failure of the Summit and Parameters as Palestine did. Malley wrote, "If peace is to be achieved, the parties cannot afford to tolerate the growing acceptance of these myths as reality."

Anyway, what does this have to do with Dr. Shikaki? He polled Palestinians not only on the their attitudes to the two-state solution, but the Clinton Parameters as well. 25 years ago, there was 60% support for the Clinton Parameters by Palestinians, but the June 2018 poll showed that the number had gone down to 37%.

The last ten years shows a significant decrease in public support for both the two-state solution and the Clinton Parameters, and it could be a result of disagreeing with specific parts of the proposals (such as how the Temple Mount/Dome of the Rock or Jerusalem is delegated).

I did some further digging when I got home, and I found this data from the UN Division for Palestinian Rights website:

"A 25 December [2000] published poll found that 48% of the 501 Israelis questioned were opposed to the proposals; 57% would object to Palestinian control of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound; 72% were against even a limited return of Palestinian refugees to Israel. A 29 December published poll found that 56% of the Israelis would oppose a peace agreement reached on the basis of the Parameters."

This shows that though public media--especially Western media--may have painted the Palestinian government as the villain (and Israel and America as the "victims"), the proposals accepted by either government had varied support among its people.

The Israeli civilian population did not want to accept the Clinton Parameters because of the way certain things would be resolved; their reservations lie with the Temple Mount/Al-Aqsa Mosque because the Temple Mount, which is the holiest site in the world for Jews, would have been given to Palestine, while Jews would have control of the Western Wall of the Temple Mount (which is the status quo).

In addition, there was a section in the Clinton Parameters that dealt with the right of return for Palestinians, where there would be a certain number of Palestinian refugees who settled in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, while other Palestinians either would become citizens of their host countries, move to a third-party country, or settle back into the land that is Israel Proper (with permission from the Israeli government, of course); many Israelis did not support this.

That was the public opinion years ago. Today, there is even less support for these proposals. Dr. Shikaki outlined three issues as reasons for a decrease in support of compromise, which we will cover in the next section. Stay tuned!

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