“In that land the great experiment was to be made, by civilized man, of the attempt to construct society upon a new basis; and it was there, for the first time, that theories hitherto unknown, or deemed impracticable, were to exhibit a spectacle for which the world had not been prepared by the history of the past.”

Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

…constructing a society upon a new basis. American government was an experiment as its interests were defined by affinities, organizations, and preferences. Importance was ascribed by merit: a new concept.

“His shit was as weak as ours, no question. But Ray Cole stood with us. All of us. In Baltimore. Working. Sharing a dark corner of the American experiment. He was called. He served. He. Is. Counted.”

Jay Landsman eulogizes Ray Cole, The Wire, “Dead Soldiers”

In the Wire, David Simon and Ed Burns showcase a result of Tocqueville’s inquiries. Baltimore’s institutions, citizens, successes and failures, what even constitutes a success or a failure, are products of this great experiment. The structures and practices that make these worlds, our realities, are immense, interwoven, and full of context.

An American in Seoul

doesn’t have the same ring as it does Paris. But the concept might not be too far off. Through my experiences, I am an American. It is foundational to the way I view and therefore experience the rest of the world. It is with this understanding that I begin my journey.

Whether or not it is a play on a bar-eulogy delivered in a cinematic representation of an American city or an acquiescence that the situation I find myself in might not be so unique, this American Experiment is mine.

Will I be counted? Meh. That’s less important than living.


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