The Chatter

Breaking Beer: O’Malley and Simon

The Maryland governor and The Wire creator make peace over Coronas on Amtrak.

David Simon and Gov. Martin O’Malley sharing beers and singing Irish songs together? Who could’ve imagined?

Simon doesn’t regularly post to his blog, “The Audacity of Despair,” but when he does it’s worth a read, including this past Friday.

The Wire creator and longtime O’Malley nemesis wrote about his recent Amtrak encounter with the former Baltimore mayor, describing a civilized truce in hostilities. In the short piece, Simon credits a text from his 20-year-old son, who suggested buying O’Malley a beer, which Simon did, as a gesture of a goodwill. He also credits the “Acela cocoon,” the shared experience of traveling several hours in tight quarters for breaking down the barriers between the fellow travelers returning home from New York.

After accepting the beer, O’Malley, according to Simon, encouraged to him to have a seat, saying, “Come on, Dave, we’re getting to be old men at this point. Sit, talk.”

O’Malley “still hates The Wire with a taut fury,” Simon writes, alluding to the show’s dark portrayal of the drug war and its prosecution—and inner city life, in general—under fictional Baltimore Mayor Tommy Carcetti, often viewed as an O’Malley stand-in. But the pair found common ground around O’Malley’s immigration position and brouhaha with the Obama administration last week, as well as their mutual love of the Irish folk-punk band The Pogues. The pair lamented the death of former Pogues guitarist Philip Chevron last year and even sang a few lyrics to together.

At the end of the comment page on his blog, Simon also notes that he appreciates O’Malley’s work on issues other than immigration, such as ending the death penalty in Maryland and support for gay rights. No word if Simon was encouraging of O’Malley’s presidential aspirations, however. Too soon, perhaps.

Much of the conversation was off the record, Simon reports, but he does include a shared joke about their long-running feud at the end of piece:

“As the train neared Baltimore, the governor suggested that perhaps we both suffered from Irish—or as I know the joke, Jewish—Alzheimers. As he explained, “That’s where you…”

‘…only remember the grudges,’ I finished.”