Call it a self-fulfilling fallacy.
The British rapper Ben Drew (a.k.a. Plan B) is in town to promote his film Ill Manors, a grimy crime drama which marks his scriptwriting and directorial debut. When I asked him about the film's intense violence and dire inner-city circumstances, Drew spoke out against critics who thought his story's ultra-grittiness was exaggerated.
"The reporters who criticize the film for its content, they have no idea of what it's like in that environment," said Drew, who grew up in East London. "These are the people who don't believe it exists. And that's why it still exists."
Drew's heavy picture depicts a cast of drug dealers, toughies and crack whores whose rough-and-tumble lives intersect with each other, often with appalling consequences. As one wag put it, imagine The Wire as directed by Eminem.
"If you deny something exists or ignore it, then it's left to fester, and that's why we have riots," said Drew. "The things in the film all happened. The fiction is that they all happened in one week."