By Margaret Lyons
Updated September 28, 2010 at 05:55 PM EDT

Image Credit: Skip Bolen/Getty ImagesThe John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced the recipients of its “genius” grants today, and The Wire and Treme creator David Simon was among them. MacArthur Fellows receive $500,000 over five years, no strings attached.

“I can’t go in and wave Emmy awards, and I can’t go in and wave Nielsen ratings,” Simon says (hee) in his acceptance video, but he can brag about being part of this ultra-elite group.

In the context of sign-language linguistics, say, or stone carving, I’d like to believe that $500,000 goes a long way. But in television, that’s not even enough to make a pilot on most networks. It’s a sort of demented contrast in values. Thanks, America!

Okay, PopWatchers, you be the committee: Who in entertainment would you give a genius grant to?