Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Friday Night Links

with one comment

* So the Romney campaign is imploding earlier than scheduled. Mitt Romney’s unnecessary lie. MeFi. Josh Marshall says we’ll know the story’s really turned when the former chair of the McCain campaign says release the tax records.

* The grammar news is that Dr. Elaine Stotko, from the School of Education at Johns Hopkins University, and her student, Margaret Troyer, have discovered that school children in Baltimore are using the slang word yo as a gender-neutral singular pronoun.

* Dan Harmon talks to Marc Maron on Attack of the Show about what the hell happened.

In Hell, “We Shall Be Free”: On Breaking Bad. 

At the heart of the social critique is a question of responsibility for “evil” and where to locate it (even though, of course, none of the series refer to “God” or any religious tradition at all). In The Wire, the responsibility lies with the “game” — the logic of the streets, the logic of politics, the “social facts” that weave an all-encompassing, interconnected web. The Sopranos suggests that the locus of responsibility lies in the unconscious of Tony Soprano; its explanation of “evil” is at heart Freudian. Mad Menlargely evades this question; its driving philosophy has little to do with “moralistic” questions of human responsibility but rather the individual’s abiding unhappiness, and how modern capitalism intensifies it. (That a group of libertarians recently threw a “Mad Men” themed party, unironically championing Don Draper as a hero of better times when corporations weren’t “ashamed” of themselves, only underscores the slippery-ness of Mad Men, the manipulability of its message. That, or these particular libertarians don’t know how to read.)

Within this quartet, Breaking Bad is most similar to The Wire, and indeed is its twin and mirror image. While The Wire explored how the drug trade decimated black urban America, Breaking Bad looks at how drugs infiltrate the other half: suburban white America. A unifying, coherent philosophy is possessed by each, and both execute it propulsively and faithfully. David Simon likened The Wire to a Greek tragedy, by which he meant that sociology is an omnipotent, merciless god that twirls with the fate of mortals. In Breaking Bad the villain is not sociology, but a human being; what destroys the mortals is not a system, but a fellow mortal. This is a human-centered vision of the origin of evil. It is Old Testament at its core.

Just Another Princess Movie.

What Terry Sullivan’s Reinstatement at U. Va Really Tells Us about the Future of Higher Ed.

* The headline reads, “Daniel Tosh Reportedly Scrambling to Find Non-Rape Joke Before New Show Premieres Today.” This story gets worse the deeper you go.

* World War Z fiasco watch: Brad Pitt refuses to speak to the director.

* Should the Nittany Lions get the NCAA “death penalty”? What a horrible mess.

* Is Amazon really going to launch same-day delivery? Sorry, Mom and Pop, but this doesn’t look good.

* And the “worst idea ever put forth by anyone, ever” contest has been reopened in light of the forthcoming Twins sequel.

One Response

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Mitt “Ferris Boyle” Romney, CEO of GothCorp, I mean Bain Capitol, shown here in this rare archival footage doing what he does best, starting at around the 8:30 mark: http://bit.ly/MnWCve

    I know you’ll appreciate the Batman reference. The resemblance really is uncanny, isn’t it?

    Mustafa

    July 13, 2012 at 11:45 pm


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: