"The thing is, if you just do stuff, and nothing happens, what's it all mean?"

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Vertical Integration: A "Free" Market Meth-aphor

All Your (Free) Base are Belong to Capitalism

Less Pithy Subtitle: A(live) Free(or/and Die) Fallin' Marked-Up-it Meth-Apor(isms)

"Get them coming and going, twice as much revenue and no worries about new customers—as long as American life was something to be escaped from, the cartel would always be sure of a bottomless pool of customers” (192" Inherent Vice

"We're gonna make a lot of money together" Tuco and Lydia

Breaking Bad does not attempt to be a work of art like The Wire: a show which focuses on the literal manifestations of the drug culture (though, even The Wire didn't focus on the overall experience of drug use, instead using the drug trade and its victims as auxillary to a broader exposure of systematic abuses and bureaucratic cycles).

One friend of mine from New Mexico doesn't watch the show; one reason being that meth abuse isn't too big an issue, with heroin being the real epidemic (though, she also presumptiously dislikes the show because "Albuquerque is a horrible, ugly place," so I really couldn't take her "realist" stance seriously).

If we were to read the shows representation of drug culture at face value, then it opens up the racialized interpretation of the show being a representation of white superiority midst mostly Latino "adversaries."

Drug addiction serves as a thematic parallel to Walt's impulsive desires and self-deception (interestingly, it is always been Walt is actually intoxicated that truth slips through and ruptures his psychic deception
(See this previous post for a differant take on the meaning of alcohol use in the show[LINK])

-Season 2 "Over," Walter's drunken intoxication and guilty conscience lead to his Heisenberg persona's first entry into his domestic life.
-Season 2, "ABQ," Before his cancer surgey, Walt is hopped up on medications. It is during this real fugue state that he reveals his second cell phone to Skylar.
-Season 4, "Salud," In the aftermath of his fight (i.e. "smack-down") with Jesse, Walt is drunk and on pain pills, breaking down and exposing his vulnerability to Walt Jr.

Other series that featured drug abuse/addiction as an important thematic element:
-The Sopranos
-24 (Season 3, Jack's Heroin addiction, and numerous sub characters that were junkies or involved in the drug trade)

Spotlight Episodes:

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