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

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Name of The Rose is A Musical Underture: Caballo Sin Nombre

“Get back on the horse and do what you do best.”
    – Saul Goodman

Ross: And Duncan's horses—a thing most strange and certain— 
Beauteous and swift, the minions of their race, 
Turn'd wild in nature, broke their stalls, flung out, 
Contending 'gainst obedience, as they would make 
War with mankind.
Old Man: 'Tis said they eat each other.
     -William Shakespeare, Macbeth, II.iv

Song Used

"Horse With No Name," by America, 1972.

Complex's feature on "13 Great Songs from Breaking Bad'" mentions "Horse with No Name," but doesn't really elucidate much content. Here goes anyway:

"This band had the audacity to call themselves America, but we'll hand it to them because "A Horse With No Name" is as Americana as deep fried chili cheese nachos and a 44 ounce Coke. From the band's eponymous debut record, "A Horse With No Name" is tale, a desert odyssey of sorts. Folksy acoustic guitar strumming and drum circle percussion provide the instrumentation. But, the most notable aspect of the tune is the "la, la, la la la la, la la la, la, la" refrains throughout. Even four decades after it was composed, the song is instantly recognizable with drunk-at-the-bar-sing-along capabilities."

Song's Meaning within Context of Episode

Episode 3x02 has one of the several Spanish language titles that crop up throughout the series.  

Song's Greater Meaning within and throughout Series

Not speaking to authorial intent, but this particular song is very appropriate for the series and the nature of proving "The Meaning of Breaking Bad is the Meaning of Life" (I'm getting to it...). Divergent readings and elusive meaning shroud America's song, as is the case with much of Breaking Bad's aesthetic.

ShinyAeon writes, "However...there's another metaphorical horse that fits the lyrics of this song even better than the creaky old drug interpretation: the shaman's horse, which is another name for the sound of the drumbeat that carries the shaman into a trance state, into the otherworld on a visionary experience. Such a horse has no name because it isn't flesh and blood, it's a spirit horse made of sound.

To me the song is about a kind of vision quest in the desert...or else a mundane trip that (due to a little too much sunlight or too little water) became a visionary experience to the traveler, and caused a spiritual awakening."


America's song fits into the broad Western Genre iconography

Another song used in this episode is "Magic Arrow," by Timber Timbre. This plays during the scene where Mike bugs the White household, as Walt simultaneously breaks back into the home he'd been in exile from (by eking through the crawl space, a location that gained symbolic resonance in 2x10 "Over," and will later before a transformation nexus at the end of 4x11 "Crawl Space")

"And you saw it from that vantage point
Perimeter scratched on the nation's native hide
And we saw those christian clippers glide
Over white caps and white sails high
Over white knuckles
And you were fine till you saw the pale horse ride
Open up it's gait across the ocean floor
You were fine till you saw the white rider take
And take some more"

When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, "Come and see!" I looked and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hell was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine, plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.
— Revelation 6:7-8

I doubt this was planned, but there's more connections that can be made (more like "forced"), According to Wiki, "The color of Death's horse is written as khlōros (χλωρός) in the original Koine Greek,[15] which can mean either green/greenish-yellow or pale/pallid.[16] The color is often translated as "pale", though "ashen", "pale green", and "yellowish green"[13] are other possible interpretations (the Greek word is the root of "chlorophyll" and "chlorine"). Based on uses of the word in ancient Greek medical literature, several scholars suggest that the color reflects the sickly pallor of a corpse.[3][17] In some modern artistic depictions, the horse is distinctly green[18]"

Bringing all these fragments and hypothetical assumptions back into it, what does the song say .

When Saul tells him 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Breaking Bad's Karmic Cosmogony - Let the Schizoanalysis Unravel!

Illusions commend themselves to us because they save us pain and allow us to enjoy pleasure instead. We must therefore accept it without complaint when they sometimes collide with a bit of reality against which they are dashed to pieces.
-Sigmund Freud

In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.
                                                                                          -Carl Jung

The size and age of the Cosmos are beyond ordinary human understanding. Lost somewhere between immensity and eternity is our tiny planetary home. In a cosmic perspective, most human concerns seem insignificant, even petty. And yet our species is young and curious and brave and shows much promise. In the last few millennia we have made the most astonishing and unexpected discoveries about the Cosmos and our place within it, explorations that are exhilarating to consider. They remind us that humans have evolved to wonder, that understanding is a joy, that knowledge is prerequisite to survival. I believe our future depends on how well we know this Cosmos in which we float like a mote of dust in the morning sky. 
― Carl Sagan

Alright, I had some space. Loving something is like grasping a butterfly; at a certain point you have to let it fly away from your fingertips...lest you risk immediately destroying some beautiful. Sometimes the motivation to write about it flutters out of your visual field (maybe the creature dies off in the distance, and is reborn as an occasionally manic sloth...imaginary spirit animals are weird like that). my last post, the final images of the finale ("Felina," in case instituional memory loss has taken hold...a Breaking Bad Bender can occasionally lead to fragmentation of consciousness and hazy memory recollection...occasionally) accidentally sparked some trippy theories and mind-melting patterns.

I still stand by them, and will even use the quantum-spiritual-meta-spiral as a solid spring board for some even more out there interventions and divergent diddlings. I've tried my hardest to always stay faithful to the content of each episode, but there's so much transcedent gold on the surface that warrants some grand schemeing. We may accidentally get at the truth. And if it's weird, than remember a famous mantra from the show that gave Gilligan his powers...
Whoa...far out, man!

Time to step back and view the series as a complete entity. Gestalt it up, and see what the grand patterns mean. Things are going to get stranger, and I don't want to confuse some of the impending theoretical onslaught with purposeful narrative intent. I tend to go back to Gilligan as the deistic auteur of the series, but the collaborative nature of television creates a series of interconnected yet divergent clergy and prophetic pieces.

Like the head-in-the-clouds idealist that I often am...I made a lot of lofty and seemingly unrealistic promises after I first  created this site. There were countless mystical fragments and fanciful meanderings. To use an idiom Gilligan's dropped before, the chickens will come to roost. This is a sloppy process, but I'm working on piecing together an incomplete puzzle to show that "the meaning of Breaking Bad is the meaning of life."

No worries, those that could care less...there will still be some less-alienating hijinks and more-coherent content added...but it's pretty much been improv-ed from the get-go.

Some seemingly random yet seam-ingly related academic (i.e. alienation-epidemic) frameworks to haphazardly establish...

Subtitle: Haphazardly Established Frameworks.

*Constellation Structure*
-Theodor Adorno.... to warrant such a heady and fragmentary way of interpreting the show (and to justify it as more than just sloppy exposition), the very holisitic structure of the show must necessitate this kind of divergent pattern.

Breaking Bad initially begins to weave this fabric through a strict adherence to science as a metaphor (again...think of the issues of purity and decay within the crystal product as a meth-aphor for grander questions of existence and minute representations of everyday life). With the third season, the show crystallized its thematic undercurrents, using the cosmic cluster-fuck of the plane-collision as a springboard to more surreal scenarios and on overly operatic order.

*Postmodern Spirituality*

"It's certainly possible to lead a solipsistic life, one that boasts, 'Hey, I'm making it real. Who's it going to hurt?' This mentality allows us to think that our actions and inactions take place in a vacuum, but even the faitnest conscious sense of our infinite interconnectedness makes that almost impossible...Whatever we do, there is another generation waiting to learn from our legacy. It is they who must live in the world we make." -                                      -Derrick Bell, Ethical Ambition; Living a Life of Meaning and Worth 175

I've got a smattering of posts and references that have tried to deconstruct the perverse religious

The Hindu religion is the only one of the world’s great faiths dedicated to the idea that the Cosmos itself undergoes an immense, indeed an infinite, number of deaths and rebirths.
It is the only religion in which the time scales correspond to those of modern scientific cosmology. Its cycles run from our ordinary day and night to a day and night of Brahma, 8.64 billion years long. Longer than the age of the Earth or the Sun and about half the time since the Big Bang. 

― Carl Sagan,

*Eternal Return Mythos.*..

Remember that Jungian bastardization of Eastern philosophy I pasted in the last post? It's still in play

Some of this is stuff I dug before delving into Breaking Bad, but a lot of this I stumbled upon recently. I tried to avoid a top-down approach with these philosophers, feeling like the show itself should guide me toward the appropriate conceptual nexus...rather than forcing profound-seeming-but-shallow theories into the text

*Schizoanalytic Boundaries* (this is a real thing; not one of my obnoxious Seussisms).*

-Discontented Content and Disordered Context

A more well established metaphor that should make things clear is structural paranoia in literature.

I'll pull favorites here, and point to Thomas.

Frederic Jameson has written an interesting essay on of ... (Geopolitical Aesthetic being one of the many outside sources that inadvertently influences my approach with the "BrBaBlog")

(thinkers like Franz Fanon have gone as far as to psychoanalysis large and complicated social units, seeing institutionalized racism as a mental that contaminated both a colonizer and the other...regardless of the biological realities of melanin and cultural nuance).

Freud civilization and it's discontents....

What is Breaking Bad. What does in mean. Structural.
I'm sorry to drop this esoteria, but it's important, and despite it being inavoidably mind boggling, I feel a call out to some old time radical philosophers will make it slightly less heady than my  jumbled jargon.

Deleuze and Guittari

I'll use a single conceptual "thread" to follow through on attempts to "deconstruct the intertext of the show's aesthetic iconography" (I'm dead serious about this, luckily pictures/clips and digressively foolish hyperlinked puns will help make the "show" more fun than my "tell").