Happy High Summer!
Hey, all you loyal wegotthenumbers fans (a select crew, to be sure)! I haven’t posted much lately due to chronic low energy. I also like the idea of letting what I’ve already written speak for itself. I am thinking of you though, and hoping you’re enjoying as beautiful summer weather as I am…
I’ve also been involved with work on another blog about the TV show “Breaking Bad” (breakingbaddict.wordpress.com) that proves what I’ve been telling you all along: I’m human! I don’t spend all my time being spiritual or political or anything else…Besides, it’s my spiritual/political belief that finding joy and interest in the present and in the world around us is an important balance to concern about global problems.
I often listen to the NPR show, “Fresh Air,” and I take TV critic David Bianculli’s comments very seriously. That’s how I got turned on to “The Wire,” in my opinion the best TV show ever. It’s also how I discovered “Breaking Bad,” an equally dark (or even darker), if slightly less realistic, TV drama. You’ve probably heard of it, and perhaps declined to watch it after finding out that it’s about a high school chemistry teacher with stage 4 lung cancer who decides to cook meth to provide for his family’s future financial needs. A gritty subject, yes, but the writing, acting, and production are so incredibly good that I decided that subjecting myself to its violence was worth it. (This seems to be the cost of admission to good movies and TV more and more lately, which is too bad.)
I’ve been especially drawn to one of the characters on the show – the young former student/partner of the protagonist, who shows him the initial ropes of the meth trade, but is far surpassed by him in evil as the seasons progress. Character development (or disintegration) is what this show is all about.
I’m not trying to convince you to watch it – just sharing with you that I’m re-watching all the show’s previous seasons in preparation for the final eight episodes that start airing August 11th. There’s so much detail and depth to this show, I feel I need to do my homework to fully appreciate its ending. Since my memory’s so poor, I’ve been taking notes, and, hoping to find others to discuss the show with, have been posting them on my new blog. Only one visitor so far, but maybe things will pick up as the summer moves on. Robin Pierson of the TVCritic.org just mentioned my blog in his re-watch podcast, and I’m hoping that will generate some traffic.
I’ll be sad when the show ends, but glad, too, not to be so focused on a fictional, TV world – a violent one at that. I admit I often find fictional worlds, usually in novels, to be more compelling than the real one. Maybe that’s how much I need to escape its current social, political-economic, and spiritual dysfunctionality. I believe, spiritually, that “enlightenment” begins with acceptance-of-what-is, but my moments of that, except where my personal life is concerned, have been fleeting. I have much more practice with escaping from the real, global world, even though, ironically, the fictions I escape to and appreciate the most, often contain nearly as much pain and tragedy. And, sometimes, as I pointed out in an earlier blog, fictional characters and situations can point the way out, at least potentially – the reason why Starhawk’s The Fifth Sacred Thing and Ursula LeGuin’s Always Coming Home, set in practically the same physical place and not that far apart in time, are two of my favorite novels. This is also why I’ve always gravitated toward studying other cultures, especially those of hunter-gatherers, who live/lived, it seems to me, much more as we were designed to – as conscious animals, part of nature. This is why another one of my favorite novels, which some have mistaken for history, is Crazy Horse by Mari Sandoz, about the leader of such a people in its last days of freedom.
Now I’ve really gone from anti-hero to hero, the opposite of what Vince Gilligan, former “X-Files” writer and the creator and head writer of “Breaking Bad,” has famously said he’s tried to do: take his main character from protagonist to antagonist – “from Mr. Chips to Scarface.” All of these are human possibilities, which is what makes consciousness and conscious choice so necessary.
See ya on the flip-flop…