I’ve been watching Breaking Bad again lately. I couldn’t help but think of Walter White as a tragic hero in the way that the term is used in classic tragedies. My favorite tragedy is MacBeth. I googled the two together and found the above article, that is a pretty convincing comparison between the two and how Walter White fits the tragic hero mold.
35 years old
Awake at dawn
Tired as I would be at 16 years old
If I had partied all night till this very hour
Grumpy as an 85 year old man
With one foot in the grave
Grasping for the imaginary dagger
In Macbeth, Act 2, Scene 1
And wishing it was real
When the Chinese invented gun powder
Did they know
That in the year 2014
A white man
In a country that didn’t exist then
Would regret he hadn’t gone to Walmart
To buy some
Cheap and easy
Like it was just another item
In a store that also sells
So that he didn’t have to pack?
Nah, they couldn’t have seen that one coming
What a country!
Off to see the Wizard
I am heading out to El Paso for the first of the Shinyribs tour dates today. As I said before I am going to try and write at least one of these every day of the tour.
I’ve been watching the excellent Netflix series House of Cards. It’s the bleakest possible portrait of Washington. It’s like watching Roman Polanki’s Macbeth, except that it doesn’t end after two and half hours.
The show is fantastic dramatic entertainment. I think it also provides insight into the way deals are done in Washington. I recently read Tim Weiner’s Enemies: The History of the FBI. While I was reading that book I was struck by how many political decisions were made because of interpersonal relationships. People in power make decisions for the same reason that everyday people do: because of jealousy, fear, envy, out of wanting to be loved, etc. Their decisions just happen to reverberate on a much larger scale.
Most of the characters in House of Cards are driven by their own personal lust for power. Conventional morality rarely plays a hand in the proceedings. It shows how people are corrupted by that power. Someone will vote against their own constituents on one bill, so that they can get something else, possibly another bill that will either help their constituents or their own personal power.
There is no doubt that this show heightens the drama and sets out from the start to create a foreboding mood. One can’t help but feel this show is as informed by the tradition of dramatic tragedy as by the real world. However, the real world is in there and probably isn’t as far away from what goes on in the show as we hope. In the end though, we must hope and believe that there are leaders out there whose intentions line up with our best interests as citizens. We, as citizens, are the watchdogs of democracy, and must make sure that we do our best to elect those leaders that will do the business we sent them there to do once they are elected.