“I have to go,” he said. “I have to go do crimes.”
September 27, 2013 8:25 AM   Subscribe

 
I couldn't read the whole thing. Did he neglect to pay for his sushi after putting a cigarette out on the prostitute?
posted by Cookiebastard at 8:32 AM on September 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


It hurts, but is also good, like a spiky lollipop.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 8:33 AM on September 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Yeah... Yeah... Let's go get sushi, and... and not pay!"
posted by slkinsey at 8:35 AM on September 27, 2013 [22 favorites]


This is… really long. Like, Austin Powers 1 joke long.
posted by DoctorFedora at 8:39 AM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


That was great. I am now off to read everything Mallory Ortberg has written.
posted by gwint at 8:43 AM on September 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


Shorter than watching Sin City, and more fun, too.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:45 AM on September 27, 2013 [12 favorites]


This was pretty darn good.
posted by kavasa at 8:51 AM on September 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also it was what, maybe 500 words? Does "long" even have meaning outside the realm of pornstar dicks anymore?
posted by kavasa at 8:52 AM on September 27, 2013 [9 favorites]


I've never seen his films because I don't like violence or cars, but is this Ryan Gosling?
posted by colie at 8:52 AM on September 27, 2013


Shorter than watching Sin City, and more fun, too.

To be fair, this applies to everything that can be done within the running time of Sin City.
posted by planetesimal at 8:53 AM on September 27, 2013 [12 favorites]


Shit, he thought. I don't have time to read this article. I have to go shake a skinny dude roughly.

While he shook the skinny dude roughly he imagined shaking his wife. She was always reading shit. Never doing crimes or whatever. Not like him. That bitch.
posted by gauche at 8:55 AM on September 27, 2013 [11 favorites]




That was great, but I like A Day In The Life Of the Former Mrs. Louis C.K. better.
posted by nooneyouknow at 8:57 AM on September 27, 2013 [11 favorites]


Don't bullshit me with that bullshit.
posted by sexyrobot at 8:58 AM on September 27, 2013


To be fair, this applies to everything that can be done within the running time of Sin City.

Two words: The Spirit.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:58 AM on September 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


I liked Sin City. It's a movie about how Frank Miller is fucking crazy.
posted by Artw at 8:59 AM on September 27, 2013 [18 favorites]


The twitter account "crimer show" is amazing; not quite like this, better.

CRIMER!
posted by Artw at 8:59 AM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


My favorite comment from the comments section: "It's like Philippe hit puberty!"
posted by Rory Marinich at 9:00 AM on September 27, 2013 [17 favorites]


Love it. It's like if Axe Cop wrote Breaking Bad.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:01 AM on September 27, 2013 [12 favorites]


He picked his daughter up from wherever she had been before he picked her up.

"You look different from before," he said to her.

"Different how?"

"Like older."

She nodded. "Oh, yeah. That's from time."
posted by divined by radio at 9:03 AM on September 27, 2013 [25 favorites]


An antihero with no redeeming qualities whatsoever-- isn't that just a villain protagonist?
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 9:07 AM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Somewhere, Richard K. Morgan is laughing until he hurts himself badly.
posted by stet at 9:08 AM on September 27, 2013 [7 favorites]


An antihero is a bad person who does good things anyway, a villain protagonist is an outright "bad guy" who opposes actual heroes, but is still the main character of the work.

Somewhere, Richard K. Morgan is laughing until he hurts himself badly.

I just read Altered Carbon for the first time last week, and....yeah, basically.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:09 AM on September 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


James Crumley is nodding knowingly.
posted by stet at 9:10 AM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I want to read a day in the life of a Well-adjusted Female Antivillain.
posted by Apocryphon at 9:11 AM on September 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


Raymond Chandler is all, like, "Bitch, you just now noticed?"
posted by stet at 9:11 AM on September 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think this is from David Gilmour's required reading list next semester.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:11 AM on September 27, 2013 [13 favorites]


Troubled male antiheros are my spirit animal.
posted by stet at 9:12 AM on September 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


An antihero with no redeeming qualities whatsoever-- isn't that just a villain protagonist?

He has a code of honor. He calls it his Code of Honor.
posted by gwint at 9:13 AM on September 27, 2013 [15 favorites]


I like anti-hero stuff. She obviously doesn't.

To me this isn't effective satire. My guess is she's seen an episode of Breaking Bad, a few Madmen, and someone told her about The Shield. She needs to read the early works of Jim Thompson, read the pre-80's Elric stories, see any of the Riddick movies (counting the cartoon), and probably the entire Coen brother's catalog (minus Lady Killers). Then she needs to write an actual story with an actual character. Then I might give a shit.

I'm sure I could write something like this about romance books that a person who actually understands the genre would dismiss as rapidly as I dismiss this.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:14 AM on September 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


... She needs to read the early works of Jim Thompson, read the pre-80's Elric stories, see any of the Riddick movies (counting the cartoon), and probably the entire Coen brother's catalog (minus Lady Killers). Then she needs to write an actual story with an actual character. Then I might give a shit.

Is this comment satire, cjorgensen? I honestly can't tell.
posted by EatTheWeak at 9:17 AM on September 27, 2013 [26 favorites]


This is some hardboiled classic noir type antihero stuff (maybe '80s superhero as well), but it seems retro and antiquated. I disagree with cjorgensen's above post, the leading modern cable TV antihero is full of layers, and a loving family man, which shows off his tender side and selflessness, I suppose. The antihero in the story doesn't really sound like those guys.

Plus, it seems like the modern antihero, whether Tony Soprano, or Walter White, or Francis Underwood, or Dexter Morgan, or Jaime Lannister, usually operates from a position of authority, working within the system and abusing its power. They aren't down on their luck private eyes getting beat up by a rich kingpin's thugs. Or a trenchcoated costumed vigilante/cyberpunk hacker doing the same. The dude in this story seems to be.
posted by Apocryphon at 9:18 AM on September 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is the greatest thing I've read in a long time.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:27 AM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I like her trolls against apples and almonds (comments are so very much worth reading), though nothing ever has lived up to Text Messages from a Ghost.

. . . I pretty much like everything Mallory Ortberg has ever written.
posted by jeather at 9:28 AM on September 27, 2013 [9 favorites]


When I first started getting into comics, a friend lent me all the modern classics, including quite a bit of Frank Miller.
When he saw The Spirit, it was so bad, while simultaneously being so Frank Miller, that he had to re-evaluate whether he liked anything by Frank Miller anymore.
(I haven't seen The Spirit, so I still enjoy his work.)
posted by Tool of the Conspiracy at 9:29 AM on September 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


EatTheWeak, the kind of anti-hero she seems to be making fun of is the one in genre (fantasy and crime in particular). It didn't read to me like she has a good grasp of the genre. The best eviscerations of a culture or community is generally done by those who still love what they are writing about. She obviously has a distaste for her subject matter.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:29 AM on September 27, 2013


I think she's making fun of the cookie-cutter "well, Breaking Bad [etc etc] was a huge hit, therefore we need a character just like Walter White" antihero, not the concept of antiheroes in general.
posted by jeather at 9:32 AM on September 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


I wish to know more about cookie-cutter Walter White antiheroes. So I can watch those shows too.
posted by squinty at 9:33 AM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Tool of the Conspiracy: "When I first started getting into comics, a friend lent me all the modern classics, including quite a bit of Frank Miller.
When he saw The Spirit, it was so bad, while simultaneously being so Frank Miller, that he had to re-evaluate whether he liked anything by Frank Miller anymore.
(I haven't seen The Spirit, so I still enjoy his work.)
"

Don't. Run.

And did all the tagging scream link bait to anyone else?
posted by Samizdata at 9:33 AM on September 27, 2013


I want to read a day in the life of a Well-adjusted Female Antivillain.


Antivillain? A good person who does bad things anyway?

"We'll just have to send in the drones," said Secretary of State Clinton to the president.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:34 AM on September 27, 2013 [15 favorites]


"He woke up ambiguously" is my favorite bit.
posted by Artw at 9:35 AM on September 27, 2013 [10 favorites]


I thought the fedora and sword at the top of the page was a dead giveaway of what kind of person they were describing. They just needed to throw in the word "euphoric".
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 9:38 AM on September 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


He lit a cigarette, and then turned into a cigarette himself, so he was a cigarette smoking a cigarette, and it totally blew her fucking mind.

My mind is in fact totally blown.
posted by RainyJay at 9:39 AM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


He was met by his less-than-conventionally attractive plucky female protegé on his way into the place where he did all of his work. He quoted Byron at her, or fucking Sun Tzu or whatever. Like he gave a shit. It all sounded the same.

“Wow,” she said. “That’s really something.” He was backlit by the sun again. It was this kind of cool thing the sun did for him, no matter how high it was in the sky at the time.

He didn’t smile, but she knew he was proud of her for listening to him all the same.


Dang. It HAS been a while since I've read Transmetropolitan.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:42 AM on September 27, 2013 [18 favorites]


Trigger Warning: May cause ironically induced Cigarette binges.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:42 AM on September 27, 2013


Wow. I hate the Male Antihero ("Difficult Men") zeitgeist so much that I can't even finish reading a short piece making fun of it. This intense negative emotion is upsetting my inner balance. I need to watch panda gifs right now.
posted by fatehunter at 9:44 AM on September 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


My guess is she's seen an episode of Breaking Bad, a few Madmen, and someone told her about The Shield.

Yeah, I don't think so. You may not like it, but that's not why.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 9:47 AM on September 27, 2013 [17 favorites]


There are positive elements to a lot of the shows that this mockery fits, but by taking it out of any context at all it makes a very cogent point about why so many of these Serious HBO shows are popular among dudes and how their portrayals of women are so problematic. Like that Games Vs Tropes video a few months back, pointing out why an element of something is fucked up doesn't mean the critics hate games or even the specific games. Just like, yo, get better at writing things sometimes, writers.

All in all it's very accurate though. I mean sometimes I don't pick up my daughter, I only get her on weekends, despite being a really good dad, but the stuff about the war maps are true or whatever.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:47 AM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


see any of the Riddick movies

Ugh. I haven't seen the first two in a long time (I remember liking them alright at the time) but in the recently released one Riddick was basically so repulsive I was rooting for him to get killed.

Stick with Fast and Furious, Vin.
posted by kmz at 9:47 AM on September 27, 2013


Dang. It HAS been a while since I've read Transmetropolitan.

Ha, I just tried to read that comic for the first time this week, and I couldn't get through it. My mind boggles to think that people put it up there with Watchmen. A Hunter S. Thompson/Raymond Chandler mashup without being as funny as the former or as cool as the latter? Plus it just feels so dated. In the first book he uses a 3D printer to create a pair of glasses that can take pictures while you wear them.

</derail>
posted by gwint at 9:48 AM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


In the first book he uses a 3D printer to create a pair of glasses that can take pictures while you wear them.

Oh my god, I live for that kind of shit. This is still my favorite find of that dated-sci-fi category, courtesy of Devils Rancher.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:51 AM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


The protege doesn't have a corset or goggles so this isn't a Warren Ellis character.
posted by Artw at 9:52 AM on September 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


cjorgensen - I dunno, this piece hits all the lazy antihero tropes I can think of. It reads like a summary of every grimdark comic to ever shamble out of the nineties.

I freely admit my bias, however: Mallory Ortberg wrote this wonderful thing, and therefore has the benefit of my doubt forever and ever, amen.
posted by EatTheWeak at 9:53 AM on September 27, 2013 [7 favorites]


To flesh out my earlier post: I still don't think this fits the current age of antiheroes. Again, today's antiheroes are family men from positions of authority. This story's antihero has a family but doesn't seem to be as obligated to them (modern TV antiheroes seem to have family as part of their Code of Honor, clearly influenced by The Fast and the Furious's landmark Dominic "Dom" Toretto as portrayed by Vin Diesel). And as I said, today's antiheroes are usually working from a position of authority within the establishment itself. They're corrupt operators who use power to their own ends (Dexter Morgan, Michael Chiklis), or criminal warlords (Tony Soprano, Walter White, Al Swearengen). Don Draper or Jaime Lannister might be the modern equivalent to dashing, handsome Han Solo, but they're both men of wealth and luxury who uphold nefarious systems. Not a cool rogue who lives on the edge- the last guy who did that had fourteen episodes and a movie.

This story's antihero is just a dude in a trenchcoat who smokes. Which makes for a good cowboy/'80s superhero/hacker, but isn't the same the same characteristics of the archetype that dominates this Golden Age of TV®'s set of antiheroes.
posted by Apocryphon at 9:58 AM on September 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


Greg Nog: Yeah, it's true the glasses thing was just kind of silly. It was more the idea of a journalist spending all his time beating people up that rubbed me wrong.
posted by gwint at 9:59 AM on September 27, 2013


This is like mosquito ring-tones, isn't it? If you're too old, you can't hear it.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:07 AM on September 27, 2013


EatTheWeak, that Wilde/Whitman piece is a treat.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 10:10 AM on September 27, 2013


(Dexter Morgan, Michael Chiklis)

I'm not sure if this was intentional or not, but it got a chuckle out of me.
posted by Corinth at 10:14 AM on September 27, 2013


“I have to go,” he said. “I have to go do crimes.”
Note: Poochie died on the way back to his home planet.
posted by Flunkie at 10:28 AM on September 27, 2013 [6 favorites]


He has a code of honor. He calls it his Code of Honor.

CODES OF HONOR ARE BULLSHIT is my code of honor.
posted by Artw at 10:52 AM on September 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Mash Sin CIty with the classic McSweeney's gourd bit, and you get this. Not deep, but enjoyable.
posted by emjaybee at 10:59 AM on September 27, 2013


I'm likewise sick to death of TV shows featuring the Troubled Male Lead who ruins the lives of those around him while somehow representing everyone's inner struggle between good and evil or what have you.

It's what made "House MD" go from cool and clever and balanced cast-based storytelling to off-the-rails masculine angst through increasingly improbable antisocial behavior by the final season.

I thought this piece was pretty funny. It doesn't seem necessary to know the entire history of the literary genre to poke fun at the current TV and film trend which is often very shallow and worn-out in its presentation [cough that sounds like *Sherlock*].
posted by daisystomper at 11:00 AM on September 27, 2013 [6 favorites]


The Wire did much better with its mix of anti-heroes.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:01 AM on September 27, 2013


the leading modern cable TV antihero is full of layers, and a loving family man, which shows off his tender side and selflessness, I suppose

What's great about Breaking Bad is Walter White's total lack of stoicism. Unlike the traditional hero who is too unemotional to look at explosions and can kill without really being affected by it, Walter White doesn't turn off that human feeling thing that most people have that makes it difficult to take a human life.

The standard hero has a pre-existing moral code which allows him to kill without being a killer. Even bad guys can rationalize their killing on the grounds that they were (selfishly) pursuing happiness.

But only Walter White kills for unselfish reasons, sacrificing his own well-being and long-term happiness and corrupting his soul out of a commitment to a principle. If ethics is about doing your duty to follow a moral principle even when you don't benefit from it, Walter is a kind of ethically evil person. He kills out of duty, because he is ethically committed to evil, not for any personal motives.
posted by AlsoMike at 11:03 AM on September 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


the kind of anti-hero she seems to be making fun of is the one in genre (fantasy and crime in particular). It didn't read to me like she has a good grasp of the genre.

"Balls," she thought. "I am going to have to get a better grasp of the genre, which is fantasy or crime or whatever."
posted by RogerB at 11:04 AM on September 27, 2013 [9 favorites]


Walter White is possessed by an evil hat.
posted by Artw at 11:07 AM on September 27, 2013 [13 favorites]


But only Walter White kills for unselfish reasons, sacrificing his own well-being and long-term happiness and corrupting his soul out of a commitment to a principle

I think it's just as easy to come to the opposite conclusion: That ultimately, most of his evil and self-destructive acts have been done out of selfishness and pride, using noble principles (family) as justification. But it's the push and pull between those two interpretations, as well as, finally, his humanity (or as you say, lack of stoicism) that makes the show so freaking good.
posted by gwint at 11:15 AM on September 27, 2013 [6 favorites]


The best anti-heros are characters whose actions result in a relatively good outcome despite the action or intention of the character. This guy just seems like an asshole. There are some clever moments, but I agree that a deeper understanding of some of the core tropes of the anti-hero genre would have made this even better.
posted by OHenryPacey at 11:26 AM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm likewise sick to death of TV shows featuring the Troubled Male Lead who ruins the lives of those around him while somehow representing everyone's inner struggle between good and evil or what have you.

Oh hai there, Dexter finale!
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:27 AM on September 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


The best eviscerations of a culture or community is generally done by those who still love what they are writing about.

Ahhahahahahahahah, no. You're thinking of the collection of insider jokes that often passes for "parody" within fandom. No one needs to go through your shopping list because the antihero is so damn ubiquitous in fiction. As an example, let's go through the list of the primary characters in the X-Men movie franchise, based on a decades-long series of comics with dozens of characters: Wolverine, Wolverine, Wolverine, Wolverine, Magneto (with a cameo by you-know-who), Wolverine. Even the movie that was mostly about Magneto had him as an antihero until his you-knew-it-was-coming-anyway face-heel turn. And the movie that's coming up? Who's the character that's the linchpin of the story, instead of Kitty Pryde in the original comic? One guess, bub.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:39 AM on September 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


"To me this isn't effective satire. My guess is she's seen an episode of Breaking Bad, a few Madmen, and someone told her about The Shield. She needs to read the early works of Jim Thompson, read the pre-80's Elric stories, see any of the Riddick movies (counting the cartoon), and probably the entire Coen brother's catalog (minus Lady Killers). Then she needs to write an actual story with an actual character. Then I might give a shit."

To me, this isn't an effective comment. My guess is that you've seen A Modest Proposal, a few episodes of The Office, and someone told you about Watchmen. You need to read the early works of Ben Edlund, Watchmen, and probably the entire run of Lobo. Then you need to write a comment with actual content and an actual engagement with the material. Then I might give a shit.

(I've read all of that — this was still a pretty spot-on pisstake, and your failure is your failure.)
posted by klangklangston at 11:41 AM on September 27, 2013 [13 favorites]


Reading the Essentials it's kind of shocking to see what a cool character Wolverine was before he became The Cool Character.
posted by Artw at 11:42 AM on September 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


I wish someone would eviscerate my long-ass name-dropping comments. I even snuck in absurd zany propositions, and only one person commented.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:53 AM on September 27, 2013


To me, there is a vast difference between the anti-hero (Riddick, any Bruce Willis character except for Death Becomes Her, or Clive Owen in Shoot 'em Up) and genuinely bad men who are vaguely likeable in some instances (Al Swearengen, Tony Soprano, and at least in later seasons Jax Teller).

The anti-hero guys, I wouldn't want them around all the time, but they could at least be trusted to not be total and absolute dicks while helping you.

With the real, honest to God, charming bad guys? No way in hell I'm turning my back on one of them. I mean, there are days I'm envious of Al Swearengen's ability to callously kill someone and feed them to the pigs when shit gets annoying, but I would never, ever, ever want to be in the same room with him.

That said, I adore this satire. It's very well done and hits on all the high points of the anti-hero.
posted by teleri025 at 11:59 AM on September 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


Oh hai there, Dexter finale!

Worst final season or worst final season?
posted by kmz at 12:01 PM on September 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


There aren't enough "worst"s in the English language.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:02 PM on September 27, 2013


Hannibal exists, why is Dexter?
posted by Artw at 12:03 PM on September 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


I mean, the last Torchwood probably competes.

And now I'm thinking about Miracle Day and the Dexter finale at the same time. On the bright side, I no longer fear death.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:04 PM on September 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


Is the twist ending to Dexter that he's not really a psychopath or are the writers just really bad as portraying him as such throughout?
posted by Artw at 12:08 PM on September 27, 2013


most of his evil and self-destructive acts have been done out of selfishness and pride

How can he be selfish and self-destructive at the same time? Only through ignorance. He's dying and he wants to make the most of his last days, so he decides to get into the meth business and murder people, not realizing that this would eventually lead to diminished happiness for himself? He is so clueless that he continues to not see the link even as he sinks deeper and deeper into the drug trade.

I don't think this is a plausible reading. You have to attribute an absurd level of cluelessness to the character to make it work.

The pride thing is interesting, it reminds me of this quote:
he lied because he thinks he’s smarter and has a higher morality than the rest of us. This guy thinks he has a higher morality, that he can see clearer than other 299-million 999-thousand 999 of us, and therefore he can do what he wants.
This was John Bolton talking about Edward Snowden. And lots of people accuse Snowden of selfishness and pride as well, so I think it's fair to say that to people like John Bolton, he is exactly Walter White. He did something totally self-destructive out of duty, and is widely viewed as a traitor, evil, selfish, arrogant, hurtful to people, etc.

But for people who agree with what he did, there's something almost Christ-like in his self-sacrifice. That just shows that there's a fine line between Christ and the Devil.

Yes, Walter White is the Devil because he is ethically committed to an evil principle. The problem is that it's not easy to tell the difference between a duty to evil and a duty to a higher good that society isn't quite ready for.
posted by AlsoMike at 12:11 PM on September 27, 2013


Yes, Walter White is the Devil because he is ethically committed to an evil principle. The problem is that it's not easy to tell the difference between a duty to evil and a duty to a higher good that society isn't quite ready for.

Quite frankly, I think this is the kind of macho pseudo-philosophical bullshit that excessive focus on the Troubled Male Lead results in.
posted by daisystomper at 12:17 PM on September 27, 2013 [10 favorites]


Even Walter's family doesn't believe that it's all about Walter's family.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:17 PM on September 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


Is the twist ending to Dexter that he's not really a psychopath or are the writers just really bad as portraying him as such throughout?

It's openly discussed all through the last season. One of the few things I can credit that trainwreck for, even if they don't exactly the stick the landing.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:21 PM on September 27, 2013


daisystomper, I welcome your genuine philosophical perspective on where I went wrong.
posted by AlsoMike at 12:22 PM on September 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


The twist ending to Dexter was that it was all some lumberjack's fantasy, he thought it would be more fun to be a psychopath in a nice warm city than isolated and alone in winter. But he didn't really understand police work, or people, or reality, so his fantasy got increasingly implausible.
posted by jeather at 12:25 PM on September 27, 2013 [15 favorites]


Is the ending to Dexter as terrible as the ending to House? I am oddly fascinated by the finales to shows that I am familiar with but don't follow and feature socially maladjusted white male leads with nearly monosyllabic monikers that seem to encapsulate their entire existence.
posted by Apocryphon at 12:43 PM on September 27, 2013


Walter White seems the quintessential Troubled Male Antihero because he's constantly doing absolutely horrible, brutal things that are never necessary in pursuit of unrealistic endless greed that he doesn't really care about. He's terrible to his wife and family when he's not acting in front of them (and even sometimes when he is).

He's a trainwreck. He does what he does because he's living out an adolescent power fantasy and isn't fazed by how destructive that is both to himself and everyone around him. He's a man and he's going to think about what he wants and he wants to think about swears.
posted by byanyothername at 12:55 PM on September 27, 2013 [7 favorites]


AlsoMike, what are you talking about? Walter White's entire career is driven by pride and vanity. Pressed to rationalize his behavior, he will talk about family, but the show has made it abundantly clear that he is motivated by ego and nothing else. It has done this by repeatedly putting Walt in situations in which an unselfish man would do one thing but Walt does something else. The show could really not be much more obvious about it.
posted by leopard at 2:06 PM on September 27, 2013 [6 favorites]


Is the ending to Dexter as terrible as the ending to House?

It's worse. Everything I know about House I learned by osmosis, but you can kinda justify the finale if you squint. The finale for Dexter however is terrible on every level. Basically the writers forgot they were writing about a sociopath and desperately wanted to turn Dexter into a "real boy" and did it in the most stupidest, idiotic way possible.
posted by nooneyouknow at 2:22 PM on September 27, 2013




How can he be selfish and self-destructive at the same time?

Very easily?

Yeah, I'm through watching TV shows about the Sad Lives of Violent White Men, so I found this piece funny.
posted by Squeak Attack at 4:09 PM on September 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


leopard, as I've said repeatedly, Walt is evil, the Devil, etc. My point is that he doesn't just do bad things to people, he is radically evil because he elevates evil to the status of an absolute principle that he obeys unconditionally, without regard to his own happiness.

To say that he is motivated by ego is meaningless. He is a pariah to everyone - who is he impressing? It is interesting to me that you guys don't like the idea that he's pure evil. Instead you think he is just selfish.
posted by AlsoMike at 4:28 PM on September 27, 2013


I'm not sure that's a thing.
posted by Artw at 4:32 PM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Walter White is not pure evil. If he was, he would have left and/or gotten rid of his family back in season one.
posted by ymgve at 5:08 PM on September 27, 2013


Now, the hat that controls him...

Except the hat is just an excuse really. My read on Walter White would be that he's the ultimate ugly expression of Smartest Guy in the Room syndrome.
posted by Artw at 5:22 PM on September 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Man, I am really enjoying watching Breaking Bad but pretty much every episode so far (I'm on Season 3), I have this secret hope that Skyler, Walt Jr., Jesse, Marie, Hank, and PRETTY MUCH EVERYONE ELSE will sneak up behind Walt and just take him out with a fucking rock, and that the remaining seasons will be a bunch of, like, Walt Jr. and Hank fishing on a tranquil pond while Skyler and Jesse bone each other a bunch in a tent nearby. "Remember how draining it was when Walter used to do all those irrational, narcissistic, and destructive things all the time? Won't you pass the chocolate-dipped strawberries, Marie?" these are just my feelings
posted by threeants at 9:14 PM on September 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


Pretty much what happens. Yup.
posted by Artw at 9:31 PM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


To say that he is motivated by ego is meaningless. He is a pariah to everyone - who is he impressing? It is interesting to me that you guys don't like the idea that he's pure evil. Instead you think he is just selfish.

Meaningless how? It's the driving force behind his entire lunatic run. This is a man who feels he was cheated out of his due by Gray Matter, given the short end of the stick in life, and then is confronted with the notion he will soon die a failure. This, he cannot abide. What follows is the building of a violent, single-minded monument to his ego, built on the foundation of his own family, who become increasingly depersonalized to him. The ever-escalating horror he spreads to those around him is unfortunate, but ultimately necessary to preserve the pursuit of his creation of the brilliantly successful chemist he has to assert himself as being. After narrowly escaping death or prison and set up some place utterly safe, he once again throws himself headlong towards greater violence ... because he saw a couple old associates publicly write him out of his scientific work. The man is literally addicted to the feeding of his own ego.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:13 PM on September 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


AlsoMike: The standard hero has a pre-existing moral code which allows him to kill without being a killer. Even bad guys can rationalize their killing on the grounds that they were (selfishly) pursuing happiness.

I first read this comment as "the standard antihero has a pre-existing moral code which allows him to kill without being a killer," and that seemed very true to me. Of course it's also true of standard heroes, but when I really get down to it this seems to me to be the crucial distinction between an antihero and a villain (or a schlemiel): the antihero ultimately does have a moral code that justifies what s/he does.

And I got to thinking: That's what I'm tired of. I'm tired of this bullshit moral code that justifies the carnage.

I don't watch BB, but from what folks say about it, I gather that's just not how it works: Walter has rationales, but we're not meant to take them seriously as justifications. I like the idea of that, a lot. Let's not pretend this is justified -- let's recognize it's horrible.

I'm feeling like I'm sure I've seen this other places, but I'm drawing a blank at the moment...
posted by lodurr at 11:18 AM on September 30, 2013


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