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Thursday, December 25, 2014

Big Ideas

 

Driving home from a Christmas get-together at Corrigans Beach, I was pulled over by the police. I seem to have given them all the right answers because they waved me on. I had only had two beers which, while they didn't push me over the limit, gave me a splitting headache. I think my drinking days are gone!

Not so my addiction to ABC Radio National whose program Big Ideas I listened to while driving. It made me aware of a TV show by the name of Breaking Bad which is hailed by Stephen King, Chuck Klosterman, and many others as the best of all TV dramas.

It tells the story of a man whose life changes because of the medical death sentence of an advanced cancer diagnosis. The show depicts his metamorphosis from inoffensive chemistry teacher to feared drug lord and remorseless killer. Driven at first by the desire to save his family from destitution, he risks losing his family altogether because of his new life of crime. In defiance of the tradition that viewers demand a TV character who never changes, Breaking Bad is all about the process of change, with each scene carrying forward the morphing of Walter White into the terrible Heisenberg.

With my interest piqued, I GOOGLEd for it when I got home and not only found the DVDs but also the book Breaking Bad and Philosophy which asks the questions: Can a person be transformed as the result of a few key life choices? Does everyone have the potential to be a ruthless criminal? How will we respond to the knowledge that we will be dead in six months? Is human life subject to laws as remorseless as chemical equations? When does injustice validate brutal retaliation? Why are drug addicts unsuitable for operating the illegal drug business? How can TV viewers remain loyal to a series where the hero becomes the villain? Does Heisenberg's Principle of Uncertainty rule our destinies?

Needless to say, I ordered both ☺