Sunday, September 23, 2012

How Many Walter Smiths?

I am the danger!
Walter Smith, Breaking Bad, Season 4, Episode 6

How many Walter Smiths can a first world society absorb before it collapses into total anarchy? When a cable network drama series is in the top one thousand articles on Wikipedia, it would appear that it is not only the Oracle of Ottawa that is pondering such questions. The Oracle of Ottawa has caught the first few episodes over the summer recently passed. The first troubling impression is that the story takes place in the United States of America. One would expect such a story to emanate from Eastern Europe or the old Soviet Union.

Bryan Cranston

Other issues that were experienced was that I found myself getting as angry as Walter! Yes it is quiet true that most middle aged white men are angry today; they have every reason in the world to be so.  The whole plot, premise and story line of the series raises serious questions relating to philosophy and ethics.  If the social contract of a society is so eroded that is of no advantage to participate in that society, is Walter Smith indeed committing an evil act, in attacking it to preserve his family and all those that he loves?  If a society is quiet willing to sacrifice the core of its middle class to "under the bus" does the abandoned individual still have an obligation to attempt to be a part of this society? Does that society even have a right to exist into the future?

There is also the irony of Walter clinging successfully to his old values of purity and craftsmanship that were once treasured by the society that has eroded to the point of abandonment. There are no spin doctors and / or fart catchers in Walter Whites world. For some reason the Oracle of Ottawa found himself deriving great comfort from that.

One of the gentle shocks of catching those first few episodes was that Walter Smith looked really familiar. I was somewhat shocked to find that the character is portrayed by Bryan Cranston of Malcom in the Middle fame. How is it that this once gregarious and mild man could find it in himself, at his age and having experienced all his previous success, to so very accurately portray a man who is facing life and death situations on very many levels all at once? Perhaps the character of Walter Smith seeped into the persona of Mr. Cranston, and the ugly reality of its evil and the society that perpetuates it got to the core of this man.

The Oracle of Ottawa will keep a tab on the future events, but he has a very difficult time to actually sit through the episodes. To the Oracle of Ottawa the show is a perfect snapshot of present day Western society. And with the recent revelations of one Mitt "The Nit" Romney the Oracle can only think that a mere cable channel television series will have a very deciding effect on the upcoming Presidential election this fall.

The last point that the Oracle of Ottawa wants to address is the oft heard comment that it is just impossible for a mild mannered high school teacher to go so far from his core values, to utterly turn so away from the society that has left him under the bus... I will let Bryan Cranston handle that one....

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