Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Vince Gilligan Interview With Charlie Rose

Things acquire the status of being good or evil only if someone - anyone - cares about them one way or the other.
Richard Taylor, Good And Evil, p.31

It is deep into the dog days of summer. The Oracle of Ottawa has been on his usual baseball watching binge, and enjoying every moment of it. Why today the Oracle got in three complete games! As the last west coast game ended, the Oracle of Ottawa flipped to PBS Watertown in the hope of catching something interesting and was quiet surprised to find that Charlie Rose was on. The interview was with the creator of Breaking Bad, Vince Gilligan, on stage, live, at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City.

Vince Gilligan(left) - Aaron Paul(right) - who got it from Ep. 1 

The Oracle of Ottawa was intrigued. At last, the man himself! And it being the last and final season of Breaking Bad, the Oracle of Ottawa was hoping for the sincere, so obvious, explanation of what Breaking Bad was really about. There was nothing to lose now, the last eight episodes are in the can, and there is nothing left to lose by explaining the truth to the complacent American audience what the whole epic was really about. To hear the words right out the mouth of the mind that created it all. Or so I thought. What the Oracle witnessed was bizarre, surreal and completely raving American Psycho!  

Much to my amazement and shock, the Oracle of Ottawa had to come to the flooring realization that Vince Gilligan is in essence an idiot savant! Through the whole interview he stuck to his "awe shucks" marketing routine, choosing his words carefully, fully pondering there future possible impact on his further possible projects! He truly has not or ever had a clue to the impact of the prophetic epic that he has been allowed to tell, and its real meaning! At the time of this writing the Oracle of Ottawa is still reeling...

The first episode of Breaking Bad was one of the most powerful works of television that the Oracle has ever experienced. A brilliant chemist ends up teaching high school chemistry somewhere in a Southern US state. It is no doubt a "right to work" state, the money is lousy, there is no union, there is a handicapped child, and to add insult to injury, there is the insane American class burden of Walter having to portray to society that he is indeed middle class and is yet left by contemporary American society to some how pay for it all with nothing. Then there comes the cancer diagnosis! To this viewer in Canada, one could tell right away that Walter has no medical insurance to cover this catastrophic illness. Forced to the wall Walter abandons his morals and makes a monstrous conscious decision to survive long enough to provide for his family after his demise.

Contrast this with a Canadian high school chemistry teacher in Ontario, Canada  with Walters credentials. This teacher makes $70,000 - $130,000 a year, minimum. He is a senior department head, he might even teach a class or two a week. If this man comes a downer with a cancer diagnosis, it is just another life hurdle, certainly not a death sentence. He will have government and private additional insurance. He will be given sick leave at full pay, or very nearly, for as long as it takes. His chance of a full remission and recovery is astoundingly high. Not like Walter...

What Breaking Bad is really about is the death of the American Dream. It is a prophetic epic of the future of America. It is a symbolic tale of the death of America. A republic and a dream built on an outmoded frontier mentality that peaked on a battle ship deck in a Japanese harbour sometime in 1945. Now the European Union is the biggest economy on Earth. The standard world currency is not the American dollar, it is the Euro. The grand cities that were once the arsenals of democracy rot in bankruptcy. We are told that it is all creative destruction. Everybody got the destruction, and it seems that the creative ability was also destroyed in the process also...

Ponder the carnage created by Walter White. Ponder the vast amount of state resources it takes to search him out and possibly stop him. Ponder the global social costs around the world. Walter White is (was?) just one ordinary man forced to abandon his society, the great Leviathan, and in turn it is more than just one life that becomes nasty, brutish and short. What will be our fate when the Walters start coming out of the woodwork in their thousands?

Postscript: The Oracle of Ottawa was shocked by Vince Gilligan when he could not explain Walter Smith's street name of Heisenberg, it is no doubt a tribute to Werner Heisenberg who unlike Walter Smith was able and allowed to make great contributions to the world as the father Quantum Mechanics.
Bryan Cranston in the character of Walter Smith always exudes the aura that he too could have done great things if something as mundane as an IPO had not gotten in the way. Werner Heisenberg was also the father of the Uncertainty Principle, do you get it now?

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