November 2, 2013
America sometimes reminds me of Walter White.
Not in every way, of course. There isn’t anything like a perfect parallel between the plot of Breaking Bad and the course that the U.S. has taken since the September 11 terrorist attacks, the unexpected trauma that made us look at our place in the world anew. I certainly don’t think Breaking Bad’s writers were attempting an allegory. But I submit that the show’s arc (especially Walter White’s character arc) imparts lessons about moral logic and its consequences that the U.S. ought to heed.
White starts off with everyone’s sympathy. But as soon as the writers have us rooting for him to get rich (and get out) before he gets caught, they produce five seasons that amount to a slowly unfolding rebuke to everyone who felt any investment in his success.
The source of our moral discomfort?